[Taxacom] Phylogenetic classification? (and a masterpiece by Knox)

Kirk Fitzhugh kfitzhug at nhm.org
Mon Jul 27 01:12:38 CDT 2009

I've published a fair amount on the abductive nature of cladistic inference. Problem is, the data that are the effects that compel one to abductively infer a hypothesis have no relation to the test evidence that would be required to test that hypothesis. We're not 'stuck with that inference' - we just don't go the required extra steps of seeking the relevant test evidence, which could never be just more shared similarities.


-----Original Message-----
From: Don.Colless at csiro.au [mailto:Don.Colless at csiro.au]
Sent: Sun 7/26/2009 11:10 PM
To: s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz; Kirk Fitzhugh
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Phylogenetic classification? (and a masterpiece by Knox)
On a point of order, philosophy of science does recognise a process known as "Inference to the Best Explanation". The result may, of course, be regarded as simply the best hypothesis around for subsequent testing; but if you've used all your data already, you're stuck with that inference as your best available "truth of the matter". A cladogram can be regarded as such an inference; but, unfortunately, it refers to a pretty restricted "matter".

Donald H. Colless
CSIRO Div of Entomology
GPO Box 1700
Canberra 2601
don.colless at csiro.au
tuz li munz est miens envirun

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