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Journal Article

Explanation in Classical Population Genetics

Anya Plutynski
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 71, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart II: Symposia PapersEdited by Sandra D. Mitchell (December 2004), pp. 1201-1214
DOI: 10.1086/426773
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/426773
Page Count: 14
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Explanation in Classical Population Genetics
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Abstract

The recent literature in philosophy of biology has drawn attention to the different sorts of explanations proffered in the biological sciences—we have molecular, biomedical, and evolutionary explanations. Do these explanations all have a common structure or relation that they seek to capture? This paper will answer in the negative. I defend a pluralistic and pragmatic approach to explanation. Using examples from classical population genetics, I argue that formal demonstrations, and even strictly “mathematical truths,” may serve as explanatory in different historical contexts.

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