Dialectics and reductionism in ecology

Synthese 43 (1):47 - 78 (1980)
Abstract
Biology above the level of the individual organism ? population ecology and genetics, community ecology, biogeography and evolution ? requires the study of intrinsically complex systems. But the dominant philosophies of western science have proven to be inadequate for the study of complexity:(1)The reductionist myth of simplicity leads its advocates to isolate parts as completely as possible and study these parts. It underestimates the importance of interactions in theory, and its recommendations for practice (in agricultural programs or conservation and environmental protection) are typically thwarted by the power of indirect and unanticipated causes rather than by error in the detailed description of their own objects of study.(2)Reductionism ignores properties of complex wholes; the effects of these properties are therefore seen only as noise; this randomness is elevated into an ontological principle which leads to the blocking of investigation and the reification of statistics, so that data reduction and statistical prediction often pass for explanation.(3)The faith in the atomistic nature of the world makes the allocation of relative weights to separate causes the main object of science, and makes it more difficult to study the nature of interconnectedness
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,819
External links
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
Citations of this work BETA

View all 7 citations

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

55 ( #30,756 of 1,099,957 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #304,017 of 1,099,957 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.