Laws, Models, and Theories in Biology: A Unifying Interpretation

In Lorenzo Baravalle & Luciana Zaterka (eds.), Life and Evolution, History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences. pp. 163-207 (2020)
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Three metascientific concepts that have been object of philosophical analysis are the concepts oflaw, model and theory. The aim ofthis article is to present the explication of these concepts, and of their relationships, made within the framework of Sneedean or Metatheoretical Structuralism (Balzer et al. 1987), and of their application to a case from the realm of biology: Population Dynamics. The analysis carried out will make it possible to support, contrary to what some philosophers of science in general and of biology in particular hold, the following claims: a) there are "laws" in biological sciences, b) many of the heterogeneous and different "models" of biology can be accommodated under some "theory", and c) this is exactly what confers great unifying power to biological theories.
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