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The Aim and Structure of Ecological Theory

Marcel Weber
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 66, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 71-93
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188738
Page Count: 23
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The Aim and Structure of Ecological Theory
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Abstract

I present an attempt at an explication of the ecological theory of interspecific competition, including its explanatory role in community ecology and evolutionary biology. The account given is based on the idea that law-like statements play an important role in scientific theories of this kind. I suggest that the principle of competitive exclusion is such a law, and that it is evolutionarily invariant. The principle's empirical status is defended and implications for the ongoing debates on the existence of biological laws are discussed.

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