Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU
Wed Jun 23 14:57:57 CDT 2004

Dear Jim,

The simple answer to your (rhetorical) question is "No". To fill it out a bit,  in present widely accepted usage, a character is a VARIABLE which can take two or more STATES. The difference is categorial: "body weight" is a character; "90 kg." is a state of that character. 

Don Colless,
Div of Entomology, CSIRO,
GPO Box 1700,
Canberra. 2601.
Email: don.colless at 

-----Original Message-----
From:   Jim Croft [mailto:jrc at]
Sent:   Tue 6/22/2004 4:44 PM
To:     Colless, Donald (Entomology, Black Mountain)
Cc:     TAXACOM at
Subject:        Re: Characters.

>John Grehan belongs to an ancient school that claims there is no 
>difference between a character and a character state. I suggest that those 
>who do not share this quaint belief give up arguing with him. I learned 
>long ago that it's a waste of time!

Isn't the distinction between what we chose to call a character and what we 
choose to call a state of a character largely one of mutual agreement and 

But if you don't hold much in definition either, the result is probably 
going to be much the same... :)


~ Jim Croft ~ jrc at ~ 02-62465500 ~ ~ 

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