Strategies of Model Building in Population Genetics

Philosophy of Science 73 (5):755-764 (2006)
In 1966, Richard Levins argued that there are different strategies in model building in population biology. In this paper, I reply to Orzack and Sober’s (1993) critiques of Levins, and argue that his views on modeling strategies apply also in the context of evolutionary genetics. In particular, I argue that there are different ways in which models are used to ask and answer questions about the dynamics of evolutionary change, prospectively and retrospectively, in classical versus molecular evolutionary genetics. Further, I argue that robustness analysis is a tool for, if not confirmation, then something near enough, in this discipline.
Keywords modeling strategies  evolutionary dynamics  Levins, Richard
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DOI 10.1086/518631
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Jonah N. Schupbach (forthcoming). Robustness Analysis as Explanatory Reasoning. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw008.
J. C. Jenson (2016). The Belief Illusion. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):965-995.

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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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