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Definitions and phylogenetic nomenclature
Södertörn University College.
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences: Volume 56, Supplement I, No. 19, 2005, 216-224 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
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Text
Abstract [en]

Recent developments in biological nomenclature suggest advantages of phylogenetic alternatives to more traditional Linnaean approaches. My aim is to discuss some fundamental aspects underlying biological nomenclature in general and phylogenetic nomenclature in particular. A basic assumption, in both traditional and phylogenetic nomenclature, is that taxon names can and should be defined. From the ontological view of individuality I question this view and argue that taxon names only refer since no defining properties are involved for particular clades. Even if we accept the idea that a taxon is a natural kind with a historical essence, and thus has defining properties, I see problems of definitions from an epistemological and inferential point of view. Our conceptualization of phylogeny is dependent on our hypotheses. Therefore, definitions based on discarded hypotheses are problematic. Instead, each new and accepted hypothesis should form the basis of our conceptualization. Another theme in this paper is what should count as the same taxon under different hypotheses. Can a phylogenetic definition guarantee that a name always refers to the same taxon under different hypotheses? I argue that this is questionable. I conclude by suggesting that we need to rethink the role of definition, sameness, and stability in nomenclature. Rethinking these concepts, I believe, will shed some new light on biological nomenclature. My conclusions strongly favor a phylogenetic approach to nomenclature but also suggest that we, besides some practical problems, still have many interesting theoretical and philosophical aspects to take into account.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. 216-224 p.
National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Natural Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-51350DiVA: diva2:914684
Conference
The future of taxonomy
Available from: 2011-02-07 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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