David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 1 (4):377-387 (1986)
The Macarthur-Wilson equilibrium theory of island biogeography has had a contradictory role in ecology. As a lasting contribution, the theory has created a new way of viewing insular environments as dynamical systems. On the other hand, many of the applications of the theory have reduced to mere unimaginative curve-fitting. I analyze this paradox in semiotic terms: the theory was mainly equated with the simple species-area relationship which became a signifier of interesting island ecology. The theory is, however, better viewed as a theoretical framework that suggests specific hypotheses on the ecology of colonization of insular environments. This paradox is inherent in the use of simplifying analytic models. Analytic models are necessary and fruitful in the work of ecologists, but they ought to be supplemented with a broader, pluralistic appreciation of the role of theories in general.
|Keywords||Semiotics ecological theory island biogeography|
|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
Thomas S. Kuhn (1977). The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. University of Chicago Press.
L. Laudan (1977). Progress and its Problems: Toward a Theory of Scientific Growth. University of California Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Yrjö Haila (1989). Ecology Finding Evolution Finding Ecology. Biology and Philosophy 4 (2):235-244.
Similar books and articles
Stephen R. Midway & Anne-Marie C. Hodge (2012). Carlquist Revisited: History, Success, and Applicability of a Natural History Model. Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):497-520.
Kristin Shrader-Frechette (2001). Non-Indigenous Species and Ecological Explanation. Biology and Philosophy 16 (4):507-519.
Mark Sagoff (2003). The Plaza and the Pendulum: Two Concepts of Ecological Science. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 18 (4):529-552.
Joan Roughgarden (2009). Is There a General Theory of Community Ecology? Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):521-529.
K. S. Shrader-Frechette (1993). Method in Ecology: Strategies for Conservation. Cambridge University Press.
Sergio Sismondo (2000). Island Biogeography and the Multiple Domains of Models. Biology and Philosophy 15 (2):239-258.
Stefan Linquist (2008). But is It Progress? On the Alleged Advances of Conservation Biology Over Ecology. Biology and Philosophy 23 (4):529-544.
Rob Hengeveld (2002). Macarthur, R.H. And E.O. Wilson (1967, Reprinted 2001). The Theory of Island Biogeography. Acta Biotheoretica 50 (2):133-136.
Dov Sax & Steven D. Gaines (2011). The Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography. In Samuel M. Scheiner & Michael R. Willig (eds.), The Theory of Ecology. The University of Chicago Press. 219--240.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads6 ( #224,390 of 1,413,409 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #154,345 of 1,413,409 )
How can I increase my downloads?