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Optimality Modeling and Explanatory Generality

Potochnik, Angela (2007) Optimality Modeling and Explanatory Generality. [Preprint]

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The optimality approach to modeling natural selection has been criticized by many biologists and philosophers of biology. For instance, Lewontin (1979) argues that the optimality approach is a shortcut that will be replaced by models incorporating genetic information, if and when such models become available. In contrast, I think that optimality models have a permanent role in evolutionary study. I base my argument for this claim on what I think it takes to best explain an event. In certain contexts, optimality and game-theoretic models best explain some central types of evolutionary phenomena.

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Item Type: Preprint
Potochnik, Angela
Keywords: optimality modeling, game theory, explanation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Angela Potochnik
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 03:11
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 03:11
Item ID: 19020
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/525613
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Explanation
Date: December 2007
Page Range: pp. 680-691
Volume: 74
Number: 5

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