Synthese https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-1820-x S.I.: ABSTRACTION AND IDEALIZATION IN SCIENTIFIC MODELLING Using models to correct data: paleodiversity and the fossil record Alisa Bokulich Received: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract Despite an enormous philosophical literature on models in science, surpris- ingly little has been written about data models and how they are constructed. In this paper, I examine the case of how paleodiversity data models are constructed from the fossil data. In particular, I show how paleontologists are using various model-based techniques to correct the data. Drawing on this research, I argue for the following related theses: ﬁrst, the ‘purity’ of a data model is not a measure of its epistemic reliability. Instead it is the ﬁdelity of the data that matters. Second, the ﬁdelity of a data model in capturing the signal of interest is a matter of degree. Third, the ﬁdelity of a data model can be improved ‘vicariously’, such as through the use of post hoc model-based correction techniques. And, fourth, data models, like theoretical models, should be assessed as adequate (or inadequate) for particular purposes. Keywords Paleontology · Paleobiology · Evolution · Data ·
Synthese – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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