Cyperales or Juncales?

pierre deleporte pierre.deleporte at UNIV-RENNES1.FR
Tue Jul 9 18:04:01 CDT 2002

A 11:05 09/07/2002 -0400, vous avez écrit :
>  Richard Pyle wrote:
> > But I would say, "That depends on how you define the word 'character'".  It
> > is clear from the rest of your note that you define it strictly in the
> > context of "homologous" characters; whereas I imagine that Jim was defining
> > it in the sense of observable character (i.e., "brown stuff growing out of
> > [your] head"), without asserting whether there is any homology with the
> > brown stuff growing out of *my* head.

And Tom diBenedetto:

>But what would be the meaning of "character" if it were not defined 
>relative to
>homology? (...) So yes, I define the word character in a manner that gives 
>it meaning in
>historical, comparative biology.

Could be said that "nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of 

Now, defining a "character" is likely to depend heavily on the problematic 
at stake. Must be a "relevant character" in some context of scientific 
investigation. We have to "know"(i.e. strongly believe on scientific 
grounds) what character and character state delineations make sense in this 

Maybe a researcher in medical biology could discard phylogenetic 
considerations of homology when diagnosing symptoms of some illness in 
humans. This could make good non-comparative scientific knowledge at first 

But after all, there remains a possiblility that comparative considerations 
of similar illness in close relative organisms could also play a role in 
improving medical diagnostic.
Does really nothing make sense in...?


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