Biology and Philosophy 26 (6):793-812 (2011)

Trevor Pearce
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
This paper argues that philosophers should pay more attention to the idea of ecosystem engineering and to the scientific literature surrounding it. Ecosystem engineering is a broad but clearly delimited concept that is less subject to many of the “it encompasses too much” criticisms that philosophers have directed at niche construction . The limitations placed on the idea of ecosystem engineering point the way to a narrower idea of niche construction. Moreover, experimental studies in the ecosystem engineering literature provide detailed accounts of particular empirical situations in which we cannot neglect the O term in dE /dt = g (O, E), which helps us get beyond verbal arguments and simple models purporting to show that niche construction must not be ignored as a factor in evolution. Finally, this literature demonstrates that while ecosystem engineering studies may not require us to embrace a new evolutionary process, as niche construction advocates have claimed, they do teach us that the myriad abiotic factors concealed by the abstract term ‘environment’ are often controlled in large part by organisms
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9282-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Dialectical Biologist.Richard Levins - 1985 - Harvard University Press.
What is Biodiversity?James Maclaurin & Kim Sterelny - 2008 - University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ecological Hierarchy and Biodiversity.Christopher Lean & Kim Sterelny - 2016 - In Justin Garson, Anya Plutynski & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity. London: Routledge. pp. 56 - 68.
Molecular Ecosystems.Marco J. Nathan - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):101-122.
Philosophy of Biology in the Twenty-First Century. [REVIEW]Trevor Pearce - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):312-315.

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