© 2000

Holism and Reductionism in Biology and Ecology

The Mutual Dependence of Higher and Lower Level Research Programmes


Part of the Episteme book series (EPIS, volume 23)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XXI
  2. Reduction and Co-Operation in Biology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Rick C. Looijen
      Pages 3-24
    3. Rick C. Looijen
      Pages 25-41
    4. Rick C. Looijen
      Pages 43-61
    5. Rick C. Looijen
      Pages 107-136
  3. Reduction and Co-Operation in Ecology

  4. Epilogue

    1. Rick C. Looijen
      Pages 301-306
  5. Erratum

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 307-350

About this book


Holism and reductionism are traditionally seen as incompatible views or approaches to nature. Here Looijen argues that they should rather be seen as mutually dependent and hence co-operating research programmes. He sheds some interesting new light on the emergence thesis, its relation to the reduction thesis, and on the role and status of functional explanations in biology. He discusses several examples of reduction in both biology and ecology, showing the mutual dependence of holistic and reductionist research programmes. Ecologists are offered separate chapters, clarifying some major, yet highly and controversial ecological concepts, such as `community', `habitat', and `niche'. The book is the first in-depth study of the philosophy of ecology.
Readership: Specialists in the philosophy of science, especially the philosophy of biology, biologists and ecologists interested in the philosophy of their discipline. Also of interest to other scientists concerned with the holism-reductionism issue.


Seen biogeography biology ecology philosophy philosophy of biology philosophy of science reduction science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of GroningenThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Holism and Reductionism in Biology and Ecology
  • Book Subtitle The Mutual Dependence of Higher and Lower Level Research Programmes
  • Authors Rick C. Looijen
  • Series Title Episteme
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2000
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-7923-6076-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-5364-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-015-9560-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXII, 352
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Biology
    Philosophy of Science
    Evolutionary Biology
    Plant Ecology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site