Modelling as Indirect Representation? The Lotka–Volterra Model Revisited


Authors
Tarja Knuuttila
University of South Carolina
Abstract
ABSTRACT Is there something specific about modelling that distinguishes it from many other theoretical endeavours? We consider Michael Weisberg’s thesis that modelling is a form of indirect representation through a close examination of the historical roots of the Lotka–Volterra model. While Weisberg discusses only Volterra’s work, we also study Lotka’s very different design of the Lotka–Volterra model. We will argue that while there are elements of indirect representation in both Volterra’s and Lotka’s modelling approaches, they are largely due to two other features of contemporary model construction processes that Weisberg does not explicitly consider: the methods-drivenness and outcome-orientedness of modelling. 1Introduction 2Modelling as Indirect Representation 3The Design of the Lotka–Volterra Model by Volterra 3.1Volterra’s method of hypothesis 3.2The construction of the Lotka–Volterra model by Volterra 4The Design of the Lotka–Volterra Model by Lotka 4.1Physical biology according to Lotka 4.2Lotka’s systems approach and the Lotka–Volterra model 5Philosophical Discussion: Strategies and Tools of Modelling 5.1Volterra’s path from the method of isolation to the method of hypothesis 5.2The template-based approach of Lotka 5.3Modelling: methods-driven and outcome-oriented 6Conclusion
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Reprint years 2016, 2017
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axv055
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References found in this work BETA

Abstraction and the Organization of Mechanisms.Arnon Levy & William Bechtel - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):241-261.
The Strategy of Model-Based Science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):725-740.
When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
Who is a Modeler?M. Weisberg - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):207-233.

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Citations of this work BETA

Microbes, Mathematics, and Models.Maureen A. O'Malley & Emily C. Parke - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 72:1-10.

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