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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 27, Issue 3, 2017

Values and Ideals. Theory and Practice: Part IV

Giovanni Boniolo, Mattia Andreoletti, Federico Boem, Emanuele Ratti
Pages 157-172

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.