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Christopher H. Eliot
Hofstra University
  1. The Legend of Order and Chaos: Communities and Early Community Ecology.Christopher H. Eliot - 2011 - In Kevin deLaplante, Bryson Browne & Kent A. Peacock (eds.), Philosophy of Ecology. Elsevier. pp. 49--108.
    A community, for ecologists, is a unit for discussing collections of organisms. It refers to collections of populations, which consist (by definition) of individuals of a single species. This is straightforward. But communities are unusual kinds of objects, if they are objects at all. They are collections consisting of other diverse, scattered, partly-autonomous, dynamic entities (that is, animals, plants, and other organisms). They often lack obvious boundaries or stable memberships, as their constituent populations not only change but also move in (...)
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  2. Competition Theory and Channeling Explanation.Christopher H. Eliot - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604):1-16.
    The complexity and heterogeneity of causes influencing ecology’s domain challenge its capacity to generate a general theory without exceptions, raising the question of whether ecology is capable, even in principle, of achieving the sort of theoretical success enjoyed by physics. Weber has argued that competition theory built around the Competitive Exclusion Principle (especially Tilman’s resource-competition model) offers an example of ecology identifying a law-like causal regularity. However, I suggest that as Weber presents it, the CEP is not yet a causal (...)
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    Ecological Interdependence Via Constraints.Christopher H. Eliot - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (5):1115-1126.
    Although ecological theory has historically focused on negative interactions among populations, like competition and predation, ecologists and conservation biologists highlight the significance of interdependence. It is not clear, however, what is asserted in the causal hypothesis that one population is interdependent on others. This essay argues that the most informative causal regularities for representing dependencies are those connecting populations through environmental constraint variables. Interdependence among populations can thus be understood as constraint-mediated dependency relations connected in a circuit.
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    Hempel’s Provisos and Ceteris Paribus Clauses.Christopher H. Eliot - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):207-218.
    The problem of ceteris paribus clauses and Hempel’s problem of provisos are closely-related difficulties. Both challenge advocates of accounts of scientific theories involving laws understood as universal generalizations, and they have been treated as identical problems. Earman and Roberts argue that the problems are distinct. Towards arguing against them, I characterize the relationship between Hempel’s provisos and one way of expressing ceteris paribus clauses. I then describe the relationship between the problems attributed to the clauses, suggesting that they form a (...)
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    Biodiversity as a General, Scientific Concept.Christopher H. Eliot - 2015 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (1):41-43.
    Morar et al. argue that justifications for conservation based on assessments of biodiversity are vacuous, because ‘biodiversity’ is a flawed concept. However, their analysis of the concept mistakes how scientific concepts function. The concept ‘biodiversity’ stands up to their criticisms.
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