Complexity and verisimilitude: Realism for ecology [Book Review]

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)
DOI 10.1023/A:1011905829922
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,658
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

71 ( #47,891 of 1,726,122 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #66,646 of 1,726,122 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.