[Taxacom] Homonymous synonyms / cosmic order
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jun 7 23:54:57 CDT 2012
I think we need to go for the simplest interpretation (simply because there are lots of more complex interpretations, with no way to choose between them)
As I see it, the simplest interpretation is this: homonyms are the same name for different taxa
if, in this example, you think both Gymnochanda (generic) names refer to the same taxon, then they cannot be homonyms (so the later name must be a chresonym of the earlier)
Face palm! ... now I understand something: rewrite the above as follows:
As I see it, the simplest interpretation is this: homonyms are the same name for different nominal taxa
if, in this example, both Gymnochanda (generic) names refer to the same nominal taxon, then they cannot be homonyms (so the later name must be a chresonym of the earlier)
what's the difference? A nominal taxon is a taxon denoted by a particular type (not name!), so the two Gymnochanda refer to the same nominal taxon only if they are homotypic (if they were heterotypic, they may or may not refer to the same taxon, but that would be subjective) ...
SO, we seem to be able to clarify something, viz. homotypic homonymic synonyms are impossible.
However, we still have the problem that I originally stated, viz. there is still nothing in the Code to prevent an interpretation whereby a later use of a name, even though flagged as new and with an explicit type designation, is just a chresonym with an invalid type designation ... though this has the odd consequence that *all junior homonyms can be reinterpreted as chresonyms of the senior homonym, regardless of the taxa involved* ... yikes!!!
From: Geoffrey Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Friday, 8 June 2012 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Homonymous synonyms / cosmic order
On Fri, June 8, 2012 12:59 pm, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
" I think the idea is that homonyms are the same name for *different
taxa*, in which case synonymic homonyms are impossible."
Could well be so. Art. 52.1 on the principle states: "When two or more
taxa are distinguished from each other they must not be denoted by the
But these Gymnochanda are precisely not distinguishable/distinct from each
other. This is subjective by the taxonomist who made the call but that's
how it always is.
I'm also struggling a bit with the choice of the words 'are
distinguished'. Does the code mean during the act of distinguishing (the
process of classifying in one's mind) or the necessary qualifying state
that they are distinct? I presume the latter makes more sense. But why use
> taken from the Code glossary:
> Â homonym, n.
> (1) In the family group: each of two or more available names having the
> same spelling, or differing only in suffix, and denoting different nominal
> taxa. (2) In the genus group: each of two or more available names having
> the same spelling, and denoting different nominal taxa. (3) In the species
> group: each of two or more available specific or subspecific names having
> the same spelling, or spellings deemed under Article 58 to be the same,
> and established for different nominal taxa, and either originally (primary
> homonymy) or subsequently (secondary homonymy) combined with the same
> generic name [Art. 53.3]. For examples, see Article 53.1 for family-group
> names, Article 53.2 for genus-group names, and Article 53.3 for
> species-group names
> this is a little amusing! I think the idea is that homonyms are the same
> name for *different taxa*, in which case synonymic homonyms are
> impossible. What is amusing is that the Code talks about *different
> nominal taxa*! A nominal taxon is a taxon denoted by a particular name,
> which makes the above definition a nonsense, unless we can distinguish
> between all three of:
> (1) spelling (=name)
> (2) nominal taxon
> (3) taxon
> but I can't really see how to distinguish (1) and (2)???
> Again from the glossary:
> nominal taxon
> A concept of a taxon which is denoted by an available name (e.g. Mollusca,
> Diptera, Bovidae, Papilio, Homo sapiens). Each nominal taxon in the
> family, genus or species groups is based on a name-bearing type (although
> in the latter two groups such a type may not have been actually fixed).
> this doesn't really help. Sure you can denote different taxaÂ with the
> same name (i.e., homonyms), but can you denote different nominal
> taxaÂ with the same name??? Sure you can denote the same taxon with
> different nominal taxa (i.e., synonyms), but "synonymic homonyms" requires
> one to denote the same taxon with different nominal taxa which have the
> same spelling!!!
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