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Christopher Lean [6]Christopher Hunter Lean [4]
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Christopher Lean
University of Sydney
  1.  73
    The Evolution of Failure: Explaining Cancer as an Evolutionary Process.Christopher Lean & Anya Plutynski - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):39-57.
    One of the major developments in cancer research in recent years has been the construction of models that treat cancer as a cellular population subject to natural selection. We expand on this idea, drawing upon multilevel selection theory. Cancer is best understood in our view from a multilevel perspective, as both a by-product of selection at other levels of organization, and as subject to selection at several levels of organization. Cancer is a by-product in two senses. First, cancer cells co-opt (...)
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  2. 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.
  3.  8
    Can Communities Cause?Christopher Hunter Lean - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):59.
    Lynch et al. propose an extremely useful framework to assess microbiome research. By utilising advances in the causation literature, they argue that many of the claims in microbiome research are ‘weak or misleading’ as these claims lack stability, specificity, or proportionality. In the final paragraph before the conclusion they entertain and rapidly dismiss the ‘ecological version’ of microbiomes, in which microbiome properties are emergent from their constituent populations and can fulfil Koch’s postulates. I assess the possibility of microbiomes having emergent (...)
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  4.  51
    Indexically Structured Ecological Communities.Christopher Lean - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):501-522.
    Ecological communities are seldom, if ever, biological individuals. They lack causal boundaries as the populations that constitute communities are not congruent and rarely have persistent functional roles regulating the communities’ higher-level properties. Instead we should represent ecological communities indexically, by identifying ecological communities via the network of weak causal interactions between populations that unfurl from a starting set of populations. This precisification of ecological communities helps identify how community properties remain invariant, and why they have robust characteristics. This respects the (...)
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  5. The Value of Phylogenetic Diversity.Christopher Lean & James Maclaurin - 2016 - In P. Grandcolas (ed.), Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics. Springer.
    This chapter explores the idea that phylogenetic diversity plays a unique role in underpinning conservation endeavour. The conservation of biodiversity is suffering from a rapid, unguided proliferation of metrics. Confusion is caused by the wide variety of contexts in which we make use of the idea of biodiversity. Characterisations of biodiversity range from all-variety-at-all-levels down to variety with respect to single variables relevant to very specific conservation contexts. Accepting biodiversity as the sum of a large number of individual measures results (...)
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  6.  24
    Biodiversity Realism: Preserving the Tree of Life.Christopher Lean - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1083-1103.
    Biodiversity is a key concept in the biological sciences. While it has its origin in conservation biology, it has become useful across multiple biological disciplines as a means to describe biological variation. It remains, however, unclear what particular biological units the concept refers to. There are currently multiple accounts of which biological features constitute biodiversity and how these are to be measured. In this paper, I draw from the species concept debate to argue for a set of desiderata for the (...)
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  7. Ecological Kinds and the Units of Conservation.Christopher Lean - 2018 - Dissertation, The Australian National University
    Conservation has often been conducted with the implicit internalization of Aldo Leopold’s claim: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community.” This position has been found to be problematic as ecological science has not vindicated the ecological community as an entity which can be stable or coherent. Ecological communities do not form natural kinds, and this has forced ecological scientists to explain ecology in a different manner. Individualist approaches to ecological (...)
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  8. General Unificatory Theories in Community Ecology.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2019 - Philosophical Topics 47 (1):125-142.
    The question of whether there are laws of nature in ecology has developed substantially in the last 20 years. Many have attempted to rehabilitate ecology’s lawlike status through establishing that ecology possesses laws that robustly appear across many different ecological systems. I argue that there is still something missing, which explains why so many have been skeptical of ecology’s lawlike status. Community ecology has struggled to establish what I call a General Unificatory Theory. The lack of a GUT causes problems (...)
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  9.  11
    Invasive Species and Natural Function in Ecology.Christopher Hunter Lean - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    If ecological systems are functionally organised, they can possess functions or malfunctions. Natural function would provide justification for conservationists to act for the protection of current ecological arrangements and control the presence of populations that create ecosystem malfunctions. Invasive species are often thought to be malfunctional for ecosystems, so functional arrangement would provide an objective reason for their control. Unfortunately for this prospect, I argue no theory of function, which can support such normative conclusions, can be applied to large scale (...)
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  10.  9
    Why Wake the Dead? Identity and De-Extinction.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2020 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 33 (3-6):571-589.
    I will entertain and reject three arguments which putatively establish that the individuals produced through de-extinction ought to be the same species as the extinct population. Forms of these arguments have appeared previously in restoration ecology. The first is the weakest, the conceptual argument, that de-extinction will not be de-extinction if it does not re-create an extinct species. This is misguided as de-extinction technology is not unified by its aim to re-create extinct species but in its use of the remnants (...)
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