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University of Dayton

Ecology

Publication Year

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru Jan 2016

Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Marcel Weber (1999) argued that the principle of competitive exclusion is a law of ecology that could explain phenomena (1) by direct application, or (2) by describing default states. Since he did not offer an account of explanation by direct application of laws, I offer an interpretation of explanation by direct application of laws based on a proposal by Elgin and Sober (2002). I show that in both cases it is the descriptions of mechanisms that explain phenomena, and not the laws. Lev Ginzburg and Mark Colyvan (2004) argued Malthus’ Law of Exponential Growth is the first law of ecology ...


Causal And Mechanistic Explanations, And A Lesson From Ecology, Viorel Pâslaru Jan 2015

Causal And Mechanistic Explanations, And A Lesson From Ecology, Viorel Pâslaru

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Jani Raerinne and Lindley Darden argue that causal claims are not sufficiently explanatory, and causal talk should be replaced with mechanistic talk. I examine several examples from ecological research, two of which rely on causal models and structural equation modeling, to show that the assertions of Raerinne and of Darden have to be reconsidered.


The Mechanistic Approach Of 'The Theory Of Island Biogeography' And Its Current Relevance, Viorel Pâslaru Mar 2014

The Mechanistic Approach Of 'The Theory Of Island Biogeography' And Its Current Relevance, Viorel Pâslaru

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Philosophers of science have examined The Theory of Island Biogeography by Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson (1967) mainly due to its important contribution to modeling in ecology, but they have not examined it as a representative case of ecological explanation. In this paper, I scrutinize the type of explanation used in this paradigmatic work of ecology. I describe the philosophy of science of MacArthur and Wilson and show that it is mechanistic. Based on this account and in light of contributions to the mechanistic conception of explanation due to Craver (2007), and Bechtel and Richardson (1993), I argue that ...