[Taxacom] More on Linnaeus

Fred Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Thu Sep 5 09:06:25 CDT 2013

I'm sure others have had this idea before...

On 9/4/2013 10:34 PM, Curtis Clark wrote:

> Both Species Plantarum and Systema Naturae combine names and
> classification, but classification was an afterthought (and it the case
> of Species Plantarum intentionally artificial), and naming wasn't a
> primary goal.
> The reason for this is that Linnaeus was a creationist. Linnaeus used the genus and differentia, a standard
> format at the time, to present more or less what he thought God had in
> mind as distinguishing features of each species.
> So classification wasn't a primary goal. God may have had a higher-level
> arrangement in mind, but that wasn't biblically necessary beyond the
> fish of the sea and that sort of thing, and that could be the next phase
> of study.

* so the Linnaean system wasn't strongly hierarchical all the way up - 
it's a back-projection from post-Linnaean discoveries that Linnaeus used 
this system because God was supposed to have had a phylogeny-like 
hierarchy in mind. This would be why Linnaeus was okay with his 
artificial classification of plants by counts of floral parts, and makes 
the subsequently proposed numerological systems independent phenomena, 
rather than kinks in a phylogeny-like visualization of relationships.

So when Darwin said of descent with modification that "The grand fact of 
the natural subordination of organic beings in groups under groups, 
which, from its familiarity, does not always sufficiently strike us, is 
in my judgement thus explained" he was referencing a post-Linnaean 
discovery - facilitated by the Aristotelian logical structure of the the 
Linnaean system, more than it was anticipated from the beginning.

          Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre - http://pinicola.ca/bmnhc.htm
Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills - http://pinicola.ca/mudpup1.htm
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          RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
    (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca/

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