Complexity and verisimilitude: Realism for ecology [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 16 (4):533-546 (2001)
When data are limited, simple models of complex ecological systems tend to wind up closer to the truth than more complex models of the same systems. This greater proximity to the truth, or verisimilitude, leads to greater predictive success. When more data are available, the advantage of simplicity decreases, and more complex models may gain the upper hand. In ecology, holistic models are usually simpler than reductionistic models. Thus, when data are limited, holistic models have an advantage over reductionistic models, with respect to verisimilitude and predictive success. I illustrate these points with models designed to explain and predict the numbers of species on islands.
|Keywords||biodiversity biogeography ecology holism instrumentalism parsimony prediction realism reductionism verisimilitude|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Yoichi Ishida (2007). Patterns, Models, and Predictions: Robert Macarthur's Approach to Ecology. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):642-653.
Similar books and articles
Colin F. Camerer (2003). Behavioral Game Theory: Plausible Formal Models That Predict Accurately. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):157-158.
Jay Odenbaugh, The “Structure” of Population Ecology: Philosophical Reflections on Unstructured and Structured Models.
Barbara L. Horan (1988). Theoretical Models, Biological Complexity and the Semantic View of Theories. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:265 - 277.
Marthe Chandler (1988). Models of Voting Behavior in Survey Research. Synthese 76 (1):25 - 48.
Jay Odenbaugh (2005). Idealized, Inaccurate but Successful: A Pragmatic Approach to Evaluating Models in Theoretical Ecology. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):231-255.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads61 ( #31,009 of 1,682,206 )
Recent downloads (6 months)28 ( #7,148 of 1,682,206 )
How can I increase my downloads?