[Taxacom] Taxacom Digest, Vol 50, Issue 29

Karl Magnacca kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu
Sun May 30 14:52:43 CDT 2010

Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
> But you can call them synonyms if you want to, but not IMHO
> "objective synonyms", because there is nothing objective about
> them. If, by "objective synonym" you mean homotypic, then they are
> objective synonyms by definition, but then objective synonymy has
> nothing to do with objectivity, which doesn't sound sensible to
> me! So why not just say that combinations are homotypic subjective
> synonyms?

I don't understand how you arrive at this conclusion, unless you're
again confusing nomenclature and classification.  If you count
different combinations as synonyms, they are objective by virtue of
sharing the same type - that is, there is no question that they
refer to the same beast.  Which one is *correct* is subjective, but
that is separate from whether they are synonyms.  An actual
subjective synonym is subjective because, being based on different
types, it is up to the determination of the taxonomist whether they
refer to the same species.

Karl Magnacca
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Hawaii-Hilo

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