Chapter

SHADOWS ON THE WALL

Lev Ginzburg and Mark Colyvan

in Ecological Orbits

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195168167
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790159 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168167.003.0008
SHADOWS ON THE WALL

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It can be very difficult to decide between two competing theories. It is rarely a straightforward matter of appealing to evidence. Sometimes neither theory conforms perfectly with the evidence, and sometimes more than one theory can be made to agree with the evidence. The issue then is not which theory best accords with the data, but which does so in the simplest or least ad hoc way. This chapter discusses some of the philosophical issues associated with scientific theory choice. These issues in philosophy of science shed light on the choice of population model, and lend support to the inertial model proposed in this book.

Keywords: simplicity; aesthetics; evidence; overfitting; Eltonian pyramid

Chapter.  4239 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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