Biological Theory 7 (4):298-310 (2013)

Authors
James Griesemer
University of California, Davis
Abstract
Exact sciences are described as sciences whose theories are formalized. These are contrasted to inexact sciences, whose theories are not formalized. Formalization is described as a broader category than mathematization, involving any form/content distinction allowing forms, e.g., as represented in theoretical models, to be studied independently of the empirical content of a subject-matter domain. Exactness is a practice depending on the use of theories to control subject-matter domains and to align theoretical with empirical models and not merely a state of a science. Inexact biological sciences tolerate a degree of “mismatch” between theoretical and empirical models and concepts. Three illustrations from biological sciences are discussed in which formalization is achieved by various means: Mendelism, Weismannism, and Darwinism. Frege’s idea of a “conceptual notation” is used to further characterize the notion of a form/content distinction
Keywords Darwin  Exact and inexact science  Formalization  Mendel, model  Theory  Weismann
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-012-0065-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Theories.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Classificatory Theory in Biology.Sabina Leonelli - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (4):338-345.

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