David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 6 (2):155-180 (1991)
Scientists use a variety of modes of representation in their work, but philosophers have studied mainly sentences expressing propositions. I ask whether diagrams are mere conveniences in expressing propositions or whether they are a distinct, ineliminable mode of representation in scientific texts. The case of path analysis, a statistical method for quantitatively assessing the relative degree of causal determination of variation as expressed in a causal path diagram, is discussed. Path analysis presents a worst case for arguments against eliminability since path diagrams are usually presumed to be mathematically or logically “equivalent” in an important sense to sets of linear path equations. I argue that path diagrams are strongly generative, i.e., that they add analytical power to path analysis beyond what is supplied by linear equations, and therefore that they are ineliminable in a strong scientific sense.
|Keywords||Path analysis regression scientific diagrams Sewall Wright statistics in biology|
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Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem (1954). The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA
A. Cambrosio & P. Keating (2000). Of Lymphocytes and Pixels: The Techno-Visual Production of Cell Populations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 31 (2):233-270.
David M. Steffes (2007). Panpsychic Organicism: Sewall Wright's Philosophy for Understanding Complex Genetic Systems. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 40 (2):327 - 361.
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