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

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):213-233 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

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 interdependence, and that this tension influences scientific methodology

Similar books and articles

Optimality modeling and explanatory generality.Angela Potochnik - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):680-691.
Optimality explanations: a plea for an alternative approach.Collin Rice - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):685-703.
Optimality modeling in a suboptimal world.Angela Potochnik - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):183-197.
On our best behavior: optimality models in human behavioral ecology.Catherine Driscoll - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (2):133-141.
Design sans adaptation.Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
``Two'' many optimalities.Oscar Vilarroya - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (2):251-270.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-02-13

Downloads
759 (#23,201)

6 months
140 (#34,289)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Angela Potochnik
University of Cincinnati

Citations of this work

The diverse aims of science.Angela Potochnik - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:71-80.
The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization.Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Levels of explanation reconceived.Angela Potochnik - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72.

View all 37 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Philosophy of natural science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.

View all 24 references / Add more references