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  1. Ecological Stability, Model Building, and Environmental Policy: A Reply to Some of the Pessimism.Jay Odenbaugh - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (3):493-505.
    Recently, there has been a rise in pessimism concerning what theoretical ecology can offer conservation biologists in the formation of reasonable environmental policies. In this paper, I look at one of the pessimistic arguments offered by Kristin Shrader-Frechette and E. D. McCoy -the argument from conceptual imprecision. I suggest that their argument rests on an inadequate account of the concepts of ecological stability and that there has been conceptual progress with respect to complexity-stability hypotheses. Such progress, I maintain, can supply (...)
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  • The Aim and Structure of Ecological Theory.Marcel Weber - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (1):71-93.
    I present an attempt at an explication of the ecological theory of interspecific competition, including its explanatory role in community ecology and evolutionary biology. The account given is based on the idea that law-like statements play an important role in scientific theories of this kind. I suggest that the principle of competitive exclusion is such a law, and that it is evolutionarily invariant. The principle's empirical status is defended and implications for the ongoing debates on the existence of biological laws (...)
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  • Causal and Mechanistic Explanations in Ecology.Jani Raerinne - 2011 - Acta Biotheoretica 59 (3):251-271.
    How are scientific explanations possible in ecology, given that there do not appear to be many—if any—ecological laws? To answer this question, I present and defend an account of scientific causal explanation in which ecological generalizations are explanatory if they are invariant rather than lawlike. An invariant generalization continues to hold or be valid under a special change—called an intervention—that changes the value of its variables. According to this account, causes are difference-makers that can be intervened upon to manipulate or (...)
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  • Relevant Features of Science: Values in Conservation Biology.Esther M. van Dijk - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (9):2141-2156.
  • The Plaza and the Pendulum: Two Concepts of Ecological Science.Sagoff Mark - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (4):529-552.
    This essay explores two strategies of inquiryin ecological science. Ecologists may regardthe sites they study either as contingentcollections of plants and animals, therelations of which are place-specific andidiosyncratic, or as structured systems andcommunites that are governed by general rules,forces, or principles. Ecologists who take thefirst approach rely on observation, induction,and experiment – a case-study or historicalmethod – to determine the causes of particularevents. Ecologists who take the secondapproach, seeking to explain by inferringevents from general patterns or principles,confront four conceptual obstacles (...)
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  • Which Fish? Knowledge, Articulation, and Legitimization in Claims About Endangered and Culturally Significant Animals.Nicholas Buchanan - 2017 - Science, Technology, and Human Values 42 (3):520-542.
    This article examines how the authorization of scientific discourses in the US Endangered Species Act of 1973 has influenced the ways people make claims about culturally significant animals. In it, I focus on struggles over the management of two endangered fish species among a federally recognized Native American tribe, state resource managers, and other actors. I discuss how the requirements of the ESA, namely that decisions regarding the protection of endangered species must be made based “solely on the basis of (...)
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  • Non-Indigenous Species and Ecological Explanation.Kristin Shrader-Frechette - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (4):507-519.
    Within the last 20 years, the US has mounted amassive campaign against invasions bynon-indigenous species (NIS) such as zebramussels, kudzu, water hyacinths, and brown treesnakes. NIS have disrupted native ecosystemsand caused hundreds of billions of dollars ofannual damage. Many in the scientificcommunity say the problem of NIS is primarilypolitical and economic: getting governments toregulate powerful vested interests thatintroduce species through such vehicles asships' ballast water. This paper argues that,although politics and economics play a role,the problem is primarily one of scientificmethod. (...)
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  • Prediction and Rolston’s Environmental Ethics: Lessons From the Philosophy of Science.William J. McKinney - 1996 - Science and Engineering Ethics 2 (4):429-440.
    Rolston (1988) argues that in order to act ethically in the environment, moral agents must assume that their actions are potentially harmful, and then strive to prove otherwise before implementing that action. In order to determine whether or not an action in the environment is harmful requires the tools of applied epistemology in order to act in accord with Rolston’s ethical prescription. This link between ethics and epistemology demands a closer look at the relationship between confirmation theory, particularly notions of (...)
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