In this collection of essays, some of the leading ecologists and philosophers discuss the foundations of ecology and evolutionary biology. While large- scale philosophical convictions and attitudes often direct the theorist's line of concrete action in data collection and in theory information, the founda- tional convictions typically remain tacit, and are seldom argued for. The present collection aims to remedy this situation. It brings together scholars representing different approaches in a joint effort to explicate and analyse some of the key issues underlying ecological theorizing, be they conceptual, epistemological or ontological. The bulk of the present collection is reprinted from Synthese 43 (1980). William C. Wimsatt's paper 'Reductionistic Research Strategies and Their Biases in the Units of Selection Controversy' is in turn reprinted from T. Nickles (ed.) Scientific Discovery: Case Studies (D. Reidel, 1980). It appears here with the kind permission of Prof. Nickles. The publisher's consent for the reprints has been in each case automatic. The essays of Y rjo Haila and Olli Jarvinen, and of Leigh M. Van Valen appear here for the first time.
In bringing the present collection together, as well as in editing the Synthese symposium on which it is based, I have greatly benefited from the suggestions of Professors Marjorie Grene, Olli J iirvinen and Daniel Simberloff. In addition to them, I wish to thank all the contributors for their interest in this project.
The Background and Some Current Problems of Theoretical Ecology.- A Succession of Paradigms in Ecology: Essentialism to Materialism and Probabilism.- A Note on Simberloff's 'Succession of Paradigms in Ecology'.- Dialectics and Reductionism in Ecology.- Reply.- Reductionistic Research Strategies and Their Biases in the Units of Selection Controversy.- Ecology - A Mixture of Pattern and Probabilism.- Useful Concepts for Predictive Ecology.- The Domain of Laboratory Ecology.- Null Hypotheses in Ecology.- The Role of Theoretical Concepts in Understanding the Ecological Theatre: A Case Study on Island Biogeography.- Randomness and Perceived-Randomness in Evolutionary Biology.- Why Misunderstand the Evolutionary Half of Biology?.- Natural Kinds, Natural History and Ecology.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.
Series: Geophysics and Astrophysics Monographs
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 30th June 1982
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 23.17 x 15.55
Weight (kg): 0.58