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Multifaceted Ecology Between Organicism, Emergentism and Reductionism

In A. Schwarz & K. Jax (eds.), Ecology Revisited. Reflecting on Concepts, Advancing Science. Springer. pp. 31-43 (2011)

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  1. “Organismic” positions in early German-speaking ecology and its (almost) forgotten dissidents.Kurt Jax - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (4):1-31.
    In early German ecology, the key concept used to refer to a synecological unit was Biozönose. Taken together with the concept of the Biotop, it was also understood as an integrated higher-order unit of life, sometimes called a “Holozön”. These units were often perceived as having properties similar to those of individual organisms, and they informed the mainstream of German ecology until at least the late 1960s. Here I ask how “organismic” these concepts really were and what conceptual problems they (...)
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  • 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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  • Ecology, Evolution, Ethics: In Search of a Meta-Paradigm – An Introduction.Donato Bergandi - 2013 - In The Structural Links Between Ecology, Evolution and Ethics: The Virtuous Epistemic Circle. Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer. pp. 1-28.
    Evolutionary, ecological and ethical studies are, at the same time, specific scientific disciplines and, from an historical point of view, structurally linked domains of research. In a context of environmental crisis, the need is increasingly emerging for a connecting epistemological framework able to express a common or convergent tendency of thought and practice aimed at building, among other things, an environmental policy management respectful of the planet’s biodiversity and its evolutionary potential.
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  • Natural Selection Among Replicators, Interactors and Transactors.Donato Bergandi - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (2):213-238.
    In evolutionary biology and ecology, ontological and epistemological perspectives based on the replicator and the interactor have become the background that makes it possible to transcend traditional biological levels of organization and to achieve a unified view of evolution in which replication and interaction are fundamental operating processes. Using the transactional perspective proposed originally by John Dewey and Arthur Fisher Bentley, a new ontological and methodological category is proposed here: the transactor. The transactional perspective, based on the concept of the (...)
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