Ecological Paradigms Lost, 1st Edition

Routes of Theory Change

Ecological Paradigms Lost, 1st Edition,Beatrix Beisner,ISBN9780120884599
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K Cuddington   

Academic Press




229 X 152

A new perspective on some of the major theoretical threads in ecology

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Key Features

* Reflection on the past and future of ecology
* A historical overview of major ideas in the field of ecology
* Pairing of historical views by ecologists along with a philosophical commentary directed at the practicing scientists` views by a philosopher of science.
* Historical analysis by practicing ecologists including anectodal experiences that are rarely recorded.
* Based on a very popular symposium at the 2002 Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Tucson, AZ.


This edited volume in the Theoretical Ecology series addresses the historical development and evolution of theoretical ideas in the field of ecology. Not only does it recount the history of the discipline by practitioners of the science of ecology, it includes commentary on these historical reflections by philosophers of science. Even though the theories discussed are, in many cases, are at the forefront of research, the language and approach make this material accessible to non-theoreticians. The book is structured in 5 major sections including population ecology, epidemiology, community ecology, evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology. In each section a chapter by an eminent, experienced ecologist is complemented by analysis from a newer, cutting-edge researcher.


practicing ecologists, to philosophers of science, and to anyone interested in the history of ecology

Beatrix Beisner

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Quebec at Montreal, Department of Biological Sciences, Canada

Ecological Paradigms Lost, 1st Edition

1. Why a History of Ecology: An Introduction
Beatrix E. Beisner and Kim Cuddington
Part I
2. Unstructured Models in Ecology: Past, Present and Future
3.Unstructured population models: Do population-level assumptions yield general theory?
4. The “Structure” of Population Ecology: Philosophical Reflections on Unstructured and Structured Models

Part II
5. The Law of Mass Action in Epidemiology: A Historical Perspective
6. Extensions to Mass Action Mixing
7. Mass Action and System Analysis of Infection Transmission

Part III
8. Community Diversity and Stability: Changing Perspectives and Changing Definitions
9. Perspectives on Diversity, Structure and Stability
10. Diversity and Stability: Theories, Models and Data

Part IV
11. On the Integration of Community Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Historical Perspectives and Current Prospects
12. Modeling the ecological context of evolutionary change: déjà vu or something new?
13. The Elusive Synthesis

Part V
14. The Loss of Narrative
15. Ecological Management: Control, Uncertainty and Understanding
16. Is Ecosystem Management a Postmodern Science?
Kevin de Laplante

Part VI
17. Kuhnian Paradigms Lost: Embracing the pluralism of ecological theory

Quotes and reviews

"Finally, here is a book taking ecology seriously enough also to investigate it from a philosophy of science point of view, and in particular taking a Kuhnian entrance point as also indicated by the exciting book and an interesting idea to view our science as Kuhn would have done...highly recommended."
- Soren Nors Nielsen, Danmarks Farmaceutiske Universitet

"Each section of Ecological Paradigms Lost certainly has something to offer the specialist."
- Joseph Craine, Unviersity of Minnesota, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, in BIOSCIENCE

"The editors of this volume commissioned papers by eminent ecologists, young and old, on theory development and cahnge in five subfields- population, epidemiological, community, evolutionary, and ecosystem ecology- and papers from philosophers of science commenting on the scientists' conclusions...a better perspective on ecology's past and, possibly, its future."
- Thomas R. Dunlap, Texas A&M University, Department of History, in ECOLOGY
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