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Antoine C. Dussault
Centre Interuniversitaire De Recherche Sur La Science Et La Technologie (CIRST)
  1.  71
    A Persistence Enhancing Propensity Account of Ecological Function to Explain Ecosystem Evolution.Antoine C. Dussault & Frédéric Bouchard - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    We argue that ecology in general and biodiversity and ecosystem function research in particular need an understanding of functions which is both ahistorical and evolutionarily grounded. A natural candidate in this context is Bigelow and Pargetter’s evolutionary forward-looking account which, like the causal role account, assigns functions to parts of integrated systems regardless of their past history, but supplements this with an evolutionary dimension that relates functions to their bearers’ ability to thrive and perpetuate themselves. While Bigelow and Pargetter’s account (...)
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  2.  40
    Functional Ecology's Non-Selectionist Understanding of Function.Antoine C. Dussault - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 70:1-9.
    This paper reinforces the current consensus against the applicability of the selected effect theory of function in ecology. It does so by presenting an argument which, in contrast with the usual argument invoked in support of this consensus, is not based on claims about whether ecosystems are customary units of natural selection. Instead, the argument developed here is based on observations about the use of the function concept in functional ecology, and more specifically, research into the relationship between biodiversity and (...)
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  3.  15
    Neither Superorganisms nor Mere Species Aggregates: Charles Elton’s Sociological Analogies and His Moderate Holism About Ecological Communities.Antoine C. Dussault - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (2):1-27.
    This paper analyzes community ecologist Charles Elton’s ideas on animal communities, and situates them with respect to the classical opposition between organicist–holistic and individualistic–reductionist ecological views drawn by many historians of ecology. It is argued that Elton espoused a moderate ecological holism, which drew a middle way between the stricter ecological holism advocated by organicist ecologists and the merely aggregationist views advocated by some of their opponents. It is also argued that Elton’s moderate ecological holism resonated with his preference for (...)
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  4.  12
    Functionalism Without Selectionism: Charles Elton's "Functional" Niche and the Concept of Ecological Function.Antoine C. Dussault - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (1):52-67.
    This article offers an analysis of ecologist Charles Elton’s “functional” concept of the niche and of the notion of function implicitly associated with it. It does so in part by situating Elton’s niche concept within the broader context of the “functionalist-interactionist” approach to ecology he introduced, and in relation to his views on the relationship between ecology and evolution. This involves criticizing the common claim that Elton’s idea of species as fulfilling functional roles within ecological communities committed him to an (...)
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  5. Health, Homeostasis, and the Situation-Specificity of Normality.Antoine C. Dussault & Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (1):61-81.
    Christopher Boorse’s Biostatistical Theory of Health has been the main contender among naturalistic accounts of health for the last 40 years. Yet, a recent criticism of this theory, presented by Elselijn Kingma, identifies a dilemma resulting from the BST’s conceptual linking of health and statistical typicality. Kingma argues that the BST either cannot accommodate the situation- specificity of many normal functions or cannot account for many situation-specific diseases. In this article, we expand upon with Daniel Hausman’s response to Kingma’s dilemma. (...)
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  6. Functional Diversity: An Epistemic Roadmap.Christophe Malaterre, Antoine C. Dussault, Sophia Rousseau-Mermans, Gillian Barker, Beatrix E. Beisner, Frédéric Bouchard, Eric Desjardins, Tanya I. Handa, Steven W. Kembel, Geneviève Lajoie, Virginie Maris, Alison D. Munson, Jay Odenbaugh, Timothée Poisot, B. Jesse Shapiro & Curtis A. Suttle - 2019 - BioScience 10 (69):800-811.
    Functional diversity holds the promise of understanding ecosystems in ways unattainable by taxonomic diversity studies. Underlying this promise is the intuition that investigating the diversity of what organisms actually do—i.e. their functional traits—within ecosystems will generate more reliable insights into the ways these ecosystems behave, compared to considering only species diversity. But this promise also rests on several conceptual and methodological—i.e. epistemic—assumptions that cut across various theories and domains of ecology. These assumptions should be clearly addressed, notably for the sake (...)
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  7.  4
    Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis of disorder and the problem of defining harm to nonsentient organisms.Antoine C. Dussault - 2021 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (5):211-231.
    This paper criticizes Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis of disorder by arguing that the conceptual linkage it establishes between the medical concepts of health and disorder and the prudential notions of well-being and harm makes the account inapplicable to nonsentient organisms, such as plants, fungi, and many invertebrate animals. Drawing on a previous formulation of this criticism by Christopher Boorse, and noting that Wakefield could avoid it if he adopted a partly biofunction-based account of interests like that often advocated in (...)
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  8.  5
    Conceptualizing the Environment in Natural Sciences: Guest Editorial.Gaëlle Pontarotti, Antoine C. Dussault & Francesca Merlin - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (1):1-3.
    The concept of biological inheritance has recently been extended so as to integrate, among other elements, parts of organisms’ environments. The literature refers to the trans-generational reconstruction of these parts in terms of environmental or ecological inheritance. This article’s main objective is to clarify the different meanings of "environmental inheritance," to underline so far unnoticed theoretical difficulties associated to this polysemous notion and to consequently argue that inheritance, even when extended, should be theoretically distinguished from trans-generational environmental stability. After disentangling (...)
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  9.  22
    Welfare, Health, and the Moral Considerability of Nonsentient Biological Entities.Antoine C. Dussault - 2018 - Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 13 (1):184-209.
    This paper discusses a challenge to the claims made by biocentrists and some ecocentrists that some nonsentient biological entities qualify as candidates for moral considerability. This challenge derives from Wayne Sumner’s critique of “objective theories of welfare” and, in particular, from his critique of biocentrists’ and ecocentrists’ biofunction-based accounts of the “good of their own” of nonsentient biological entities. Sumner’s critique lends support to animal ethicists’ typical skepticism regarding those accounts, by contending that they are more plausibly interpreted as accounts (...)
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  10.  67
    In Search of Ecocentric Sentiments: Insights From the CAD Model in Moral Psychology.Antoine C. Dussault - 2013 - Environmental Ethics 35 (4):419-437.
    One aspect of J. Baird Callicott’s foundational project for ecocentrism consists in explaining how moral consideration for ecological wholes can be grounded in moral sentiments. Some critics of Callicott have objected that moral consideration for ecological wholes is impossible under a sentimentalist conception of ethics because, on both Hume and Smith’s views, sympathy is our main moral sentiment and it cannot be elicited by holistic entities. This conclusion is premature. The relevant question is not whether such moral consideration is compatible (...)
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  11.  13
    In Search of Ecocentric Sentiments: Insights From the CAD Model in Moral Psychology.Antoine C. Dussault - 2013 - Environmental Ethics 35 (4):419-437.
    One aspect of J. Baird Callicott’s foundational project for ecocentrism consists in explaining how moral consideration for ecological wholes can be grounded in moral sentiments. Some critics of Callicott have objected that moral consideration for ecological wholes is impossible under a sentimentalist conception of ethics because, on both Hume and Smith’s views, sympathy is our main moral sentiment and it cannot be elicited by holistic entities. This conclusion is premature. The relevant question is not whether such moral consideration is compatible (...)
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  12.  90
    L’art et la nature. [REVIEW]Ely Mermans & Antoine C. Dussault - 2016 - la Vie des Idées 1:1-6.
    À propos de : Catherine et Raphaël Larrère, Penser et agir avec la nature : Une enquête philosophique, Paris, La Découverte, 2015. -/- L’idée d’une nature sauvage à protéger des avancées techniques ne prend en compte ni la complexité des artefacts, ni ce qu’implique aujourd’hui la protection de la nature. En mettant l’accent sur la notion de biodiversité, C. et R. Larrère cherchent à donner un nouveau fondement à l’écologie politique.
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  13.  4
    Correction to: Conceptualizing the Environment in Natural Sciences: Guest Editorial.Gaëlle Pontarotti, Antoine C. Dussault & Francesca Merlin - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-1.
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  14.  15
    The Harmful-Dysfunction Account of Disorder, Individual Versus Social Values, and the Interpersonal Variability of Harm Challenge.Antoine C. Dussault - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (3):453-467.
    This paper presents the interpersonal variability of harm challenge to Jerome Wakefield’s harmful-dysfunction account (HDA) of disorder. This challenge stems from the seeming fact that what promotes well-being or is harmful to someone varies much more across individuals than what is intuitively healthy or disordered. This makes it at least prima facie difficult to see how judgments about health and disorder could, as harm-requiring accounts of disorder like the HDA maintain, be based on, or closely linked to, judgments about well-being (...)
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  15.  3
    Two Notions of Ecological Function.Antoine C. Dussault - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (1):171-179.
    This paper discusses Millstein’s criticism of the consensus view formed against selected-effects ecological functions. I argue that Millstein’s defense of coevolution-based selected-effects ecological functions applies to a notion of function as an activity, whereas proponents of the consensus view are concerned with a notion of ecological function as the contribution of an organism, population, species, or abiotic item to the maintenance of its community and/or the functioning of its ecosystem. Millstein’s arguments hence do not invalidate the consensus view but draw (...)
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  16. Ecocentrism and Appeals to Nature's Goodness: Must They Be Fallacious?Antoine C. Dussault - manuscript
  17.  48
    Functional Biodiversity and the Concept of Ecological Function.Antoine C. Dussault - 2019 - In Elena Casetta, Davide Vecchi & Jorge Miguel Luz Marques da Silva (eds.), From Assessing to Conserving biodiversity: Beyond the Species Approach. Dordrecht, Pays-Bas: Springer. pp. 297-316.
    This chapter argues that the common claim that the ascription of ecological functions to organisms in functional ecology raises issues about levels of natural selection is ill-founded. This claim, I maintain, mistakenly assumes that the function concept as understood in functional ecology aligns with the selected effect theory of function advocated by many philosophers of biology (sometimes called “The Standard Line” on functions). After exploring the implications of Wilson and Sober’s defence of multilevel selection for the prospects of defending a (...)
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  18.  79
    L’écocentrisme et ses appels normatifs à la nature : sont-ils nécessairement fallacieux ?Antoine C. Dussault - 2013 - In É Litalien (ed.), Peut-on tirer une éthique de l'étude de la nature ? Les Cahiers d'Ithaque. pp. 43-76.
  19.  75
    Le rôle de la science dans l'écocentrisme humien de Callicott.Antoine C. Dussault - 2010 - Revue Phares 10:103-123.
    Dans cet article, je présenterai la stratégie adoptée par J. B. Callicott pour ancrer l’écocentrisme dans les sciences biologiques et écologiques tout en restant en accord avec la méta-éthique humienne selon laquelle on ne peut directement inférer un jugement portant sur le devoir-être à partir d'un jugement portant sur l'être. Je le ferai en rappelant d’abord quelques caractéristiques importantes de la méta-éthique humienne quant à la relation entre la raison, les émotions et les jugements de valeur. Je montrerai ensuite comment (...)
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  20.  41
    Natural Food.Antoine C. Dussault & Élise Desaulniers - forthcoming - In Paul B. Thompson & David M. Kaplan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Springer.
  21. Does the study of facilitation require a revision of the Hutchinsonian niche concept?Antoine C. Dussault - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (2):1-22.
    This paper revisits the debate over whether the study of facilitation requires ecologists to revise their understanding of the relationship between realized and fundamental niches as conceptualized by Hutchinson. Following Rodriguez-Cabal et al., I argue against Bruno et al.’s claim that facilitation can make a species’ realized niche larger than its fundamental niche. However, I also maintain that the abstract Hutchinsonian conceptualization of the niche makes a whole range of facilitative interactions—which I propose to call ameliorative facilitation—invisible to niche-based approaches (...)
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