Mathematical Modeling in Biology: Philosophy and Pragmatics


Authors
Rasmus Winther
University of California, Santa Cruz
Abstract
Philosophy can shed light on mathematical modeling and the juxtaposition of modeling and empirical data. This paper explores three philosophical traditions of the structure of scientific theory—Syntactic, Semantic, and Pragmatic—to show that each illuminates mathematical modeling. The Pragmatic View identifies four critical functions of mathematical modeling: (1) unification of both models and data, (2) model fitting to data, (3) mechanism identification accounting for observation, and (4) prediction of future observations. Such facets are explored using a recent exchange between two groups of mathematical modelers in plant biology. Scientific debate can arise from different modeling philosophies.
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References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Conjectures and Refutations.K. Popper - 1963 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.

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Citations of this work BETA

Interweaving Categories: Styles, Paradigms, and Models.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):628-639.

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