Ecological Laws

Abstract

The question of whether there are laws in ecology is important for a number of reasons. If, as some have suggested, there are no ecological laws, this would seem to distinguish ecology from other branches of science, such as physics. It could also make a difference to the methodology of ecology. If there are no laws to be discovered, ecologists would seem to be in the business of merely supplying a suite of useful models. These models would need to be assessed for their empirical adequacy but not for their ability to capture fundamental truths, or the like. If, on the other hand, ecology does have laws, this prompts further questions about what these laws are and why even the best candidates for ecological laws fall short of what might be expected of laws

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