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We claim that the process of theoretical model refinement in economics is best characterised as robustness analysis: the systematic examination of the robustness of modelling results with respect to particular modelling assumptions. We argue that this practise has epistemic value by extending William Wimsatt's account of robustness analysis as triangulation via independent means of determination. For economists robustness analysis is a crucial methodological strategy because their models are often based on idealisations and abstractions, and it is usually difficult to tell (...) 

Brian Skyrms has argued that the evolution of the social contract may be explained using the tools of evolutionary game theory. I show in the first half of this paper that the evolutionary gametheoretic models are often highly sensitive to the specific processes that they are intended to simulate. This sensitivity represents an important robustness failure that complicates Skyrms's project. But I go on to make the positive proposal that we may none the less obtain robust results by simulating the (...) 

A model is presented to account for the natural selection of what is termed reciprocally altruistic behavior. The model shows how selection can operate against the cheater (nonreciprocator) in the system. Three instances of altruistic behavior are discussed, the evolution of which the model can explain: (1) behavior involved in cleaning symbioses; (2) warning cries in birds: and (3) human reciprocal altruism. Regarding human reciprocal altruism, it is shown that the details of the psychological system that regulates this altruism can (...) 

Finite systems of deterministic ordinary nonlinear differential equations may be designed to represent forced dissipative hydrodynamic flow. Solutions of these equations can be identified with trajectories in phase space. For those systems with bounded solutions, it is found that nonperiodic solutions are ordinarily unstable with respect to small modifications, so that slightly differing initial states can evolve into considerably different states. Systems with bounded solutions are shown to possess bounded numerical solutions.A simple system representing cellular convection is solved numerically. All (...) 