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Using models to correct data: paleodiversity and the fossil record

Using models to correct data: paleodiversity and the fossil record Despite an enormous philosophical literature on models in science, surprisingly 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Synthese Springer Journals

Using models to correct data: paleodiversity and the fossil record

Synthese , Volume 198 (Suppl 24) – Oct 1, 2021

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References (51)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © Springer Nature B.V. 2018
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; Epistemology; Logic; Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics
ISSN
0039-7857
eISSN
1573-0964
DOI
10.1007/s11229-018-1820-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Despite an enormous philosophical literature on models in science, surprisingly 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.

Journal

SyntheseSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 1, 2021

Keywords: Paleontology; Paleobiology; Evolution; Data; Model; Suppes; Fossil; Biodiversity; Representation; Simulations; Climate science; Sepkoski; Data models

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