Article ID: CBB924893778

Multi-model approaches to phylogenetics: Implications for idealization (2021)


Phylogenetic models traditionally represent the history of life as having a strictly-branching tree structure. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the history of life is often not strictly-branching; lateral gene transfer, endosymbiosis, and hybridization, for example, can all produce lateral branching events. There is thus motivation to allow phylogenetic models to have a reticulate structure. One proposal involves the reconciliation of genealogical discordance. Briefly, this method uses patterns of disagreement – discordance – between trees of different genes to add lateral branching events to phylogenetic trees of taxa, and to estimate the most likely cause of these events. I use this practice to argue for: (1) a need for expanded accounts of multiple-models idealization, (2) a distinction between automatic and manual de-idealization, and (3) recognition that idealization may serve the meso-level aims of science in a different way than hitherto acknowledged.

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Authors & Contributors
Rieppel, Olivier
Hossfeld, Uwe
Kenzer, Martin S.
Ghiselin, Michael T.
Breidbach, Olaf
Troll, Wilhelm
Journal of the History of Biology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Theory in Biosciences
Archives of Natural History
Evolutionary developmental biology
Classification in biology
Hennig, Willi
Haeckel, Ernst
Sauer, Carl Ortwin
Dohrn, Anton Felix
Troll, Wilhelm
Darwin, Charles Robert
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
Great Britain
United States

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