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 (2003)
Abstract
Ecologist Richard Levins argues population biologists must trade‐off the generality, realism, and precision of their models since biological systems are complex and our limitations are severe. Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober argue that there are cases where these model properties cannot be varied independently of one another. If this is correct, then Levins's thesis that there is a necessary trade‐off between generality, precision, and realism in mathematical models in biology is false. I argue that Orzack and Sober's arguments fail since Levins's thesis concerns the pragmatic features of model building not just the formal properties of models.
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    Citations of this work BETA
    Angela Potochnik (2012). Feminist Implications of Model-Based Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2):383-389.
    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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    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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