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  1. Moving Past the Systematics Wars.Beckett Sterner & Scott Lidgard - 2018 - Journal of the History of Biology 51 (1):31-67.
    It is time to escape the constraints of the Systematics Wars narrative and pursue new questions that are better positioned to establish the relevance of the field in this time period to broader issues in the history of biology and history of science. To date, the underlying assumptions of the Systematics Wars narrative have led historians to prioritize theory over practice and the conflicts of a few leading theorists over the less-polarized interactions of systematists at large. We show how shifting (...)
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  2. The Normative Structure of Mathematization in Systematic Biology.Beckett Sterner & Scott Lidgard - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (1):44-54.
    We argue that the mathematization of science should be understood as a normative activity of advocating for a particular methodology with its own criteria for evaluating good research. As a case study, we examine the mathematization of taxonomic classification in systematic biology. We show how mathematization is a normative activity by contrasting its distinctive features in numerical taxonomy in the 1960s with an earlier reform advocated by Ernst Mayr starting in the 1940s. Both Mayr and the numerical taxonomists sought to (...)
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    Objectivity and Underdetermination in Statistical Model Selection.Beckett Sterner & Scott Lidgard - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The growing range of methods for statistical model selection is inspiring new debates about how to handle the potential for conflicting results when different methods are applied to the same data. While many factors enter into choosing a model selection method, we focus on the implications of disagreements among scientists about whether, and in what sense, the true probability distribution is included in the candidate set of models. While this question can be addressed empirically, the data often provide inconclusive results (...)
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