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Ecological OrbitsHow Planets Move and Populations Grow$
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Lev Ginzburg and Mark Colyvan

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195168167

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168167.001.0001

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SHADOWS ON THE WALL

SHADOWS ON THE WALL

Chapter:
(p.117) EIGHT SHADOWS ON THE WALL
Source:
Ecological Orbits
Author(s):

Lev Ginzburg

Mark Colyvan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168167.003.0008

It can be very difficult to decide between two competing theories. It is rarely a straightforward matter of appealing to evidence. Sometimes neither theory conforms perfectly with the evidence, and sometimes more than one theory can be made to agree with the evidence. The issue then is not which theory best accords with the data, but which does so in the simplest or least ad hoc way. This chapter discusses some of the philosophical issues associated with scientific theory choice. These issues in philosophy of science shed light on the choice of population model, and lend support to the inertial model proposed in this book.

Keywords:   simplicity, aesthetics, evidence, overfitting, Eltonian pyramid

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