Authors
Justin Donhauser
Bowling Green State University
Abstract
In a (2016) paper in this journal, I defuse allegations that theoretical ecological research is problematic because it relies on teleological metaphysical assumptions. Mark Sagoff offers a formal reply. In it, he concedes that I succeeded in establishing that ecologists abandoned robust teleological views long ago and that they use teleological characterizations as metaphors that aid in developing mechanistic explanations of ecological phenomena. Yet, he contends that I did not give enduring criticisms of theoretical ecology a fair shake in my paper. He says this is because enduring criticisms center on concerns about the nature of ecological networks and forces, the instrumentality of ecological laws and theoretical models, and the relation between theoretical and empirical methods in ecology that that paper does not broach. Below I set apart the distinct criticisms Sagoff presents in his commentary and respond to each in turn.
Keywords Theoretical ecology   Lotka-volterra models   Ecological laws   Ceteris paribus conditions
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2017.03.008
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How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.

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