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  1. Invasive species and natural function in ecology.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9315-9333.
    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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  • 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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  • Reciprocal Causation and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.Andrew Buskell - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (4):267-279.
    Kevin Laland and colleagues have put forward a number of arguments motivating an extended evolutionary synthesis. Here I examine Laland et al.'s central concept of reciprocal causation. Reciprocal causation features in many arguments supporting an expanded evolutionary framework, yet few of these arguments are clearly delineated. Here I clarify the concept and make explicit three arguments in which it features. I identify where skeptics can—and are—pushing back against these arguments, and highlight what I see as the empirical, explanatory, and methodological (...)
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  • 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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