Models in biology and physics: What's the difference?

Foundations of Science 14 (4):281-294 (2009)
In Making Sense of Life , Keller emphasizes several differences between biology and physics. Her analysis focuses on significant ways in which modelling practices in some areas of biology, especially developmental biology, differ from those of the physical sciences. She suggests that natural models and modelling by homology play a central role in the former but not the latter. In this paper, I focus instead on those practices that are importantly similar, from the point of view of epistemology and cognitive science. I argue that concrete and abstract models are significant in both disciplines, that there are shared selection criteria for models in physics and biology, e.g. familiarity, and that modelling often occurs in a similar fashion.
Keywords Evelyn Fox Keller  Analogy  Structural similarity  Modelling  Structuralism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10699-009-9160-4
 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: 15,865
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

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

147 ( #12,081 of 1,724,952 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #56,059 of 1,724,952 )

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.