The Value of Imprecise Prediction

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Elliott-Graves , A 2020 , ' The Value of Imprecise Prediction ' , Philosophy, theory, and practice in biology , vol. 12 , no. 4 .

Title: The Value of Imprecise Prediction
Author: Elliott-Graves, Alkistis
Contributor organization: Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science
Practical Philosophy
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Number of pages: 19
Belongs to series: Philosophy, theory, and practice in biology
ISSN: 2475-3025
Abstract: The traditional philosophy of science approach to prediction leaves little room for appreciating the value and potential of imprecise predictions. At best, they are considered a stepping stone to more precise predictions, while at worst they are viewed as detracting from the scientific quality of a discipline. The aim of this paper is to show that imprecise predictions are undervalued in philosophy of science. I review the conceptions of imprecise predictions and the main criticisms levelled against them: (i) that they cannot aid in model selection and improvement, and (ii) that they cannot support effective interventions in practical decision making. I will argue against both criticisms, showing that imprecise predictions have a circumscribed but important and legitimate place in the study of complex, heterogeneous systems. The argument is illustrated and supported by an example from conservation biology, where imprecise models were instrumental in saving the kōkako from extinction.
Subject: 611 Philosophy
ecological modelling
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion
Grant number: 796910

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