Qualitative Scientific Modeling and Loop Analysis

Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1272-1286 (2005)
Loop analysis is a method of qualitative modeling anticipated by Sewall Wright and systematically developed by Richard Levins. In Levins’ (1966) distinctions between modeling strategies, loop analysis sacrifices precision for generality and realism. Besides criticizing the clarity of these distinctions, Orzack and Sober (1993) argued qualitative modeling is conceptually and methodologically problematic. Loop analysis of the stability of ecological communities shows this criticism is unjustified. It presupposes an overly narrow view of qualitative modeling and underestimates the broad role models play in scientific research, especially in helping scientists represent and understand complex systems.
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DOI 10.1086/508099
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John Matthewson (2011). Trade-Offs in Model-Building: A More Target-Oriented Approach. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2):324-333.

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