Complexity and verisimilitude: Realism for ecology [Book Review]
Biology and Philosophy 16 (4):533-546 (2001)
When data are limited, simple models of complex ecological systems tend to wind up closer to the truth than more complex models of the same systems. This greater proximity to the truth, or verisimilitude, leads to greater predictive success. When more data are available, the advantage of simplicity decreases, and more complex models may gain the upper hand. In ecology, holistic models are usually simpler than reductionistic models. Thus, when data are limited, holistic models have an advantage over reductionistic models, with respect to verisimilitude and predictive success. I illustrate these points with models designed to explain and predict the numbers of species on islands.
|Keywords||biodiversity biogeography ecology holism instrumentalism parsimony prediction realism reductionism verisimilitude|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Occam's Razor in Science: A Case Study From Biogeography.A. Baker - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):193-215.
Niche-Based Vs. Neutral Models of Ecological Communities.Gregory M. Mikkelson - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):557-566.
Patterns, Models, and Predictions: Robert Macarthur's Approach to Ecology.Yoichi Ishida - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):642-653.
Similar books and articles
Behavioral Game Theory: Plausible Formal Models That Predict Accurately.Colin F. Camerer - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):157-158.
The “Structure” of Population Ecology: Philosophical Reflections on Unstructured and Structured Models.Jay Odenbaugh - manuscript
Theoretical Models, Biological Complexity and the Semantic View of Theories.Barbara L. Horan - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:265 - 277.
Idealized, Inaccurate but Successful: A Pragmatic Approach to Evaluating Models in Theoretical Ecology. [REVIEW]Jay Odenbaugh - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):231-255.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads102 ( #49,405 of 2,168,526 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #346,757 of 2,168,526 )
How can I increase my downloads?