For this essay, you must locate an ecological case study from a journal either specializing in ecology or conservation biology, or an article from a general science journal covering those topics, and use that to illustrate one of the philosophical issues discussed in the first 6 lectures. You must also critically analyze the issue illustrated.
You should select 1 question from the set below.
1) Are high level ecological theories testable?
2) What is the relationship between theory and field-work in ecology (and what should it be)?
3) Do ecological models count as ‘laws’, and does it matter?
4) What can bottle experiments tell us about real-world ecological systems?
5) If ecology is a ‘model-based’ science, what should we say about the nature of confirmation in ecology?
6) If scientific explanation is causal, is this problematic for models?
7) What is the model – world relationship? (description? Fictional resemblance?)
8) Are the explanations of models necessary or should we take a pragmatist position?
9) Are communities (or ecosystems) real objects, or are they just idealizations in our models?
10) On what criteria should we decide whether high-level ecological phenomena are scientifically interesting?
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