Theory Reduction and Explanation in Ecology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
We examine some suggestions made by Loehle (1988) about how ecology could benefit from incorporation of some formal tools of philosophy. We think he is correct in arguing that there are genuine scientific explanations and laws in ecology, but that some of the premises he provides for his conclusion are in error. His call for reduction of ecological theories strikes us as premature, and his claim, that what we consider to be nonfalsifiable ecological principles are laws, appear unfounded. We suggest that statistical laws and stochastic processes might provide the best grounds for the scientific stature of ecology. If so, then perhaps philosophical analysis of ecological laws is useful in revealing the nature of statistical explanations in ecology.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Oikos, v. 58, no. 1, p. 109-114.
Scholar Commons Citation
Shrader-Frechette, Kristin S. and McCoy, Earl D., "Theory Reduction and Explanation in Ecology" (1990). Integrative Biology Faculty and Staff Publications. 225.