Ecological Understanding: The Nature of Theory and the Theory of Nature / Edition 2

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This widely anticipated revision of the groundbreaking book, Ecological Understanding, updates this crucial sourcebook of contemporary philosophical insights for practicing ecologists and graduate students in ecology and environmental studies. The second edition contains new ecological examples, an expanded array of conceptual diagrams and illustrations, new text boxes summarizing important points or defining key terms, and new reference to philosophical issues and controversies. Although the first edition was recognized for its clarity, this revision takes the opportunity to make the exposition of complex topics still clearer to readers without a philosophical background.

Readers will gain an understanding of the goals of science, the structure of theory, the kinds of theory relevant to ecology, the way that theory changes, what constitutes objectivity in contemporary science, and the role of paradigms and frameworks for synthesis within ecology and in integration with other disciplines. Finally, how theory can inform and anchor the public use of ecological knowledge in civic debates is laid out. This new edition refines the understanding of how the structure and change of theory can improve the growth and application of one of the 21st century’s key sciences.

· Explains the philosophical basis of ecology in plain English
· Contains chapter overviews and summaries
· Text boxes highlight key points, examples, or controversies
· Diagrams explain structure and development of theory, and integration
· Evaluates and relates paradgims in ecology
· Illustrates philosophical issues with classic and new ecological research

Audience: Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and researchers in ecology. Both theoreticians and practicing ecologists will want this book. Libraries with strong ecology collections will be likely buyers.

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Editorial Reviews

As an entry into the scientific philosophy of ecology and natural history, explains ecological theories and how they are generated, evaluated, and categorized. Emphasizes the importance of synthesizing the contributions from the various disciplines that intersect in ecology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"Given our growing need for ecologists and other environmental scientists with an ecumenical view of their subject, and a sensitive awareness of its complexities and inherent multiplicity of spatial and temporal scales, Pickett, Kolasa and Jones' book is especially timely."
—From the Foreward by ROBERT M. MAY, Oxford University, U.K.
"A thought-provoking book."
"Since many ecologists may think that physics is the science, Ecology Understanding offers a refreshing alternative.... Ecology Understanding offers the reader an interesting and thoughtful discussion of theory development, ecological integration, and scientific understanding from a philosophical viewpoint."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780125545228
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 7/10/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 7.59 (w) x 10.29 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Preface Part I: Advancing the Discipline and Enhancing Applications Ch. 1 Integration in Ecology Ch. 2 Understanding in Ecology Part II: The Nature of Theory Ch. 3 The Anatomy of Theory Ch. 4 The Ontogeny of Theory Ch. 5 The Taxonomy of Theory Part III: From Theory to Integration and Application Ch. 6 Fundamental Questions:Changes in Understanding Ch. 7 Integration and Synthesis Part IV: Theory and Its Environment Ch. 8 Constraint and Objectivity in Ecological Integration Ch. 9 Ecological Understanding and the Public

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