Can we define ecosystems? On the confusion between definition and description of ecological concepts
Acta Biotheoretica 55 (4):341-355 (2007)
Sound definitions of its basic concepts are fundamental to every scientific discipline. In some instances, like in the case of the ecosystem concept, the question arises if we can define such concepts at all. And if we can define them, how should we choose from the multiple definitions available? And what are the preconditions for a scientifically sound and useful definition? On the basis of the ecosystem concept, this paper illustrates a major, often neglected distinction in the definition of ecological concepts, namely that between defining criteria and additional descriptive statements connected to those definitions. As is demonstrated by examples from the literature, mixing up these categories leads to false inferences about the properties of physical objects (e.g. a particular forest) subsumed by the concept (e.g. the ecosystem). As a further consequence, this inference becomes problematic in terms of theory development and/or the application of ecological concepts for management decisions.
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Stakeholder: Essentially Contested or Just Confused? [REVIEW]Samantha Miles - 2012 - Journal of Business Ethics 108 (3):285-298.
Toward an Ecological Theory of Concepts.Dr Liane M. Gabora, Dr Eleanor Rosch & Dr Diederik Aerts - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.
Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience.Fikret Berkes, Carl Folke & Johan Colding (eds.) - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
Formalization of the Basic Concepts of Animal Ecology.B. S. Niven - 1982 - Erkenntnis 17 (3):307 - 320.
How Useful Are the Concepts of Familiarity, Biological Integrity, and Ecosystem Health for Evaluating Damages by GM Crops?Ulrich Heink, Robert Bartz & Ingo Kowarik - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (1):3-17.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads48 ( #109,094 of 2,171,744 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #173,730 of 2,171,744 )
How can I increase my downloads?