David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:34 - 45 (1994)
Many ecologists have dismissed alleged ecological laws as tautological or trivial. This essay investigates the epistemological status of one prominent such "law," the population-growth thesis, and argues for 4 claims: (1) Once interpreted, the thesis cannot be denied the status of empirical law on the grounds that it is always and everywhere untestable. (2) Contrary to Peters' (1991) claim, some interpretations of the thesis have significant heuristic power. (3) One can use the reasoning of Brandon (1990), Lloyd (1987), and Sober (1984) to show that some interpretations of the thesis are not a priori. (4) Even if the thesis is a priori, it has explanatory power as a "schematic law.".
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