David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):607-621 (2006)
In this essay, I argue for four related claims. First, Richard Levins’ classic “The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology” was a statement and defense of theoretical population biology growing out of collaborations between Robert MacArthur, Richard Lewontin, E. O. Wilson, and others. Second, I argue that the essay served as a response to the rise of systems ecology especially as pioneered by Kenneth Watt. Third, the arguments offered by Levins against systems ecology and in favor of his own methodological program are best construed as “pragmatic”. Fourth, I consider limitations of Levins’ arguments given contemporary population biology.
|Keywords||Richard Levins Robert MacArthur Population biology Ecology Systems ecology Model building Tradeoffs|
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