Biological Laws: Analogies and Allometries

The question of whether there are laws in ecology is important for a number of reasons. If, as some have suggested, there are no ecological laws, this would seem to distinguish ecology from other branches of science, such as physics. It could also make a difference to the methodology of ecology. If there are no laws to be discovered, ecologists would seem to be in the business of merely supplying a suite of useful models. In this project we look at metabolic allometries as candidates for ecological laws. We offer a defence of the view that analogical reasoning is a legitimate form of reasoning in science, and that such reasoning forms the basis for a good case that the various allometries are indeed ecological laws.

This project is funded by the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.

Research Team:
Mark Colyvan (Philosophy, University of Sydney)
Lev Ginzburg (Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, USA)
John Damuth (Biology, UC Santa Barbara, USA)