ICBN too

Peter Stevens peter.stevens at MOBOT.ORG
Mon Jul 16 09:47:05 CDT 2001

>Richard and Mary,
> .....

There is no good reason that scientific names should be this
>unstable, so much so that even common names seem preferable.  I'm sure
>Linnaeus would find the present state of affairs rather shocking.
>                  -----Ken Kinman

I don't think he would if he were active in systematics.  I think one can
make a case that Linnaeus was able to name things in the way he did because
he thought he understood the structure of nature (although he was wobbly on
orders (families) and classes).  It is abundantly clear that in many groups
we do not understand such things, and are undergoing a major revision of
our understanding of our ideas of relationships.  That will have
consequences if one uses "Linnaean" names, and it will also lead to
proposals like those of the Phylocode, some of the proposals of which (it
seems to me) are better for times when relationships are changing than when
they are not.

I don't think we will get very far in our discussions on naming unless we
understand the contexts - both cognitive, scientific and sociological - in
which names are proposed.

Peter S.

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