The Philosophical Foundations

  • John H. Perkins


We are now ready to reconstruct the philosophical foundations of entomology since 1945. Of particular importance are the presuppositions and concepts that were fundamental components of each of the major paradigms: Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Total Population Management (TPM), and chemical control.


Natural World Pest Control Integrate Pest Management Pest Species Philosophical Foundation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference Notes

  1. 1.
    Robert L. Zimdahl, a weed scientist at Colorado State University, has given some thought to the value questions implicit in the use of pesticides [Pesticides—a value question, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 18 (1972): 109–110]. He has also argued independently of this work that a “pesticide paradigm” was operative in the pest control sciences after World War II [The pesticide paradigm, Bull. Entomol Soc. Am. 24 (1978): 357–360]. Zimdahl’s “pesticide paradigm” is similar to what I call the “chemical control paradigm.” Boysie E. Day, a weed scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, has also noted that value judgments have heavily influenced the argument over pesticides and pest control [The axiology of pest control, Agrichemical Age (June, 1976): 5–6].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    An excellent statement of the mode of operation of entomologists working within the chemical control paradigm can be found in C. L. Metcalf, W. P. Flint, and R. L. Metcalf, Destructive and Useful Insects, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., Inc., 1951), pp. 1–76, 255–386.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Clay Lyle, Achievements and possibilities in pest eradication, J. Econ. Entomol. 40 (1947): 1–8.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    E.F. Knipling, personal communication, Nov. 10, 1978.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For example, see J. J. Linduska, Evaluation of soil systemics for control of Colorado potato beetle on tomatoes in Maryland,J. Econ. Entomol. 71 (1978): 647–649.Google Scholar
  6. 5a.
    C. R. Harris, H. J. Svec, and R. A. Chapman, Potential of pyrethroid insecticides for cutworm control, J. Econ. Entomol. 71 (1978): 692–696.Google Scholar
  7. 5b.
    R. W. Staub and A. C. Davis, Onion maggot: Evaluation of insecticides for production of onions in muck soils, J. Econ. Entomol. 71 (1978): 684–686.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    V. M. Stern, R. F. Smith, R. van den Bosch, and K. S. Hagen, The integrated control concept, Hilgardia 29 (1959): 81–85.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    F. Wilson and C. B. Huffaker, “The philosophy, scope and importance of biological control,” in Theory and Practice of Biological Control, C. B. Huffaker and P. S. Messenger, eds. (New York: Academic Press, 1976), p. 4.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    R. F. Smith, J. L. Apple, and D. G. Bottrell, “The origin of integrated pest management concepts for agriculatureal crops,” in Integrated Pest Management, J. L. Apple and R. F. Smith, eds. (New York: Plenum Press, 1976), p. 12.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Robert van den Bosch, The Pesticide Conspiracy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1978), p. 12 (hereafter cited as van den Bosch, Pesticide Conspiracy). Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    E. F. Knipling, Some basic principles in insect population suppression, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 12 (1966): 7–15.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    E. F. Knipling, Eradication of plant pests—pro, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 24 (1978): 44–52.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    R. F. Smith, C. B. Huffaker, P. L. Adkisson, and L. D. Newsom, Progress achieved in the implementation of integrated control projects in the USA and tropical countries, EPPO Bull. 4 (1974): 221–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 13.
    For examples of recent discussions on the question of the rights of nature see E. F. Murphy, Has nature any right to life, Hastings Law J. 22 (1971): 467–484.Google Scholar
  16. 13a.
    Charles Hartshorne, The rights of the subhuman world, Environ. Ethics 1 (1979): 49–60.Google Scholar
  17. 13b.
    J. Baird Callicott, Elements of an environmental ethic: Moral considerability and the biotic community, Environ. Ethics 1 (1979): 71–81.Google Scholar
  18. 13c.
    Richard A. Watson, Self-consciousness and the rights of nonhuman animals and nature, Environ. Ethics 1 (1979): 99–129. See also Footnote 20.Google Scholar
  19. 14.
    E. F. Knipling, Advances in technology for insect population eradication and suppression, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 24 (1978): 44–52.Google Scholar
  20. 15.
    L. D. Newsom, Eradication of plant pests—con, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 24 (1978): 35–40; idem, Personal interview, June 1–2, 1978.Google Scholar
  21. 16.
    Paul DeBach, Some ecological aspects of insect eradication, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 10 (1964): 221–224.Google Scholar
  22. 17.
    Robert L. Rabb, Eradication of plant pests—con, Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 24 (1978): 40–44.Google Scholar
  23. 18.
    Robert L. Metclaf, Personal communication, Sept. 22, 1978.Google Scholar
  24. 19.
    Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1962), p. 297 (hereafter cited as Carson, Silent Spring). Google Scholar
  25. 20.
    Carson’s three earlier works (Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea) were collected into one volume, The Sea (London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1964), 611 pp. In this volume see p. 20 for Carson’s notion that man could not dominate the oceans, in contrast to his behavior on land. She had an appreciation for the eternal duration of the oceans that approached an eschatological mood (see p. 200). Carson viewed life in and around the sea as an indomitable, purposeful force (pp. 400, 576).Google Scholar
  26. 21.
    Donald Worster, Nature’s Economy (Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1979), p. 5 (hereafter cited as Worster, Nature’s Economy). Google Scholar
  27. 22.
    Henry David Thoreau, Waiden and Other Writings (New York: Modern Library, 1937), pp. vii-xx, introduction by Brooks Atkinson; Worster, Nature’s Economy, p. 58–111.Google Scholar
  28. 23.
    Theodore Roszak, Person/Planet (Garden City, New York: Anchor Press, 1979), 347 pp.Google Scholar
  29. 24.
    Carson, Silent Spring, pp. 277–296.Google Scholar
  30. 25.
    van den Bosch, Pesticide Conspiracy. Google Scholar
  31. 26.
    Jaime L. Whitten, That We May Live (Princeton: D. van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1966), 251 pp. See especially pp. 46–47, 55–56.Google Scholar
  32. 27.
    Jaime L. Whitten, That We May Live (Princeton: D. van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1966), p. 215.Google Scholar
  33. 28.
    Charles G. Scruggs, “The will to win,” in Boll Weevil Suppression, Management, and Elimination Technology (Proceedings of a conference, Feb. 13–15, 1974, Memphis, Tenn.) ARS-S-71 (Washington, D.C.: USDA, 1976), p. 129 (hereafter cited as ARS, Suppression). Scruggs also wrote a book celebrating the triumph of the sterile male technique over the screwworm fly [The Peaceful Atom and the Deadly Fly (Austin, Texas: Jenkins Pub. Co., The Pemberton Press, 1975), 311 pp.]. Scruggs took an active role in launching a sterile male program in Texas and its later expansion to all of Mexico.Google Scholar
  34. 29.
    Worster, Nature’s Economy, pp. 185, 274.Google Scholar
  35. 30.
    Testimony of Linda M. Billings, U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Pest Control Research, Hearings, on S. 1794, 92d Cong., 1st sess., 1971, p. 163.Google Scholar
  36. 31.
    See, for example, John Muir, Our National Parks (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1901), pp. 1–36.Google Scholar
  37. 32.
    Thaddeus William Harris, A Treatise on some of the Insects of New England which Are Injurious to Vegetation, 2nd ed. (Boston: White and Potter, 1852), pp. 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 33.
    William H. Luckmann and Robert L. Metcalf, “The pest-management concept,” in Introduction to Insect Pest Management, Robert L. Metcalf and William H. Luckmann, eds. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975), p. 4 (hereafter cited as Metcalf and Luckmann, eds., Introduction). Google Scholar
  39. 34.
    J. C. Headley and J. N. Lewis, The Pesticide Problem: An Economic Approach to Public Policy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1967), 141 pp. Headley and Lewis approached the problem of pesticides from the point of view of welfare economics. They touched on the problem of pest control as a component of a technological production system but did not delve deeply into the social and political implications of altering the system by changing public policy on pesticides. Headley later elaborated on the problems of measuring cost/benefit ratios in pest control [Economics of agricultural pest control, Annu. Rev. Entomol 17 (1972): 273–286]. Earlier he had estimated that farmers receive $4 for every $1 invested in pesticides.Google Scholar
  40. 34a.
    Gerald A. Carlson and Emery N. Castle presented a theory for evaluating environmental externalities in “Economics of pest control,” in Pest Control Strategies for the Future (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1972), pp. 79–99.Google Scholar
  41. 35.
    See, for example, C. L. Metcalf, W. P. Flint, and R. L. Metcalf, Destructive and Useful Insects, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1951), pp. 39–40. Lack of sophistication in efforts of entomologists to quantify damages centered on two problems: (1) no effort was made to account for likely drops in price if destroyed commodities were suddenly to appear on the market (i.e., entomologists failed to use the economists’ concept of elasticity), and (2) no effort was made to relate the economic aspects of insect control to the social structure of the agricultural economy (i.e., entomologists failed to use the concept of political economy).Google Scholar
  42. 36.
    David Pimentel and John H. Perkins, eds., Pest Control: Cultural and Environmental Aspects, AAAS Selected Symposium No. 43 (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1980), 243 pp.Google Scholar
  43. 37.
    Dwight Isely, Methods of Insect Control, Part 1, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Burgess Pub. Co., 1942), 121 pp.Google Scholar
  44. 38.
    C. L. Metcalf and W. P. Flint, Destructive and Useful Insects, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1939), p. 240.Google Scholar
  45. 39.
    Robert R. Coker, “Economic impact of the boll weevil,” in ARS, Suppression, pp. 3–4.Google Scholar
  46. 40.
    C. L. Metcalf, W. P. Flint, and R. L. Metcalf, Destructive and Useful Insects 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., Inc., 1951), pp. 257–336, 360–386.Google Scholar
  47. 41.
    Vernon M. Stern, Ray F. Smith, Robert van den Bosch, and Kenneth S. Hagen, The integrated control concept, Hilgardia 29 (1959): 81–101.Google Scholar
  48. 42.
    J. C. Headley, “Defining the economic threshold,” in Pest Control Strategies for the Future (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1972), pp. 100–108.Google Scholar
  49. 43.
    Alexander Davidson and Richard B. Norgaard, Economic Aspects of Pest Control, delivered to the Conference on Plant Protection Economy, European and Mediteranean Plant Protection Organization, May 15, 1973, Brussels, 22 pp.Google Scholar
  50. 44.
    D. C. Hall and R. B. Norgaard, On the timing and application of pesticides, Annu. J. Agric. Econ. 55 (1973): 198–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 45.
    D. Hueth and U. Regev, Optimal agricultural pest management with increasing pest resistance, Annu. J. Agric. Econ. 56 (1974): 543–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 46.
    H. Talpaz and I. Borosch, Strategy for pesticide use: Frequency and applications, Annu. J. Agric. Econ. 56 (1974): 769–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 47.
    Richard B. Norgaard, The economics of improving pesticide use, Annu. Rev. Entomol. 21 (1976): 45–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 48.
    E. F. Knipling, Eradication of plant pest—pro, Bull. Entomol Soc. Am. 24 (1978): 44–52.Google Scholar
  55. 49.
    For a review of cost-benefit methodologies see Deborah Lee Williams, Benefit-cost analysis in natural resources decision making: An economic and legal overview, Nat. Resour. Lawyer 11 (1979): 761–796. (I thank Richard J. Daum for bringing this article to my attention.) Efforts were made by the USDA in 1974 to perform a cost-benefit analysis for boll weevil eradication that included the discounting factor. This study had no effect on the decision-making about an eradication experiment, because it occurred after commitment to eradication was firm (Richard J. Daum, personal communication, 1979).Google Scholar
  56. 50.
    The Boll Weevil: A Preliminary Evaluation of Three Alternative Federally Supported Programs [USDA, APHIS], unpublished paper, Nov., 1974, 36 pp. plus figures and tables.Google Scholar
  57. 51.
    Robert L. Metcalf and James N. Pitts, Jr., Series preface, in Metcalf and Luckmann, eds., Introduction, pp. ix-x.Google Scholar
  58. 52.
    Robert L. Metcalf, Model ecosystem approach to insecticide degradation: A critique, Annu. Rev. Entomol. 22 (1977): 241–261; Nova: The Insect Alternative ([Boston]: WGBH Educational Foundation, 1978), pp. 4–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 53.
    See, for example, the three editions of Van Allen Little’s General and Applied Entomology (New York: Harper and Brothers, Pub., 1957, 1963, 1972). The earliest is a straightforward presentation of the chemical control paradigm, but his orientation was clearly converted to the IPM school by 1972. His latest version offers much discussion on ecological theory.Google Scholar
  60. 54.
    Knipling, personal interview; J. R. Brazzel, personal interview, May 26–27, 1978.Google Scholar
  61. 55.
    Robert P. Mcintosh, “Ecology since 1900,” in History of American Ecology, Frank N. Egerton, ed. (New York: Arno Press, 1977), p. 360 [pagination reflects numbering of the original publication, Benjamin J. Taylor and Thurman J. White, eds., Issues and Ideas in America (Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1976)] (hereafter cited as Mcintosh, Ecology since 1900).Google Scholar
  62. 56.
    Ray F. Smith and Robert van den Bosch, “Integrated control,” in Pest Control, Wendell W. Kilgore and Richard L. Doutt, eds. (New York: Academic Press, 1967), pp. 312–315.Google Scholar
  63. 57.
    Ibid., p. 312.Google Scholar
  64. 58.
    Mcintosh, Ecology since 1900.Google Scholar
  65. 59.
    Knipling, personal interview.Google Scholar
  66. 60.
    The Integrated Pest Management Issue (Washington, D.C.: National Agricultural Chemical Association, 1979), 11 pages plus appendix.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Perkins
    • 1
  1. 1.The Evergreen State CollegeOlympiaUSA

Personalised recommendations