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Demography in a new key

Author(s): Burch Thomas K.

Journal: Demographic Research
ISSN 1435-9871

Volume: 9;
Start page: 11;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: population theory

The widespread opinion that demography is lacking in theory is based in part on a particular view of the nature of scientific theory, generally known as logical empiricism [or positivism]. A newer school of philosophy of science, the model-based view, provides a different perspective on demography, one that enhances its status as a scientific discipline. From this perspective, much of formal demography can be seen as a collection of substantive models of population dynamics [how populations and cohorts behave], in short, theoretical knowledge. And many theories in behavioural demography - often discarded as too old or too simplistic - can be seen as perfectly good scientific theory, useful for many purposes, although often in need of more rigorous statement.
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