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General Unificatory Theories in Community Ecology

Lean, Christopher (2020) General Unificatory Theories in Community Ecology. [Preprint]

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Abstract

ABSTRACT. The question of whether there are laws of nature in ecology has developed substantially in the last 20 years. Many have attempted to rehabilitate ecology’s lawlike status through establishing that ecology possesses laws that robustly appear across many different ecological systems. I argue that there is still something missing, which explains why so many have been skeptical of ecology’s lawlike status. Community ecology has struggled to establish what I call a General Unificatory Theory (GUT). The lack of a GUT causes problems for explanation as there are no guidelines for how to integrate the lower-level mathematical and causal models into a larger theory of how ecological assemblages are formed. I turn to a promising modern attempt to provide a unified higher-level explanation in ecology, presented by ecologist Mark Vellend, and advocate for philosophical engagement with its prospects for aiding ecological explanation.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lean, Christopherchristopher.hunter.lean@gmail.com0000-0001-5722-6471
Keywords: Laws of Nature, Explanation, Unification, Community Ecology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Dr Christopher Lean
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2020 01:33
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2020 01:33
Item ID: 17118
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17118

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