Explanatory independence and epistemic interdependence: A case study of the optimality approach

Authors
Angela Potochnik
University of Cincinnati
Abstract
The value of optimality modeling has long been a source of contention amongst population biologists. Here I present a view of the optimality approach as at once playing a crucial explanatory role and yet also depending on external sources of confirmation. Optimality models are not alone in facing this tension between their explanatory value and their dependence on other approaches; I suspect that the scenario is quite common in science. This investigation of the optimality approach thus serves as a case study, on the basis of which I suggest that there is a widely felt tension in science between explanatory independence and broad epistemic inter dependence, and that this tension influences scientific methodology
Keywords Methodology
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axp022
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References found in this work BETA

Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.
Explanatory Unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.

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Citations of this work BETA

Optimality Explanations: A Plea for an Alternative Approach.Collin Rice - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):685-703.
The Diverse Aims of Science.Angela Potochnik - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:71-80.
Explanation and Understanding.Angela Potochnik - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.
Explanations: Aesthetic and Scientific.Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 75:127-149.

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