The Structure of Idealization in Biological Theories: The Case of the Wright-Fisher Model

Authors
Alfonso Arroyo-Santos
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Abstract
In this paper we present a new framework of idealization in biology. We characterize idealizations as a network of counterfactual and hypothetical conditionals that can exhibit different "degrees of contingency". We use this idea to say that, in departing more or less from the actual world, idealizations can serve numerous epistemic, methodological or heuristic purposes within scientific research. We defend that, in part, this structure explains why idealizations, despite being deformations of reality, are so successful in scientific practice. For illustrative purposes, we provide an example from population genetics, the Wright-Fisher Model
Keywords Idealization  Epistemic virtues  Scientific models  Modeling in biology  Population genetics  Wright-Fisher Model
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The Structure of Idealization in Biological Theories: The Case of the Wright-Fisher Model. [REVIEW]Xavier Donato Rodríguez & Alfonso Arroyo Santos - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (1):11-27.
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