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  1. Taxonomy for Humans or Computers? Cognitive Pragmatics for Big Data.Beckett Sterner & Nico M. Franz - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (2):99-111.
    Criticism of big data has focused on showing that more is not necessarily better, in the sense that data may lose their value when taken out of context and aggregated together. The next step is to incorporate an awareness of pitfalls for aggregation into the design of data infrastructure and institutions. A common strategy minimizes aggregation errors by increasing the precision of our conventions for identifying and classifying data. As a counterpoint, we argue that there are pragmatic trade-offs between precision (...)
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  • Biodiversity? Yes, But What Kind? A Critical Reassessment in Light of a Challenge From Microbial Ecology.Nicolae Morar - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (2):201-218.
    Biodiversity has become one of the most important conservation values that drive our ecological management and directly inform our environmental policy. This paper highlights the dangers of strategically appropriating concepts from ecological sciences and also of uncritically inserting them into conservation debates as unqualified normative landmarks. Here, I marshal evidence from a cutting-edge research program in microbial ecology, which shows that if species richness is our major normative target, then we are faced with extraordinary ethical implications. This example challenges our (...)
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  • Teaching Natural History at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.Mary E. Sunderland - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Science 46 (1):97-121.
    During its centennial celebrations in 2008, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley paid homage to its founding director, Joseph Grinnell. Recognized as a leading scientific institution, the MVZ managed to grow throughout the twentieth century, a period often characterized by the decline of natural history. To understand how and why research flourished at the MVZ, this paper looks closely at Grinnell's undergraduate course, the Natural History of the Vertebrates . Taught by MVZ affiliates since 1914, (...)
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  • "Location" Incommensurability and "Replication" Indeterminacy: Clarifying an Entrenched Conflation by Using an Involved Approach.Ayelet Shavit - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (4):425-442.
    This paper emerged from a decade of involvement in long-term bio-diversity surveys in places such as Yosemite Valley, Lassen National Park, New England Harvard Forest, and the Israeli Negev Desert. While actively engaged in the scientific work it was impossible not to notice the reoccurring discussions over how to replicate a survey to the same location. These two terms—“replication” and “location”—were necessary and basic for the scientists yet marginal in philosophical literature. The first two sections of this paper analyze the (...)
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  • Modernizing Natural History: Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Transition. [REVIEW]Mary E. Sunderland - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (3):369-400.
    Throughout the twentieth century calls to modernize natural history motivated a range of responses. It was unclear how research in natural history museums would participate in the significant technological and conceptual changes that were occurring in the life sciences. By the 1960s, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, was among the few university-based natural history museums that were able to maintain their specimen collections and support active research. The MVZ therefore provides a window to the (...)
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