Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Adaptability of "scientific models"

Another perspective on the function of scientific models.

This paper attacks the perennial philosophical and scientific quest for a simple and unified vision of the world. Without denying the attraction of this vision, I argue that such a goal often seriously distorts our understanding of complex phenomena. The argument is illustrated with reference to simplistic attempts to provide extremely general views of biology, and especially of human nature, through the theory of evolution. Although that theory is a fundamental ingredient of our scientific world view, it provides only one of a number of perspectives that are required for an understanding of biology in general, and human behaviour in paticular. The argument is connected to the replacement of views of science in terms of universal laws with views that emphasise ranges of models more locally suited to specific phenomena.

"The lure of the simplistic" by John Dupré in 2002

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