Modelling with words: Narrative and natural selection

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 62:20-24 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

I argue that verbal models should be included in a philosophical account of the scientific practice of modelling. Weisberg (2013) has directly opposed this thesis on the grounds that verbal structures, if they are used in science, only merely describe models. I look at examples from Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) of verbally constructed narratives that I claim model the general phenomenon of evolution by natural selection. In each of the cases I look at, a particular scenario is described that involves at least some fictitious elements but represents the salient causal components of natural selection. I pronounce the importance of prioritising observation of scientific practice for the philosophy of modelling and I suggest that there are other likely model types that are excluded from philosophical accounts.

Similar books and articles

Selection and causation.Mohan Matthen & André Ariew - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):201-224.
Optimality modelling in the real world.Jean-Sébastien Bolduc & Frank Cézilly - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):851-869.
Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism.Joyce C. Havstad - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (3):512-523.
Coadaptation and the Inadequacy of Natural Selection.Mark Ridley - 1982 - British Journal for the History of Science 15 (1):45-68.
On Natural Selection.Charles Darwin - 2005 - Penguin Books.
Naming versus referring in the selection of words.Peter C. Gordon - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):44-44.
The Meaning of Natural Selection and Reductionism in Evolutionary Biology.Adam Urbanek - 1983 - der 16. Weltkongress Für Philosophie 2:1346-1352.
Probabilistic causation and the explanatory role of natural selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.
Brain evolution by natural selection.Toru Shimizu - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (1):23-24.
Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
Measuring and Modelling Truth.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):345-356.
The non-existence of a principle of natural selection.Abner Shimony - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):255-273.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-02-21

Downloads
182 (#71,196)

6 months
52 (#26,003)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Dominic K. Dimech
University of Sydney

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

On the Origin of Species.Charles Darwin - 2008 - Minneapolis, MN: Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

View all 17 references / Add more references