A Critical Assessment of Levins's The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology (1966)

@article{Orzack1993ACA,
  title={A Critical Assessment of Levins's The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology (1966)},
  author={Steven Hecht Orzack and Elliott Sober},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  year={1993},
  volume={68},
  pages={533 - 546}
}
Richard Levins's 1966 article "The strategy of model building in population biology" is an extremely influential analysis of the nature of scientific model building. His claims that model building involves a necessary trade-off among generality, realism and precision, and that truths about nature can be revealed by finding "robust theorems" are important and deserve careful scrutiny. We clarify the concepts of generality, realism and precision and argue that there is no necessary conflict among… Expand
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The strategy of model building in climate science
TLDR
It is argued that the epistemic challenges Levins attributed to the brute force strategy still apply to state-of-the-art climate models today: they have big appetites for unattainable data, they are limited by computational tractability, and they are incomprehensible to the human modeller. Expand
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This essay extends Levins’ 1966 analysis of model building in ecology and evolutionary biology by identifying several points where decisions are required that are not determined by nature. Expand
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