A tentative taxonomy for predictive models in relation to their falsifiability

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The growing importance of predictive models in biomedical research raises some concerns on the correct methodological approach to the falsification of such models, as they are developed in interdisciplinary research contexts between physics, biology and medicine. In each of these research sectors, there are established methods to develop cause-effect explanations for observed phenomena, which can be used to predict: epidemiological models, biochemical models, biophysical models, Bayesian models, neural networks, etc. Each research sector has accepted processes to verify how correct these models are (falsification). But interdisciplinary research imposes a broader perspective, which encompasses all possible models in a general methodological framework of falsification. The present paper proposes a general definition of 'scientific model' that makes it possible to categorize predictive models into broad categories. For each of these categories, generic falsification strategies are proposed, except for the so-called 'abductive' models. For this category, which includes artificial neural networks, Bayesian models and integrative models, the definition of a generic falsification strategy requires further investigation by researchers and philosophers of science. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4149-4161
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1954
Publication statusPublished - Nov 13 2011


  • Biomedicine
  • Falsification
  • Integrative models
  • Predictive models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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