Experimental Modeling in Biology: In Vivo Representation and Stand-ins As Modeling Strategies

Philosophy of Science 81 (5):756-769 (2014)
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Abstract

Experimental modeling in biology involves the use of living organisms (not necessarily so-called "model organisms") in order to model or simulate biological processes. I argue here that experimental modeling is a bona fide form of scientific modeling that plays an epistemic role that is distinct from that of ordinary biological experiments. What distinguishes them from ordinary experiments is that they use what I call "in vivo representations" where one kind of causal process is used to stand in for a physically different kind of process. I discuss the advantages of this approach in the context of evolutionary biology.

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Marcel Weber
University of Geneva

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