There and back again, or the problem of locality in biodiversity surveys

Philosophy of Science 76 (3):273-294 (2009)
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. *Received January 2008; revised April 2009. †To contact the authors, please write to: Ayelet Shavit, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Tel‐Hai Academic College, Upper Galilee, 12210 Israel; e‐mail: ashavit@telhai.ac.il . James Griesemer, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; e‐mail: jrgriesemer@ucdavis.edu . Biodiversity is largely a matter of real estate. And, as with other real estate, location is everything. (Kiester at el. 1996 ).
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