Cover image for The philosophy of ecology : from science to synthesis
The philosophy of ecology : from science to synthesis
Keller, David R., 1962-
Publication Information:
Athens : University of Georgia Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 366 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Preface to plant succession: an analysis of the development of vegetation / Frederic E. Clements -- The individualistic concept of the plant association / Henry A. Gleason -- The use and abuse of vegetational concepts and terms / Arthur G. Tansley -- A succession of paradigms in ecology: essentialism to materialism and probabilism / Daniel Simberloff -- Life after Newton: an ecological metaphysic / Robert E. Ulanowicz -- An oyster bank is a biocönose, or a social community / Karl Möbius -- On the reasons for distinguishing niche, habitat, and ecotope / Robert H. Whittaker, Simon A. Levin, Richard B. Root -- Biological diversity in ecology / Ruth Patrick -- Stability in ecological communities / Andrew Redfearn, Stuart L. Pimm -- The bucket and the searchlight: two theories of knowledge / Karl R. Popper -- The role of theory in ecology / Robert M. May -- Community ecology, population biology, and the method of case studies / Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Earl D. McCoy -- Mechanistic approaches to ecology: a new reductionism? / Thomas W. Schoener -- The emergence of ecology as a new integrative discipline / Eugene P. Odum -- "Reductionist holism": an oxymoron or a philosophical chimera of Eugene Odum's systems ecology? / Donato Bergandi -- Dialectics and reductionism in ecology / Richard Levins, Richard C. Lewontin -- Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity / T.F.H. Allen, Thomas B. Starr -- The metaphysics of evolution / David L. Hull -- The spandrels of San Marco and the panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist program / Stephen J. Gould, Richard C. Lewontin -- How to carry out the adaptationist program? / Ernst Mayr -- Evolutionary ecology and the use of natural selection in ecological theory / James P. Collins -- Evolution: the missing ingredient in systems ecology / Craig Loehle, Joseph H.K. Pechmann.
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QH540.5 .P49 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This is the first introductory anthology on the philosophy of ecology edited by an ecologist and a philosopher. It illustrates the range of philosophical approaches available to ecologists and provides a basis for understanding the thinking on which many of today's environmental ideas are founded. Collectively, these seminal readings make a powerful statement on the value of ecological knowledge and thinking in alleviating the many problems of modern industrial civilization.

Issues covered include:
the challenges of defining scientific ecology, tracing its genealogy, and distinguishing the science from various forms of "ecological-like" thinking
the ontology of ecological entities and processes
selected concepts of community, stability, diversity, and niche
the methodology of ecology (rationalism and empiricism, reductionism and holism)
the significance of evolutionary law for ecological science

Author Notes

David R. Keller is an assistant professor of philosophy and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley State College. Frank B. Golley (1930-2006) was Research Professor of Ecology, professor of zoology, and professor of environmental design at the University of Georgia. His books include A Primer for Environmental Literacy , A History of the Ecosystem Concept , and Tropical Rainforest Systems .

Table of Contents

Frederic E. ClementsHenry A. GleasonArthur G. TansleyDaniel SimberloffRobert E. UlanowiczKarl MobiusRobert H. Whittaker and Simon A. Levin and Richard B. RootRuth PatrickAndrew Redfearn and Stuart L. PimmKarl R. PopperRobert M. MayKristin Shrader-Frechette and Earl D. McCoyThomas W. SchoenerEugene P. OdumDonato BergandiRichard Levins and Richard C. LewontinT. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. StarrDavid L. HullStephen J. Gould and Richard C. LewontinErnst MayrJames P. CollinsCraig Loehle and Joseph H. K. Pechmann
List of Figures and Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Ecology as a Science of Synthesisp. 1
Part 1 Entities and Process in Ecologyp. 21
1. Preface to Plant Succession: An Analysis of the Development of Vegetationp. 35
2. The Individualistic Concept of the Plant Associationp. 42
3. The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts and Termsp. 55
4. A Succession of Paradigms in Ecology: Essentialism to Materialism and Probabilismp. 71
5. Life after Newton: An Ecological Metaphysicp. 81
Part 2 Community, Niche, Diversity, and Stabilityp. 101
6. An Oyster Bank Is a Bioconose, or a Social Communityp. 111
7. On the Reasons for Distinguishing Niche, Habitat, and Ecotopep. 115
8. Biological Diversity in Ecologyp. 119
9. Stability in Ecological Communitiesp. 124
Part 3 Rationalism and Empiricismp. 133
10. The Bucket and the Searchlight: Two Theories of Knowledgep. 141
11. The Role of Theory in Ecologyp. 147
12. Community Ecology, Population Biology, and the Method of Case Studiesp. 153
Part 4 Reductionism and Holismp. 171
13. Mechanistic Approaches to Ecology: A New Reductionism?p. 181
14. The Emergence of Ecology as a New Integrative Disciplinep. 194
15. "Reductionist Holism": An Oxymoron or a Philosophical Chimera of Eugene Odum's Systems Ecology?p. 204
16. Dialectics and Reductionism in Ecologyp. 218
17. Hierarchy: Perspectives for Ecological Complexityp. 226
Part 5 Ecology and Evolutionp. 233
18. The Metaphysics of Evolutionp. 247
19. The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programp. 263
20. How to Carry Out the Adaptationist Program?p. 277
21. Evolutionary Ecology and the Use of Natural Selection in Ecological Theoryp. 288
22. Evolution: The Missing Ingredient in Systems Ecologyp. 304
Afterwordp. 320
Literature Citedp. 323
Indexp. 361