Richard Gunton firstname.lastname@example.org
Laws in ecology: diverse modes of explanation for a holistic science?
Gunton, Richard; Gilbert, Francis
FRANCIS GILBERT FRANCIS.GILBERT@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Ecology
Ecology’s reputation as a holistic and soft science is partly due to widespread misconceptions of its nature as well as shortcomings in its methodology. We show how the pursuit of empirical laws of ecology can foster the emergence of a more unified and predictive ecology based on complementary modes of explanation. Numerical analyses of population dynamics have a distinguished pedigree, spatial analyses successfully generate predictive laws for macroecology and physical analyses are tyically pursued by the ecosystem approach. The most characteristically ecological laws, however, are found in biotic analyses within the ‘functional trait’ paradigm. Holistic credentials for ecology may thus be restored on two bases: its accommodating complementary modes of analysis and explanation, and its having some laws within the least reductionistic mode consistent with its subject matter. These claims, grounded in the aspectual theory of Herman Dooyeweerd, lead to some suggestions for enhancing the versatility and usefulness of ecology – and other sciences – by balancing different research paradigms under a holistic vision.
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Publication Date||Jun 1, 2017|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|APA6 Citation||Gunton, R., & Gilbert, F. (2017). Laws in ecology: diverse modes of explanation for a holistic science?. Zygon, 52(2), https://doi.org/10.1111/zygo.12334|
|Keywords||abstraction, biotic, physical, spatial, numerical, [mode], [holistic], paradigm, reductionism|
|Copyright Statement||Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf|
|Additional Information||This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Gunton, R. and Gilbert, F. (2017), Laws in ecology: diverse modes of explanation for a holistic science?. Zygon®, 52: 538–560, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/zygo.12334. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.|
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf
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