PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Complex Experiments: Using agent-based models to provide causal insight into ecological community structure.

Understanding causal complexity in ecological communities has been of interest to ecologists since the inception of the discipline. In this paper, I provide insights from within current ecological practice to show how agent-based models (aka individual-based models) offer a way of grappling with ecological complexity that yield theoretical insights. These models can be understood as a particular type of generalization based on pattern formation. These methods focus on bottom-up dispositions and propensities that draw on the ‘logic of the situation,’ and may be a productive approach for exploring community processes like species assembly rules and other aspects of community ecology.

Author Information:

Steven L Peck    
Biology
Brigham Young University

 

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