My map is better than your map, my map is better than yours!

My understanding of methodological pluralism: on the table in front of us we have a globe, a street map of New York City, a subway map of New York City, a topographical map of New York City, and aerial photograph of New York City, hey zoning map of New York City, a 3-D model of New York City, and so on. Everyone in the room is arguing that the particular model they brought into the room is the "correct one" and should be used exclusively in order to understand New York City.

What I say is that these are all just models, therefore abstract and incomplete, but all are fine as long as we remember that each is an incomplete abstraction. And anyone who is claiming their model is the only possible model doesn't really understand models.

Of course, some models are rubbish: A "map" that shows Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn as neighborhoods on Staten Island might be a useful part of an alternate-universe story, but it is not useful for understanding the real NYC.


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