David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 38 (1):85-109 (2007)
To generate explanatory theory, ecologists must wrestle with how to represent the extremely many, diverse causes behind phenomena in their domain. Early twentieth-century plant ecologists Frederic E. Clements and Henry A. Gleason provide a textbook example of different approaches to explaining vegetation, with Clements allegedly committed, despite abundant exceptions, to a law of vegetation, and Gleason denying the law in favor of less organized phenomena. However, examining Clements's approach to explanation reveals him not to be expressing a law, and instead to be developing an explanatory structure without laws, capable of progressively integrating causal complexity. Moreover, Clements and Gleason largely agree on the causes of vegetation; but, since causal understanding here underdetermines representation, they differ on how to integrate recognized causes into general theory---that is, in their methodologies. Observers of the case may have mistakenly assumed that scientific representation across the disciplines typically aims at laws like Newton's, and that representations always reveal scientists' metaphysical commitments. Ironically, in the present case, this assumption seems to have been made even by observers who regard Clements as naı¨ve for his alleged commitment to an ecological law.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jay Odenbaugh (2007). Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Realism About Communities and Ecosystems. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):628-641.
Similar books and articles
Fred Richman (2000). Gleason's Theorem has a Constructive Proof. Journal of Philosophical Logic 29 (4):425-431.
Colleen Clements (1979). Death and Philosophical Diversions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 39 (4):524-536.
Gregory M. Mikkelson (2003). Ecological Kinds and Ecological Laws. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1390-1400.
Joseph Clements (1910). Björklund's “Death and Resurrection”. The Monist 20 (4):630-632.
Rebecca Schweder (2005). A Defense of a Unificationist Theory of Explanation. Foundations of Science 10 (4):421-435.
Colleen D. Clements (1976). Stasis: The Unnatural Value. Ethics 86 (2):136-144.
Millard Clements (1964). Mythology and Psychological Presupposition. Educational Theory 14 (3):224-228.
Millard Clements (1963). Three Observations About Language. Educational Theory 13 (2):149-154.
Helen Billinge (1997). A Constructive Formulation of Gleason's Theorem. Journal of Philosophical Logic 26 (6):661-670.
Jani Raerinne (2011). Causal and Mechanistic Explanations in Ecology. Acta Biotheoretica 59 (3):251-271.
Added to index2009-03-15
Total downloads15 ( #107,531 of 1,100,771 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #58,638 of 1,100,771 )
How can I increase my downloads?