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Ecological Kinds and Ecological Laws

Mikkelson, Gregory M. (2002) Ecological Kinds and Ecological Laws. [Preprint]

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    Ecologists typically invoke "lawlike" generalizations, ranging over "structural" and/or "functional" kinds, in order to explain generalizations about "historical" kinds (such as biological taxa) � rather than vice versa. This practice is justified, since structural and functional kinds tend to correlate better with important ecological phenomena than do historical kinds. I support these contentions with three recent case studies. In one sense, then, ecology is, and should be, more nomothetic, or law-based, than ideographic, or historically-based. This conclusion challenges several recent philosophical claims about the nature of ecological science.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Laws of Nature, Ecology, Systematics, Biology, Conservation, Natural Kinds
    Conferences and Volumes: [2002] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 18th Biennial Mtg - PSA 2002: Contributed Papers (Milwaukee, WI; 2002) > PSA 2002 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Program Committee
    Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2003
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:11
    Item ID: 1087

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