Mathematics in the biological sciences

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 6 (3):241 – 248 (1992)
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Abstract

Although mathematical descriptions of the dynamics of system are widely employed in the physical sciences, they are employed infrequently in the biological sciences. The explanation for this usually appeals to the complexity of biological systems. I contend that quite the opposite is true and that such descriptions, in fact, enable complexity to be tamed. Moreover, in those areas in which mathematical descriptions have been used in the biological sciences, they provide a powerful vehicle for expanding our understanding of the systems through an exploration of the mathematical models. Such investigations yield surprising information about the dynamics of the system some of which cannot be discovered through empirical investigation alone

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