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Stephen Andrew Inkpen
Harvard University
  1. When Ecology Needs Economics and Economics Needs Ecology: Interdisciplinary Exchange During the Anthropocene.S. Andrew Inkpen & C. Tyler DesRoches - 2020 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 23 (2):203-221.
    ABSTRACT Evidence that humans play a dominant role in most ecosystems forces scientists to confront systems that contain factors transgressing traditional disciplinary boundaries. However, it is an open question whether this state of affairs should encourage interdisciplinary exchange or integration. With two case studies, we show that exchange between ecologists and economists is preferable, for epistemological and policy-oriented reasons, to their acting independently. We call this “exchange gain.” Our case studies show that theoretical exchanges can be less disruptive to current (...)
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    Mutationism, Not Lamarckism, Captures the Novelty of CRISPR–Cas.Jeremy G. Wideman, S. Andrew Inkpen, W. Ford Doolittle & Rosemary J. Redfield - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (1):12.
    Koonin, in an article in this issue, claims that CRISPR–Cas systems are mechanisms for the inheritance of acquired adaptive characteristics, and that the operation of such systems comprises a “Lamarckian mode of evolution.” We argue that viewing the CRISPR–Cas mechanism as facilitating a form of “directed mutation” more accurately represents how the system behaves and the history of neoDarwinian thinking, and is to be preferred.
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  3. Revamping the Image of Science for the Anthropocene.S. Andrew Inkpen & C. Tyler DesRoches - 2019 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 11.
    In 2016, a multidisciplinary body of scholars within the International Commission on Stratigraphy—the Anthropocene Working Group—recommended that the world officially recognize the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch. The most contested claim about the Anthropocene, that humans are a major geological and environmental force on par with natural forces, has proven to be a hotbed for discussion well beyond the science of geology. One reason for this is that it compels many natural and social scientists to confront problems and systems (...)
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  4.  19
    Are Humans Disturbing Conditions in Ecology?S. Andrew Inkpen - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (1):51-71.
    In this paper I argue, first, that ecologists have routinely treated humans—or more specifically, anthropogenic causal factors—as disturbing conditions. I define disturbing conditions as exogenous variables, variables “outside” a model, that when present in a target system, inhibit the applicability or accuracy of the model. This treatment is surprising given that humans play a dominant role in many ecosystems and definitions of ecology contain no fundamental distinction between human and natural. Second, I argue that the treatment of humans as disturbing (...)
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    The Coupling of Taxonomy and Function in Microbiomes.S. Andrew Inkpen, Gavin M. Douglas, T. D. P. Brunet, Karl Leuschen, W. Ford Doolittle & Morgan G. I. Langille - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1225-1243.
    Microbiologists are transitioning from the study and characterization of individual strains or species to the profiling of whole microbiomes and microbial ecology. Equipped with high-throughput methods for studying the taxonomic and functional characteristics of diverse samples, they are just beginning to encounter the conceptual, theoretical, and experimental problems of comparing taxonomy to function, and extracting useful measures from such comparisons. Although still unresolved, these problems are well studied in macro-ecology and are reiterated here as an historical precautionary for microbial ecologists. (...)
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    Demarcating Nature, Defining Ecology: Creating a Rationale for the Study of Nature’s “Primitive Conditions”.S. Andrew Inkpen - 2017 - Perspectives on Science 25 (3):355-392.
    The relationship of man himself to his environment is an inseparable part of ecology; for he also is an organism and other organisms are a part of his environment. Ecology, therefore, broadly conceived and rightly understood, instead of being an academic science merely, out of touch with humanistic interests, is really that part of every other biological science which brings it into immediate relation to human kind. The proper place of humans in ecological study has been a recurring issue for (...)
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    Like Hercules and the Hydra: Trade-Offs and Strategies in Ecological Model-Building and Experimental Design.S. Andrew Inkpen - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:34-43.
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  8.  19
    Adaptive Regeneration Across Scales: Replicators and Interactors From Limbs to Forests.S. Andrew Inkpen & W. Ford Doolittle - 2021 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 13:1-14.
    Here we endorse Hull’s replicator/interactor framework as providing the overarching understanding sought by MacCord and Maienschein. We suggest that difficulties in seeing the regeneration of limbs by salamanders and of forest ecosystems after fires as similar evolutionary processes can be overcome in this framework. In generalizing Dawkins’s “selfish gene” perspective, Hull defined natural selection as “a process in which the differential extinction and proliferation of interactors causes the differential perpetuation of the replicators that produced them”. Although genes and bacteria are (...)
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    Adaptive Regeneration Across Scales: Replicators and Interactors From Limbs to Forests.S. Andrew Inkpen & W. Ford Doolittle - 2021 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 13.
    Diverse living systems possess the capacity for regeneration; that is, they can under some circumstances repair, re-produce, and maintain themselves in the face of disturbance or damage. Think of systems as diverse as forests, microbial biofilms, corals, salamanders, hydra, and human skin cells. This capacity is fundamental to life—without it, many biological systems would be too fragile to cope with stress and would frequently collapse—but because it is multiply realized in wildly different living systems at many scales, finding a common (...)
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