Applied ecology and the logic of case studies

Philosophy of Science 61 (2):228-249 (1994)
Because of the problems associated with ecological concepts, generalizations, and proposed general theories, applied ecology may require a new "logic" of explanation characterized neither by the traditional accounts of confirmation nor by the logic of discovery. Building on the works of Grunbaum, Kuhn, and Wittgenstein, we use detailed descriptions from research on conserving the Northern Spotted Owl, a case typical of problem solving in applied ecology, to (1) characterize the method of case studies; (2) survey its strengths; (3) summarize and respond to its shortcomings; and (4) investigate and defend its underlying "logic"
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DOI 10.1086/289797
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