Synthese 197 (6):2721-2743 (2020)

Justin Donhauser
Bowling Green State University
Sagoff (2016) criticizes widely used “theoretical” methods in ecology; arguing that those methods employ models that rely on problematic metaphysical assumptions and are therefore uninformative and useless for practical decision-making. In this paper, I show that Sagoff misconstrues how such model-based methods work in practice, that the main threads of his argument are problematic, and that his substantive conclusions are consequently unfounded. Along the way, I illuminate several ways the model-based inferential methods he criticizes can be, and have been, usefully informative.
Keywords ecological laws  ceteris paribus conditions  philosophy of ecology  philosophy of modelling  Lotka-Volterra Models
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1859-8
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.

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