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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 or Volume]

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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 or Volume
De Donato-Rodríguez, Xavier
Arroyo-Santos, Alfonso
Keywords: idealization, theory, biology, possible worlds,
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Alfonso Arroyo-Santos
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2012 13:38
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2012 13:38
Item ID: 9048
Journal or Publication Title: Journal General Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer

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