About this topic
Summary Philosophical study of Ecology and Conservation Biology is a growing part of Philosophy of Science. Ecology and Conservation Biology are closely-related branches of biology. Ecology studies interactions between groups of organisms and among those groups and their environments. The questions of Conservation Biology arise from efforts to preserve groups of organisms or other biological units like ecosystems. Many of the questions in this area arise from more general questions in philosophy of science like the role of laws, the structure of explanations, the challenges of representation. The specific kinds of complexity arising from the interactions of so many and such different living organisms as are typical of ecological research make Ecology and Conservation Biology fruitful terrain for examining how scientists can represent complexity in a manageable way. Moreover, these biological disciplines are also appealed to in decision making, at scales from the management of a wetland to the development of international climate-change agreements. Some philosophers of science address biologists' capacities to answer the questions arising in these contexts, given the achievements and limitations of these complex sciences.
Key works An early monograph connecting ecology and conservation was Shrader-Frechette 1993. Cooper 2007 was the first monograph in philosophy of science focused on ecology.
Introductions Justus 2013 is an introduction to problems and debates in Philosophy of Ecology written for Biology instructors and other educators, but more generally useful for non-specialists. Colyvan et al 2009 surveys major issues in Philosophy of Ecology. Justus 2002 discusses prominent problems in Conservation Biology, and Sarkar 2004 is an introductory encyclopedia article on the same.
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  1. Where Animals Go.R. McNeill Alexander - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (4):433-434.
  2. Ecology: A Different Perspective.L. Arenilla & J. Ferguson - 1978 - Diogenes 26 (104):1-22.
  3. Permanence and Extinction of a Diffusive Predator–Prey Model with Robin Boundary Conditions.M. A. Aziz-Alaoui, M. Daher Okiye & A. Moussaoui - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
  4. Ecology and Freedom.Mark Edward Battersby - 1978 - Dissertation, The University of British Columbia (Canada)
  5. Not Null Enough: Pseudo-Null Hypotheses in Community Ecology and Comparative Psychology.William Bausman & Marta Halina - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):30.
    We evaluate a common reasoning strategy used in community ecology and comparative psychology for selecting between competing hypotheses. This strategy labels one hypothesis as a “null” on the grounds of its simplicity and epistemically privileges it as accepted until rejected. We argue that this strategy is unjustified. The asymmetrical treatment of statistical null hypotheses is justified through the experimental and mathematical contexts in which they are used, but these contexts are missing in the case of the “pseudo-null hypotheses” found in (...)
  6. The Population Ecology of Despotism.Adrian Viliami Bell & Bruce Winterhalder - 2014 - Human Nature 25 (1):121-135.
  7. Foraging for Survival: Yearling Baboons in Africa (Review).Gary E. Belovsky - 2000 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 43 (4):614-616.
  8. How Trash Figures in Sustainability in Culture and Biology.Sugata Bhattacharya - 2009 - Semiotics:561-568.
  9. Love is Like Oxygen.Neil W. Blackstone - 2017 - Bioessays 39 (2):1600257.
  10. Love is Like Oxygen.Neil W. Blackstone - 2017 - Bioessays 39 (2):1600257.
  11. Why Do Corals Bleach? Conflict and Conflict Mediation in a Host/Symbiont Community.Neil W. Blackstone & Jeff M. Golladay - 2018 - Bioessays 40 (8):1800021.
  12. Spreading of Risk and Stabilization of Animal Numbers.P. J. Boer - 1968 - Acta Biotheoretica 18 (1-4).
  13. Towards a Quantification of Ecological Theory: The Importance of Multivariate Analysis and of an Accurate Diversity Measurement.J. Bogaert, R. Ceulemans, I. Impens & I. Nijs - 2002 - Acta Biotheoretica 50 (1):57-61.
  14. Land-Cover Change: Quantification Metrics for Perforation Using 2-D Gap Features.J. Bogaert, D. Salvador-Van Eysenrode, P. Van Hecke, I. Impens & R. Ceulemans - 2001 - Acta Biotheoretica 49 (3):161-169.
    Perforation or gap formation in a vegetation is a major process in landscape transformation. The occurrence of gaps profoundly alters the microclimatical conditions in a vegetation. A method is proposed to quantify perforation by using the three main 2-D characteristics of the gaps: area, number and boundary length. New measures are developed by normalizing the observed values to the reference status of minimum and maximum perforation. As minimum perforation status, the presence of one single gap with area equal to the (...)
  15. A Reference Value for the Interior-to-Edge Ratio of Isolated Habitats.J. Bogaert, P. Van Hecke & I. Impens - 1999 - Acta Biotheoretica 47 (1):67-77.
    Isolated habitats, the consequence of the fragmentation process, are the object of external disturbance. This divides the patch area into two zones: interior and edge. The interior-to-edge ratio quantifies the potential disturbance impact. A method is presented to calculate a reference value for the interior-to-edge ratio, based upon the minimum edge for a given interior. The method is based on pixel geometry features and mathematical morphology. A corrected interior-to-edge ratio is defined using the reference value. The method is illustrated for (...)
  16. Ecology and Revolution: Global Crisis and the Political Challenge.Carl Boggs - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Ecology and Revolution: Global Crisis and the Political Challenge is an in-depth exploration and analysis of the global ecological crisis (going far beyond the issue of global warming) in the larger context of historical conditions and ...
  17. A Thousand Ecologies.Ronald Bogue - 2009 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Deleuze/Guattari & Ecology. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 42--56.
  18. Resilience and Stability of Ecosystems.C. S. Boiling - 1976 - In Erich Jantsch (ed.), Evolution and Consciousness: Human Systems in Transition. Reading Ma: Addison-Wesley. pp. 73.
  19. Construction Sites: How Ecology Shapes Development.Jessica A. Bolker - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (1):42-46.
  20. Flexibility at the Edge of Chaos: A Clear Example From Foraging in Ants.Eric Bonabeau - 1997 - Acta Biotheoretica 45 (1):29-50.
    Starting from a clear, experimentally verified, example of a flexible biological system -- an ant colony --, it is hypothesized that adaptability is enhanced at the "edge of chaos ", that is, in the vicinity of a point of instability. An ant colony exhibiting an appropriate combination of group and mass recruitment can adaptively switch to a newly introduced food source if it is richer: this is precisely the case of some species, such as Tetramorium caespitum, whose behavioral parameters are (...)
  21. What is Social Ecology.Murray Bookchin - forthcoming - Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights.
  22. The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy.Murray Bookchin - 2005 - Oakland, Ca ;Ak Press.
    " With this succinct formulation, Murray Bookchin launches his most ambitious work, The Ecology of Freedom.
  23. Which Way for the Ecology Movement?Murray Bookchin - 1994 - Ak Press.
    This collection of essays by one of the world's most respected ecologists calls for a critical social standpoint that transcends both 'biocentrism' and ...
  24. The Philosophy of Social Ecology Essays on Dialectical Naturalism.Murray Bookchin - 1990
  25. The Farmer, the Hunter, and the Census Taker: Three Distinct Views of Animal Behavior.Mark E. Borrello - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (1).
  26. How Do Environmental Factors Influence Life Cycles and Development? An Experimental Framework for Early-Diverging Metazoans.Thomas C. G. Bosch, Maja Adamska, René Augustin, Tomislav Domazet-Loso, Sylvain Foret, Sebastian Fraune, Noriko Funayama, Juris Grasis, Mayuko Hamada, Masayuki Hatta, Bert Hobmayer, Kotoe Kawai, Alexander Klimovich, Michael Manuel, Chuya Shinzato, Uli Technau, Seungshic Yum & David J. Miller - 2014 - Bioessays 36 (12):1185-1194.
  27. Heidegger, Technology and Ecology.Catherine Frances Botha - 2003 - South African Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):157-172.
    This article investigates Heidegger's views on technology, specifically focussing on whether it is possible to fit Heidegger's ideas into an ecologically minded framework. The author concludes that the question of what we should do in the wake of the technological crisis we face is inappropriate in terms of Heidegger's philosophy, since he proposes that we should first tackle the question “What should we think?”. The question whether Heidegger's ideas on technology provide us with new paths of action, specifically in terms (...)
  28. How Ecosystem Evolution Strengthens the Case for Functional Pluralism.Frédéric Bouchard - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. pp. 83--95.
  29. On Signs, Memes and MEMS.Paul Bouissac - 2001 - Sign Systems Studies 29 (2):627-644.
    The first issue raised by this paper is whether semiotics can bring any added value to ecology. A brief examination of the epistemological status of semiotics in its current forms suggests that semiotics' phenomenological macroconcepts (which are inherited from various theological and philosophical traditions) are incommensurate with the complexity of the sciences comprising ecology and are too reductive to usefully map the microprocesses through which organisms evolve and interact. However, there are at least two grounds on which interfacing semiotics with (...)
  30. Ecology of Semiotic Space.Paul Bouissac - 1993 - American Journal of Semiotics 10 (3/4):145-165.
  31. The New Agriculture. Genetic Engineering of Plants: Agricultural Research Opportunities and Policy Concerns. National Academic Press, 1984. Pp. 83. Paperback $9.50. [REVIEW]Donald Boulter - 1985 - Bioessays 3 (4):190-190.
  32. Multispecies individuals.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul E. Griffiths - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):33.
    We assess the arguments for recognising functionally integrated multispecies consortia as genuine biological individuals, including cases of so-called ‘holobionts’. We provide two examples in which the same core biochemical processes that sustain life are distributed across a consortium of individuals of different species. Although the same chemistry features in both examples, proponents of the holobiont as unit of evolution would recognize one of the two cases as a multispecies individual whilst they would consider the other as a compelling case of (...)
  33. Dewey, Ecology, and Education: Historical and Contemporary Debates Over Dewey's Naturalism and (Transactional) Realism.Deron Boyles - 2012 - Educational Theory 62 (2):143-161.
    In the early 1970s, Thomas Colwell argued for an “ecological basis [for] human community.” He suggested that “naturalistic transactionalism” was being put forward by some ecologists and some philosophers of education, but independently of each other. He suspected that ecologists were working on their own versions of naturalistic transactionalism independently of John Dewey. In this essay, Deron Boyles examines Colwell's central claim as well as his lament as a starting point for a larger inquiry into Dewey's thought. Boyles explores the (...)
  34. Whiteheadian Societies as Open-Ended Systems and Open-Ended Systems as Whiteheadian Societies.Joseph A. Bracken - 2012 - Process Studies 41 (1):64-85.
    In this essay I defend two interrelated theses. The first is that Whiteheadian structured societies are best understood as open-ended systems akin to those currently being proposed in the natural and social sciences by Stuart Kauff­man, David Sloan Wilson, and Niklas Luhmann. The second is that an open-ended system is best understood in terms of an ongoing interplay of subjectivity and objectivity, which I derive from a modest rethinking of the workings of a Whiteheadian structured society.
  35. Introduction to 'Environmental and Land Art': A Special Issue of Ethics, Place and Environment.Emily Brady - 2007 - Ethics, Place and Environment 10 (3):257 – 261.
  36. Ecology in the Twentieth Century: A History.Anna Bramwell - 1990 - Journal of the History of Biology 23 (3):531-533.
  37. Biotypology II. Growth as Factor of Development of the Individual Types and of the Ecological Types of Man.Walter Brandt - 1938 - Acta Biotheoretica 4 (2):119-132.
  38. Rights & Nature.Andrew T. Brei - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (2):393-408.
    Due to the significant and often careless human impact on the natural environment, there are serious problems facing the people of today and of future generations. To date, ethical, aesthetic, religious, and economic arguments for the conservation and protection of the natural environment have made relatively little headway. Another approach, one capable of garnering attention and motivating action, would be welcome. There is another approach, one that I will call a rights approach. Speaking generally, this approach is an attempt to (...)
  39. Inventing Nature: Ecological Restoration by Public Experiments.Adam Briggle - 2005 - Environmental Ethics 27 (3):333-334.
  40. Second Nature and Animal Life.Stefano Di Brisco - 2010 - Between the Species 13 (10).
    I am concerned in this paper with McDowell's account of human uniqueness in nature in terms of a fundamental difference between humans and animals. I try to show that the concept of that difference is relevant for a Wittgensteinian understanding of the place of rationality in nature. I then develop an internal criticism of McDowell's transcendental way of approaching this topic by using Diamond's insights about the importance of the details for a realistic philosophical account of human mindedness. My aim (...)
  41. The Pea Aphid, Acyrthosiphon Pisum: An Emerging Genomic Model System for Ecological, Developmental and Evolutionary Studies.Jennifer A. Brisson & David L. Stern - 2006 - Bioessays 28 (7):747-755.
  42. Bioengineering Nitrogen Acquisition in Rice: Can Novel Initiatives in Rice Genomics and Physiology Contribute to Global Food Security?Dev T. Britto & Herbert J. Kronzucker - 2004 - Bioessays 26 (6):683-692.
  43. Are Fossil Fuels The Main Cause of Today's Global Warming?Dejan Brkić - 2009 - Facta Universitatis 6 (1):29-38.
    Gas will increasingly be seen as the fossil fuel of choice, especially when considering environmental impacts. Natural gas is the chance for Serbia for sustainable development and with its intensive consumption in the XXI century to conciliate the 4Es (Energy, Economy, Efficiency and Environment). In this paper we will compare the impact of different fossil fuels used for domestic heating with a special emphasis on natural gas. Some other causes of climate changes will be also discussed such as the Milanković (...)
  44. A History of Animal Welfare Science.Donald Broom - 2011 - Acta Biotheoretica 59 (2):121-137.
    Human attitudes to animals have changed as non-humans have become more widely incorporated in the category of moral agents who deserve some respect. Parallels between the functioning of humans and non-humans have been made for thousands of years but the idea that the animals that we keep can suffer has spread recently. An improved understanding of motivation, cognition and the complexity of social behaviour in animals has led in the last 30 years to the rapid development of animal welfare science. (...)
  45. Ecology as Historical Science.Bryson Brown - 2011 - In Kevin deLaplante, Bryson Brown & Kent A. Peacock (eds.), Philosophy of Ecology. North-Holland. pp. 11--251.
  46. A Comparison of Perceptions of Biological Value with Scientific Assessment of Biological Importance.Gregory Brown, Corinne Smith, Lilian Alessa & Andrew Kliskey - 2004 - In Antoine Bailly & Lay James Gibson (eds.), Applied Geography. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 161-180.
  47. Conservation and Practical Morality: Challenges to Education and Reform.Les Brown - 1987 - St. Martins [Sic] Press.
  48. Biosemiotics and Ecological Monitoring.Luis Emilio Bruni - 2001 - Sign Systems Studies 29 (1):293-311.
    During the recent decades, a global culrural-institutional network has gradually grown lip to project, implement, and use an enormous technological web that is supposed to observe, monitor, communicate, inventory, and assess our environment and its biodiversity in order to implement sustainable management models. The majority of "knowledge tools" that have been incorporated in the mainstream of this "techno-web" are amply based on a combination of mechanistic biology, genetic reductionism, economical determinism and neo-Darwinian cultural and biological perspectives. These approaches leave aside (...)
  49. Ecology, Theology, and Humanism.D. Bryce-Smith - 1977 - Zygon 12 (3):212-231.
  50. In Search of Balance: A Review of Povinelli's World Without Weight. [REVIEW]Cameron Buckner - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):145-152.
    Povinelli and colleagues ask whether chimpanzees can understand the concept of weight, answering with a resounding ‘‘no’’. They justify their answer by appeal to over thirty previously unpublished experiments. I here evaluate in detail Povinelli’s arguments against his targets, questioning the assumption that such comparative questions will be resolved with an unequivocal ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no’’.
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