Strategies of model-building in condensed matter physics: trade-offs as a demarcation criterion between physics and biology?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 190 (2):253-272 (2013)
This paper contrasts and compares strategies of model-building in condensed matter physics and biology, with respect to their alleged unequal susceptibility to trade-offs between different theoretical desiderata. It challenges the view, often expressed in the philosophical literature on trade-offs in population biology, that the existence of systematic trade-offs is a feature that is specific to biological models, since unlike physics, biology studies evolved systems that exhibit considerable natural variability. By contrast, I argue that the development of ever more sophisticated experimental, theoretical, and computational methods in physics is beginning to erode this contrast, since condensed matter physics is now in a position to measure, describe, model, and manipulate sample-specific features of individual systems – for example at the mesoscopic level – in a way that accounts for their contingency and heterogeneity. Model-building in certain areas of physics thus turns out to be more akin to modeling in biology than has been supposed and, indeed, has traditionally been the case.
|Keywords||trade-offs model-building scientific models complexity|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Daniela M. Bailer-Jones (2002). Scientists' Thoughts on Scientific Models. Perspectives on Science 10 (3):275-301.
Robert W. Batterman (2002). Asymptotics and the Role of Minimal Models. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (1):21-38.
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
S. French & J. Ladyman (1997). Superconductivity and Structures: Revisiting the London Account. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 28 (3):363-393.
Axel Gelfert (2011). Mathematical Formalisms in Scientific Practice: From Denotation to Model-Based Representation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2):272-286.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Matthewson (2011). Trade-Offs in Model-Building: A More Target-Oriented Approach. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2):324-333.
Jay Odenbaugh (2003). Complex Systems, Trade‐Offs, and Theoretical Population Biology: Richard Levin's “Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology” Revisited. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1496-1507.
Jay Odenbaugh (2003). Complex Systems, Trade-Offs, and Theoretical Population Biology: Richard Levin's "Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology" Revisited. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1496-1507.
Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
Adina Preda (2011). Rights Enforcement, Trade-Offs, and Pluralism. Res Publica 17 (3):227-243.
Stuart Brody & Caterina Breitenstein (2000). The Trade-Off Between Frequency of Intercourse and Sexual Partner Accumulation May Reflect Evolutionary Adaptations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):594-594.
Steven W. Gangestad & Jeffry A. Simpson (2000). The Evolution of Human Mating: Trade-Offs and Strategic Pluralism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):573-587.
L. Q. English (2007). On the 'Emptiness' of Particles in Condensed-Matter Physics. Foundations of Science 12 (2):155-171.
Sang Wook Yi (2002). The Nature of Model-Based Understanding in Condensed Matter Physics. Mind and Society 3 (1):81-91.
Anya Plutynski (2006). Strategies of Model Building in Population Genetics. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):755-764.
Justin Bledin & Sharon Shewmake (2004). Research Programs, Model-Building and Actor-Network-Theory: Reassessing the Case of the Leontief Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 11 (4):455-476.
Stephan Hartmann (1995). Models as a Tool for Theory Construction: Some Strategies of Preliminary Physics. In William Herfel et al (ed.), Theories and Models in Scientific Processes. Rodopi.
Michael Weisberg (2006). Forty Years of 'the Strategy': Levins on Model Building and Idealization. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):623-645.
Added to index2012-07-20
Total downloads51 ( #29,848 of 1,096,515 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #238,630 of 1,096,515 )
How can I increase my downloads?