Of Water Drops and Atomic Nuclei: Analogies and Pursuit Worthiness in Science, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2018)
This article highlights a use of analogies in science that so far has received relatively little systematic discussion: providing reasons for pursuing a model or theory. Using the development of the liquid drop model as a test case, I critically assess two extant pursuit worthiness accounts: (i) that analogies justify pursuit by supporting plausibility arguments and (ii) that analogies can serve as a guide to potential theoretical unification. Neither of these fit the liquid drop model case. Instead, I develop an alternative account, based on the idea that analogies facilitate the transfer of a well-understood modelling strategy to a new domain.