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The Value of Imprecise Prediction

Elliott-Graves, Alkistis (2020) The Value of Imprecise Prediction. [Preprint]

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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.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Elliott-Graves, Alkistisalkistis.elliott-graves@helsinki.fi0000-0002-5211-2229
Keywords: Prediction, Precision, Conservation Ecology, Models
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Dr. Alkistis Elliott-Graves
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 23:10
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 23:10
Item ID: 17243
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17243

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