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Supplemental Readings from Moderator

Supplemental Readings suggested by the Moderator for week 2 (Jim Heffernan, Florida International University)

Hodges, K. E. 2008. Defining the problem: terminology and progress in ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6(1): 35–42, doi:10.1890/060108
In this paper, the author challenges the prevailing notion that ambiguous terminology impedes scientific progress in ecology. In brief, Hodges asserts that 1) evidence for actual harm from ambiguous terminology is limited to a very small number of cases, 2) that enforcement of standardized definitions is infeasible if important conceptual issues remain unresolved, and 3) that in a maturing field of inquiry, ambiguity in terminology has positive heuristic value. This analysis is relevant to current efforts to define sustainability, particularly in light of the interactions among local and global knowledge in sustainability science.