Article “Contextualist model evaluation: models in financial economics and index funds” in European Journal for Philosophy of Science

Abstract. Philosophers of science typically focus on the epistemic performance of scientific models when evaluating them. Analysing the effects that models may have on the world has typically been the purview of sociologists of science. We argue that the reactive (or “performative”) effects of models should also figure in model evaluations by philosophers of science. We provide a detailed analysis of how models in financial economics created the impetus for the growing importance of the phenomenon of “passive investing” in financial markets. Considering this case motivates the position that we call contextualism about model evaluation, or model contextualism for short. Model contextualism encompasses standard analyses of the epistemic performance of the model, but also includes their reactive aspects. It entails identifying the epistemic and contextual import of the model, the ways in which a model can engender change in the world (which we call the channels of transmission), and the interactions between the epistemic and reactive import of a model.

Reference. Vergara-Fernández, M., Heilmann, C., & Szymanowska, M. (2023). Contextualist model evaluation: Models in financial economics and index funds. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 13(1), 6.