While Aldo Leopold's worldview was ecological and utilitarian (what J. B. Callicott has called a transformative vision), Edward F. Ricketts's worldview was ecological and holistic (what Callicott calls a transcendent vision). According to Richard Astro, Ricketts used the principles of ecology to grasp and understand the totality of things. Ultimately, Ricketts settled on a philosophy that he called “breaking through.” Astro notes that Ricketts tried long and hard to find a means by which he could communicate “the deep thing.” The method Ricketts chose he inappropriately called non-teleological thinking. It is interesting that many things Ricketts termed spiritual or mystical have explanations centered in science. While Ricketts's approach to science (and his adoption of the new science of ecology) is best exemplified by Between Pacific Tides, and his overarching philosophy by Sea of Cortez, his mature, holistic, ecological viewpoint is most visible in his attempts to understand the collapse of the West Coast sardine fishery (which took with it the economy of Cannery Row).
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