Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 603–605 | Cite as

Richard Levins’ Philosophy of Science

  • Michael WeisbergEmail author

Mid-century philosophy of science was largely concerned with the analysis of explanation, confirmation, and physical theories. Against this backdrop of logic and physics-driven philosophy of science, Richard Levins’ early contributions to philosophy of biology are notable for their attention to the complex issues facing practicing theoreticians. In a series of articles and book chapters, Levins, a population biologist, wrote some of the most important articles analyzing biological complexity and the theoretical strategies necessary to deal with it.

Levins’ work from this period investigated a number of questions that are central to the research of contemporary philosophers: What is the nature of complexity? How should we approach the need for idealization? What are scientific models and how do they differ from set-theoretic models? How do non-additive fitness structures affect our evolutionary explanations? Is precision intrinsicaly valuable, or should theorists be content with...


Model Building Natural Kind Contemporary Problem Population Biology Scientific Model 
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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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