Making and manipulating models (modelling) is an inherent aspect of making sense of ourselves and the world we live in. Learning from models in research and in engineering is complementary to learning by doing (experiential learning) as a philosophy of education, rooted in wide conceptualisations of reasoning and processes of signification more generally. Models influence our thinking and communication strategies through our ability to negotiate common understandings, shared in external representations.
Models are ubiquitous in our contemporary society as powerful tools to schematise the complexities of our universe and of the relationships we experience, from genes to climate, from the economy to the stars, from family networks to narrative structures. Being a culturally literate citizen necessarily includes a deep understanding of how to use models, their epistemic validity, biases and limitations. This also implies an appreciation of how models are encultured. Models, from quantum mechanics to the digital maps used in GPS systems, influence our lives and our thinking. Models are cultural expressions and hence the same model used by different cultures affords different ways of thinking.
The rationale for this SIG lies in the assumption that we can only grasp the significant scholarly, educational, and political force of models if we engage with modelling processes themselves. Constructing and deconstructing models is a means to unpack the rhetoric of digital, physical, and graphical models. This reflective yet practical engagement with modelling can ultimately contribute to a pedagogy of the digital age and to a renewed sense of cultural literacy.
The building of fictitious worlds, e.g., in science fiction, can also be seen as a modelling activity. Thus, fiction can act as modelling. The reverse is also true: there is a discussion in the philosophy of science about scientific models as fiction.