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Generalisations must obviously distinguish something that is common to the phenomena to which they refer, but the problem with this second procedure is that 'in all such abstract systems there exists the danger of hypostatising one's concepts' and 'of regarding the postulated relations as the determining ones in any actual situation' and as the essence of contemporary economies. To illustrate this argument Dobb referred critically to the way in which economists attempt to arrive at generalisations which will hold for any type of exchange economy and which will necessarily prevail in any situation in which there are scarce resources with alternative uses, by abstracting phenomena of exchange from the productive relations and the property and class institutions of which they are the expression.

26 This paper was largely an attack on what Schaefer called 'exceptionalism', that is the view that geography as a chorological science must The Object of Geographical Analysis 23 employ a distinctive idiographic method and that this method gives geography its status as a separate branch of knowledge. As has already been suggested, the chorological sciences cannot be thought to be methodologically distinct simply because they are concerned with unique phenomena, and so it is true that geography is not exceptional in the sense proposed by Hartshorne.

By virtue of their restriction to the spatial characteristics of phenomena these types of analysis can at best, however, only provide a partial explanation of any real situation. Indeed they can even be extremely misleading when the type of abstraction involved is ignored, and when it is presumed that spatial variables alone can account for any spatial form, let alone for changes in spatial structures. In view of the fact that the characteristics of areas stem in part from the non-spatial properties of objects existing in them, locational studies employing this type of abstraction are precluded from giving a full account of geographical phenomena.

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