[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Thu Feb 16 13:57:31 CST 2012


Dear Rod,

I would propose to extend your phrase to "person(s) x in publication y asserted that two names are synonyms or lexical variants of each other"  The assertion of related names occurs in a publication by that/those person(s).  Publication y's assertion should just be an objective fact and immutable.  

But, the sticky wicket comes when point 6 is posed: "Which of all the related names is the best one to use to refer to the organism right now"?   The issue of best is invariably subjective.  

Chuck
  

-----Original Message-----
From: Roderic Page [mailto:r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:24 PM
To: taxacom
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Dear Doug,

Regarding

> 
> #4 is something that cannot be objectively determined, because 
> synonymy is almost invariably subjective.

presumably the fact that person x asserted that two names are synonyms can be determined objectively, and that's all we need to know.

Regards

Rod


On 15 Feb 2012, at 18:40, Doug Yanega wrote:

> I would observe that, for zoological names, of the following list:
> 
>> 1. Is this a name?
>> 2. Is this the correct way to write it?
>> 3. Is this name currently in use?
>> 4. What other names are related to this name (e.g., synonyms, lexical 
>> variants)?
>> 5. Where was this name published? Can I see that publication?
> 
> at least 1 and 5 are questions for which an objective and definitive 
> answer (via application of the ICZN for #1) can be arrived at, and 
> that the answer will not change. Thus, these are things which could be 
> made part of a permanent public archive (hopefully, something like 
> ZooBank).
> 
> #2 and 3 are things that can, in essence, be objectively determined 
> under the Code, but are subject to the nuance of "prevailing usage" - 
> that is, a sudden change in how taxonomists treat a name can shift the 
> answer from "no" to "yes" (in both cases) or from "yes" to "no"
> (for #2). One hope that I have is that a mechanism for Registration 
> can be implemented in the future which will prevent such fluctuation, 
> and thus make the answers to 2 and 3 immutable, as well.
> 
> #4 is something that cannot be objectively determined, because 
> synonymy is almost invariably subjective.
> 
> Realistically, then, this list represents a mixed bag of the 
> immediately attainable, the potentially attainable, and the 
> unattainable. It might be more productive to focus on the former 
> categories, in terms of a community-wide goal. I'll further note that 
> if taxonomists want a system of Registration that will result in 
> permanently stable names, then they are probably going to have to 
> insist upon it, *and* be willing to participate in the process 
> (because such a process is likely to require public review). I'm not 
> 100% sure whether botanical names would work exactly the same way, but 
> I expect that the situation would be pretty much the same.
> 
> Peace,
> --
> 
> Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> 
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---------------------------------------------------------
Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graham Kerr Building University of Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
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