Acta Biotheoretica 64 (1):33-64 (2016)

The representation of a complex but stable, self-regulated and, finally, harmonious nature penetrates the whole history of Ecology, thus contradicting the core of the Darwinian evolution. Originated in the pre-Darwinian Natural History, this representation defined theoretically the various schools of early ecology and, in the context of the cybernetic synthesis of the 1950s, it assumed a typical mathematical form on account of α positive correlation between species diversity and community stability. After 1960, these two aforementioned concepts and their positive correlation were proposed as environmental management tools, in the face of the ecological crisis arising at the time. In the early 1970s, and particularly after May’s evolutionary arguments, the consensus around this positive correlation collapsed for a while, only to be promptly restored for the purpose of attaching an ecological value on biodiversity. In this paper, we explore the history of the diversity–stability hypothesis and we review the successive terms that have been used to express community stability. We argue that this hypothesis has been motivated by the nodal ideological presuppositions of order and harmony and that the scientific developments in this field largely correspond to external social pressures. We conclude that the conflict about the diversity–stability relationship is in fact an ideological debate, referring mostly to the way we see nature and society rather than to an autonomous scientific question. From this point of view, we may understand why Ecology’s concepts and perceptions may decline and return again and again, forming a pluralistic scientific history.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10441-015-9272-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,903
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Save the Planet: Eliminate Biodiversity.Carlos Santana - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):761-780.
Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas.Donald Worster - 1996 - Journal of the History of Biology 29 (1):150-151.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Husserl’s Way to Authentic Being.Carlos Alberto Sanchez - 2007 - Human Studies 30 (4):377-393.
Stable Harmony.Nils Kurbis - 2008 - In Peliš Michal (ed.), Logica Yearbook 2007.
The Fact of Diversity and Reasonable Pluralism.Sterling Lynch - 2009 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (1):70-93.
Феномен гармонії: Концептуальні моделі піфагора та геракліта.В. І Муляр - 2016 - Гуманітарний Вісник Запорізької Державної Інженерної Академії 65:117-126.
Harmony in Multiple-Conclusion Natural-Deduction.Nissim Francez - 2014 - Logica Universalis 8 (2):215-259.
The Philosophy of Harmony in Classical Confucianism.Chenyang Li - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (3):423–435.


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #754,770 of 2,409,456 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #540,072 of 2,409,456 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes