Volume 27, Issue 3, 2017
Values and Ideals. Theory and Practice: Part IV
Giovanni Boniolo, Mattia Andreoletti, Federico Boem, Emanuele Ratti
The Main Faces of Robustness
In the last decade, robustness has been extensively mentioned and discussed in biology as well as in the philosophy of the life sciences. Nevertheless, from both fields, someone has affirmed that this debate has resulted in more semantic confusion than in semantic clearness. Starting from this claim, we wish to offer a sort of prima facie map of the different usages of the term. In this manner we would intend to predispose a sort of “semantic platform” which could be exploited by those who wish to discuss or simply use it. We do this by starting from a core distinction between the robustness of representations, which is a philosophy of science issue, and the representations of robustness, which instead pertains to science. We illustrate our proposal with examples from biology, physics and mathematics.