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Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 741–755 | Cite as

Strategies of abstraction

  • Richard LevinsEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Abstraction is seen as an active process which both enlightens and obscures. Abstractions are not true or false but relatively enlightening or obscuring according to the problem under study; different abstractions may grasp different aspects of a problem. Abstractions may be useless if they can answer questions only about themselves. A theoretical enterprise explores reality through acluster of abstractions that use different perspectives, temporal and horizontal scales, and assumes different givens.

Keywords

Abstraction Models Modeling Complexity Systems 

References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Ecología y SistemáticaBoyerosCuba
  2. 2.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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