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The structure of idealization in biological theories: the case of the Wright-Fisher model.

De Donato-Rodríguez, Xavier and Arroyo-Santos, Alfonso (2012) The structure of idealization in biological theories: the case of the Wright-Fisher model. [Published Article]

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    Abstract

    In this paper we present a new framework of idealization in biology. We characterize idealizations as a network of counterfactual and hypothetical conditionals that can exhibit different “degrees of contingency”. We use this idea to say that, in departing more or less from the actual world, idealizations can serve numerous epistemic, methodological or heuristic purposes within scientific research. We defend that, in part, this structure explains why idealizations, despite being deformations of reality, are so successful in scientific practice. For illustrative purposes, we provide an example from population genetics, the Wright-Fisher Model


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    Item Type: Published Article
    Keywords: idealization, theory, biology, possible worlds,
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
    General Issues > Models and Idealization
    General Issues > Structure of Theories
    Conferences and Volumes: [2008] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 21st Biennial Mtg (Pittsburgh, PA) > PSA 2008 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Alfonso Arroyo-Santos
    Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2012 09:38
    Last Modified: 11 Mar 2012 09:38
    Item ID: 9048
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal General Philosophy of Science
    Publisher: Springer
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9048

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