The Philosophy of Ecology: From Science to Synthesis / Edition 1

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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
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Editorial Reviews

Philosopher Keller (ethics, Utah Valley State College) and ecologist Golley (zoology and environmental design, U. of Georgia) assemble an introductory reader to the philosophy of ecology as a foundation for a second book on the possibility of deriving ethical norms from ecological science. The 22 selections are arranged in topical sections. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820322209
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Introduction: Ecology as a Science of Synthesis
Part 1. Entities and Process in Ecology
1. Frederic Clements, Preface to Plant Succession: An Analysis of the Development of Vegetation
2. Henry Gleason, The Individualistic Concept of the Plant Association
3. Arthur Tansley, The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts and Terms
4. Daniel Simberloff, A Succession of Paradigms in Ecology: Essentialism to Materialism and Probabilism
5. Robert Ulanowicz, Life after Newton: An Ecological Metaphysic
Part 2. Community, Niche, Diversity, and Stability
6. Karl Mobius, An Oyster Bank Is a Bioconose, or a Social Community
7. Robert Whittaker, Simon Levin, and Richard Root, On the Reasons for Distinguishing Niche, Habitat, and Ecotope
8. Ruth Patrick, Biological Diversity in Ecology
9. Andrew Redfearn and Stuart Pimm, Stability in Ecological Communities
Part 3. Rationalism and Empiricism
10. Karl Popper, The Bucket and the Searchlight: Two Theories of Knowledge
11. Robert May, The Role of Theory in Ecology
12. Kristin Shrader-Frechette and Earl McCoy, Community Ecology, Population Biology, and the Method of Case Studies
Part 4. Reductionism and Holism
13. Thomas Schoener, Mechanistic Approaches to Ecology: A New Reductionism?
14. Eugene Odum, The Emergence of Ecology as a New Integrative Discipline
15. Donato Bergandi, "Reductionist Holism": An Oxymoron or a Philosophical Chimera of E. P. Odum's Systems Ecology?
16. Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, Dialectics and Reductionism in Ecology
17. T. F. H. Allen and Thomas Starr, Hierarchy: Perspectives for Ecological Complexity
Part 5. Ecology and Evolution
18. David Hull, The Metaphysics of Evolution
19. Stephen Gould and Richard Lewontin, The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Program
20. Ernst Mayr, How to Carry Out the Adaptationist Program?
21. James Collins, Evolutionary Ecology and the Use of Natural Selection in Ecological Theory
22. Craig Loehle and Joseph Pechmann, Evolution: The Missing Ingredient in Systems Ecology
Literature Cited
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