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There and Back Again, or the Problem of Locality in Biodiversity Surveys*

Ayelet Shavit and James Griesemer
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 76, No. 3 (July 2009), pp. 273-294
DOI: 10.1086/649805
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/649805
Page Count: 22
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There and Back Again, or the Problem of Locality in Biodiversity Surveys*
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Abstract

We argue that ‘locality’, perhaps the most mundane term in ecology, holds a basic ambiguity: two concepts of space—nomothetic and idiographic—which are both necessary for a rigorous resurvey to “the same” locality in the field, are committed to different practices with no common measurement. A case study unfolds the failure of the standard assumption that an exogenous grid of longitude and latitude, as fine‐grained as one wishes, suffices for revisiting a species locality. We briefly suggest a scale‐dependent “resolution” for this replication problem, since it has no general, rational solution.

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