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Perspectives on Natural Philosophy
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Dimensions Missing from Ecology

1
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Solomons, MD 20688, USA
2
Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Philosophies 2018, 3(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3030024
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Ecology, with its emphasis on coupled processes and massive heterogeneity, is not amenable to complete mechanical reduction, which is frustrated for reasons of history, dimensionality, logic, insufficiency, and contingency. Physical laws are not violated, but can only constrain, not predict. Outcomes are predicated instead by autocatalytic configurations, which emerge as stable temporal series of incorporated contingencies. Ecosystem organization arises out of agonism between autocatalytic selection and entropic dissolution. A degree of disorganization, inefficiency, and functional redundancy must be retained by all living systems to ensure flexibility in the face of novel disturbances. That physical and biological dynamics exhibit significant incongruencies argues for the formulation of alternative metaphysical assumptions, referred to here as “Process Ecology”. View Full-Text
Keywords: agonism; apophasis; autocatalysis; centripetality; contingency; endogenous selection; heterogeneity; indeterminacy; process agonism; apophasis; autocatalysis; centripetality; contingency; endogenous selection; heterogeneity; indeterminacy; process
MDPI and ACS Style

Ulanowicz, R.E. Dimensions Missing from Ecology. Philosophies 2018, 3, 24.

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