Ecological Investigations: A Phenomenology of Habitats, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ecological Investigations

A Phenomenology of Habitats, 1st Edition

By Adam C. Konopka


180 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138300378
pub: 2019-09-09
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These investigations identify and clarify some basic assumptions and methodological principles involved in ecological explanations of plant associations. How are plants geographically distributed into characteristic groups? What are the basic conditions that organize groups of interspecific plant populations that are characteristic of particular kinds of habitats? Answers to these questions concerning the geographical distribution of plants in late 19th century European plant geography and early 20th century American plant ecology can be distinguished according to differing logical assumptions concerning the habitats of plant associations. Through an analysis of several significant case studies in the early history of plant ecology, Konopka distinguishes a logic of habitats that conceives of plant associations in an analogy to individual organisms with a logic that conceives of plant associations in a reciprocal relation to habitat physiography. He argues that a phenomenological conception of the logical attributes of habitats can philosophically complement the physiographic tradition in early plant ecology and provide an attractive alternative to standard reductionism and holism debates that persist today. This wide ranging and original analysis will be valuable for readers interested in the history and philosophy of ecology.

Table of Contents


Introduction: On the Empirical and Logical Foundations of Ecology

1. Varieties of Succession: A Genealogy of Early 20th Century Plant Ecology

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Freshwater Sand Dune Succession

1.3 The Logic of Plant Associations in Cowles’ Account of Dune Succession

1.4 Nebraska Prairie Succession

1.5 The Logic of Plant Associations in Clements’ Account of Prairie Succession

1.6 Inland Lake Succession

1.7 The Logic of Habitat Associations in Lindeman’s Account of Lake Succession

1.8 Conclusion

2. Logics of Habitat Fitness: A Genealogy of 19th Century Plant Geography

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Humboldt’s Physionomic Logic of Habitats

2.3 Warming’s Physiological Logic of Habitats

2.4 Conclusion

3. Kant’s Account of Organic Form: A Phenomenological Critique

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Kant’s Indispensibility Thesis

3.3 Kant’s Antinomy of Judgment

3.4 Mechanistic Explanations of Material Objects

3.5 Purposive Explanations of Animate Material Objects

3.6 Kant’s Resolution of the Antinomy

3.7 Kant’s Account of Unity in Critique of Pure Reason

3.8 Schemata in the Critique of Pure Reason

3.9 Schemata in the Critique of Judgment

3.10 Clarifications: Two Levels of Conceptualization

3.11 Unified Manifolds in General: Identity or Synthesis

3.12 Self-Organizing Manifolds: A Logic of Sense

3.13 Conclusion: Functional Analysis in Proximate Explanations

4. Husserl’s Logic of Fitness: Parts, Wholes, and Phenomenological Necessity

4.1 Introduction

4.2 The Problem of Necessity and Pure Logic

4.3 Parts, Wholes, and Necessary Fitness

4.4 Multi-level Generalizations

4.5 The Distinction Between Analytic and Synthetic Necessity

4.6 Correlational A priori and Intentionality

4.7 The A priori Bound to the Empirical and the Problem of Necessity

4.8 Conclusion: The Problem of Ecological Emergence

5. Environing Places and Geometric Space

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Newtonian Absolute Space and the Critique of Relative Rotational Movement

5.3 Pre-reflective Self-Awareness of the Lived Body

5.4 Kinaesthetic Sensations and Objectivity

5.5 Kinaesthetic Sensations and Habitat Situations

5.6 Motion and Relational Location

5.7 Idealization of Objective Space

5.8 Conclusion: On the Limitations of Objective Space



About the Author

Adam Konopka teaches in the philosophy department at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA). His research interests are primarily in phenomenology and the philosophy of science. He has published several articles in journals such as the New Yearbook in Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy, Ethics, Policy, Environment, and Environmental Ethics.

About the Series

History and Philosophy of Biology

This series explores significant developments in the life sciences from historical and philosophical perspectives. Historical episodes include Aristotelian biology, Greek and Islamic biology and medicine, Renaissance biology, natural history, Darwinian evolution, Nineteenth-century physiology and cell theory, Twentieth-century genetics, ecology, and systematics, and the biological theories and practices of non-Western perspectives. Philosophical topics include individuality, reductionism and holism, fitness, levels of selection, mechanism and teleology, and the nature-nurture debates, as well as explanation, confirmation, inference, experiment, scientific practice, and models and theories vis-à-vis the biological sciences.

Authors are also invited to inquire into the "and" of this series. How has, does, and will the history of biology impact philosophical understandings of life? How can philosophy help us analyze the historical contingency of, and structural constraints on, scientific knowledge about biological processes and systems? In probing the interweaving of history and philosophy of biology, scholarly investigation could usefully turn to values, power, and potential future uses and abuses of biological knowledge.

The scientific scope of the series includes evolutionary theory, environmental sciences, genomics, molecular biology, systems biology, biotechnology, biomedicine, race and ethnicity, and sex and gender. These areas of the biological sciences are not silos, and tracking their impact on other sciences such as psychology, economics, and sociology, and the behavioral and human sciences more generally, is also within the purview of this series.

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and Visiting Scholar of Philosophy at Stanford University (2015-2016). He works in the philosophy of science and philosophy of biology and has strong interests in metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy, in addition to cartography and GIS, cosmology and particle physics, psychological and cognitive science, and science in general. Recent publications include "The Structure of Scientific Theories," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and "Race and Biology," The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race. His book with University of Chicago Press, When Maps Become the World, is forthcoming.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General