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Modeling Evolution in Theory and Practice

Anya Plutynski
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 68, No. 3, Supplement: Proceedings of the 2000 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part I: Contributed Papers (Sep., 2001), pp. S225-S236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3080948
Page Count: 12
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Modeling Evolution in Theory and Practice
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Abstract

This paper uses a number of examples of diverse types and functions of models in evolutionary biology to argue that the demarcation between theory and practice, or "theory model" and "data model," is often difficult to make. It is shown how both mathematical and laboratory models function as plausibility arguments, existence proofs, and refutations in the investigation of questions about the pattern and process of evolutionary history. I consider the consequences of this for the semantic approach to theories and theory confirmation. The paper attempts to reconcile the insights of both critics and advocates of the semantic approach to theories.

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