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Title: Corroboration and the Popper debate in phylogenetic systematics
Authors: Bzovy, Justin
Supervisor: Martens, Rhonda (Philosophy)
Examining Committee: Matheson, Carl (Philosophy) Marcus, Jeffrey (Biological Sciences)
Graduation Date: October 2012
Keywords: Corroboration
Karl Popper
Maximum Likelihood
Cladistic Parsimony
Phylogenetic Systematics
Explanatory Power
Ad hoc hypotheses
Issue Date: 27-Aug-2012
Abstract: I evaluate the methods of cladistic parsimony and maximum likelihood in phylogenetic systematics by their affinity to Popper‘s degree of corroboration. My work analyzes an important recent exchange between the proponents of the two methods. Until this exchange, only advocates of cladistic parsimony have claimed a basis for their method on epistemological grounds through corroboration. Advocates of maximum likelihood, on the other hand, have based the rational justification for their method largely on statistical grounds. In Part One I outline corroboration in terms of content, severity of test and explanatory power. In Part Two I introduce the two methods. In Part Three I analyze three important debates. The first involves the appropriate probability interpretation for phylogenetics. The second is about severity of test. The third concerns explanatory power. In Part Four I conclude that corroboration can decide none of these debates, and therefore cannot decide the debate between cladistic parsimony and maximum likelihood.
Appears in Collection(s):FGS - Electronic Theses & Dissertations (Public)

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