Function in ecology: an organizational approach

Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):123-141 (2014)

Functional language is ubiquitous in ecology, mainly in the researches about biodiversity and ecosystem function. However, it has not been adequately investigated by ecologists or philosophers of ecology. In the contemporary philosophy of ecology we can recognize a kind of implicit consensus about this issue: while the etiological approaches cannot offer a good concept of function in ecology, Cummins’ systemic approach can. Here we propose to go beyond this implicit consensus, because we think these approaches are not adequate for ecology. We argue that a sound epistemological framework to function in ecology is to be found in organizational approaches. In this line, we define function in ecology as a precise effect of a given constraint on the ecosystem flow of matter and energy performed by a given item of biodiversity, within a closure of constraints. We elaborate on this definition by developing a case study of a bromeliad ecosystem
Keywords Function  Ecosystem  Biodiversity  BEF  Constraints  Organization
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-013-9398-7
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References found in this work BETA

The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert A. Simon - 1969 - [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
Role Functions, Mechanisms, and Hierarchy.Carl F. Craver - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.

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Citations of this work BETA

How to Be a Function Pluralist.Justin Garson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1101-1122.

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