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Ecological Stability, Model Building, and Environmental Policy: A Reply to Some of the Pessimism

Jay Odenbaugh
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 68, No. 3, Supplement: Proceedings of the 2000 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part I: Contributed Papers (Sep., 2001), pp. S493-S505
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3080968
Page Count: 13
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Ecological Stability, Model Building, and Environmental Policy: A Reply to Some of the Pessimism
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Abstract

Recently, there has been a rise in pessimism concerning what theoretical ecology can offer conservation biologists in the formation of reasonable environmental policies. In this paper, I look at one of the pessimistic arguments offered by Kristin Shrader-Frechette and E. D. McCoy (1993, 1994)-the argument from conceptual imprecision. I suggest that their argument rests on an inadequate account of the concepts of ecological stability and that there has been conceptual progress with respect to complexity-stability hypotheses. Such progress, I maintain, can supply important resources for conservation biologists in determining environmental policies.

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