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Against Lawton’s contingency thesis, or, why the reported demise of community ecology is greatly exaggerated

Linquist, Stefan (2015) Against Lawton’s contingency thesis, or, why the reported demise of community ecology is greatly exaggerated. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Lawton’s contingency thesis (CT) states that there are no useful generalizations (“laws”) at the level of ecological communities because these systems are especially prone to contingent historical events. I argue that this influential thesis has been grounded on the wrong kind of evidence. CT is best understood in Woodward’s (2010) terms as a claim about the instability of certain causal dependencies across different background conditions. A recent distinction between evolution and ecology reveals what an adequate test of Lawton’s thesis would look like. To date, CT remains untested. But developments in genome and molecular ecology point in a promising direction.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Linquist, Stefanlinquist@uoguelph.ca
Keywords: ecological laws, contingency, historical explanation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Depositing User: Dr Stefan Linquist
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2016 13:22
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2016 13:22
Item ID: 11845
Official URL: http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stabl...
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/684024
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Date: 19 December 2015
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11845

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