Modeling evolution in theory and practice

This paper uses a number of examples of diverse types and functions of models in evolutionary biology to argue that the demarcation between theory and practice, or "theory model" and "data model," is often difficult to make. It is shown how both mathematical and laboratory models function as plausibility arguments, existence proofs, and refutations in the investigation of questions about the pattern and process of evolutionary history. I consider the consequences of this for the semantic approach to theories and theory confirmation. The paper attempts to reconcile the insights of both critics and advocates of the semantic approach to theories
Keywords modeling  evolution  theory  practice
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DOI 10.1086/392911
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Patrick Forber (2010). Confirmation and Explaining How Possible. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):32-40.
Angela Potochnik (2012). Feminist Implications of Model-Based Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2):383-389.
Stephen M. Downes (2011). Scientific Models. Philosophy Compass 6 (11):757-764.

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