[Taxacom] Binomial Nomenclature - was: "cataloguing hypotheses & not real things"

Ashley Nicholas Nicholasa at ukzn.ac.za
Thu Sep 5 14:08:32 CDT 2013

Yes taxonomy & nomenclature are separate; as they should be. I never said that species names are hypotheses -- I said they carry the hypotheses. Names exist in Popper's Third World the world of symbols (speech & writing). Nomenclature sits in Popper's 3rd World as do the rules of the code; don't treat me as if I am stupid! Names such as Panthera leo are symbolic and like all words carry information (they mean something) including information on species circumscription (which are only a hypothesis). These species circumscription are induced from data (observation & experimentation) of objects (individuals at all levels of manifestation from the genetic to the chemical to the anatomical and to the morphological). Two people may collect data analyse it and come up with different species circumscriptions/hypotheses. These they tie to the physical world (Poppers 1st World) via type specimen(s). The type carries that name and the species hypothesis based on it. We identify new specimens that come into the herbarium by deducing (i.e. predicting) a name from existing species hypotheses. If you have never heard about the hypothetico-deductive method (which I have just described above) then yes maybe we should leave those that understand symbols to devise rules for the code. Perhaps leave the rest of us that do understand it to do the empirical science and you can attend to your symbols.

From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] on behalf of Curtis Clark [lists at curtisclark.org]
Sent: 05 September 2013 19:56
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Binomial Nomenclature - was: "cataloguing hypotheses & not real things"

On 2013-09-05 5:57 AM, Ashley Nicholas wrote:
> By all means have rules to govern names but do not abuse these to govern what hypotheses should be accepted and which should not.

That's why nomenclature and taxonomy are separate endeavors. Saying that
a species is a hypothesis is a very different assertion from saying that
its name is a hypothesis. We can all hope that people unclear on the
distinction will not be put in charge of devising the rules of nomenclature.

Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768

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