Explanatory independence and epistemic interdependence: A case study of the optimality approach

The value of optimality modeling has long been a source of contention amongst population biologists. Here I present a view of the optimality approach as at once playing a crucial explanatory role and yet also depending on external sources of confirmation. Optimality models are not alone in facing this tension between their explanatory value and their dependence on other approaches; I suspect that the scenario is quite common in science. This investigation of the optimality approach thus serves as a case study, on the basis of which I suggest that there is a widely felt tension in science between explanatory independence and broad epistemic inter dependence, and that this tension influences scientific methodology
Keywords Methodology
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axp022
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PhilPapers Archive Angela Potochnik, Explanatory independence and epistemic interdependence: A case study of the optimality approach
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References found in this work BETA
Philip Kitcher (1981). Explanatory Unification. Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.

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Citations of this work BETA
Angela Potochnik (2011). Explanation and Understanding. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.
Angela Potochnik (forthcoming). The Diverse Aims of Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
Shen-yi Liao (2014). Explanations: Aesthetic and Scientific. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 75:127-149.

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