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Strategies of Model Building in Population Genetics

Anya Plutynski
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 73, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2004 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart II: Symposia PapersEdited by Miriam Solomon (December 2006), pp. 755-764
DOI: 10.1086/518631
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/518631
Page Count: 10
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Strategies of Model Building in Population Genetics
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Abstract

In 1966, Richard Levins argued that there are different strategies in model building in population biology. In this paper, I reply to Orzack and Sober’s (1993) critiques of Levins and argue that his views on modeling strategies apply also in the context of evolutionary genetics. In particular, I argue that there are different ways in which models are used to ask and answer questions about the dynamics of evolutionary change, prospectively and retrospectively, in classical versus molecular evolutionary genetics. Further, I argue that robustness analysis is a tool for, if not confirmation, then something near enough, in this discipline.

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