Habitat templets and the changing worldview of ecology

Biology and Philosophy 14 (3):375-393 (1999)
Habitat templets are graphical-qualitative models which describe the development of life-history strategies in specific environmental conditions. In the context of the previous models of life-history strategies, life-history theorists focused on the density-dependent factors as the factors determining life-history strategies. With the use of habitat templets, the focus is oriented towards the environmental causal factors, considering density-dependent phenomena as by-products of the environmental impact. This implies an important shift in causality as well as in the worldview of life-history theorists: population is not considered as a closed system isolated from the environment. The object of study is the organism-in-its-environment, as a complex multilevel system. This shift has also methodological consequences: Life-history theory combines holistic and reductionistic insights, using a variety of heuristic models. This imposes a new conception of generality as well as of the structure of scientific theories.
Keywords ecological worldview  habitat templets  models  theory
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006543127454
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