[Taxacom] (no subject)
ipvl2008 at mail.ru
Wed Dec 9 12:14:42 CST 2020
Well, Dick’s concern about “proper” and “true” names is seemingly based on their nominalistic treatment. It’s ok as far as current professional nomenclature systems are discussed.
My concern is about looking at the names from another, natural-philosophical standpoint. Suppose, each particular natural phenomenon is a particular “thing”. Then, any its consideration as a “natural kind” or anything else “collective” becomes irrelevant: it is an “individual». So its calling in a particular manner is its “proper name”, i.e., it is (logically) a referentative and not an attributive name. So, natural-philosophically, to be “proper”, its name is to be just the “true”.
PS Actually, my concern is about historical roots of the current nomenclature systems. This is because I’m going to write and publish a book on the history and theory of nomenclature, so any opinions, especially most critical and provocative, are very interesting.
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Igor Ya. Pavlinov, DrS
Zoological Museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University
ul. Bol'shaya Nikitskaya 6
>Среда, 9 декабря 2020, 19:53 +03:00 от Richard Jensen <rjensen at saintmarys.edu>:
>Igor's bit of philosophy brings up a point I have made before: scientific names are not "proper names" as the latter are generally understood. The philosophers quoted were wrong with respect to proper names. Proper names do not define anything; a thing and its proper name are not the same; there are no true names for us to search for. Proper names have few, if any, "rules" for their application and use. In conducting genealogical research, I have found hundreds of individuals named Hans Christian Andersen and probably many more named, very simply, Jens Jensen. The same holds for proper names of places: there are numerous counties, cities and towns (in the US) named Washington, or Madison - the people of each locality were free to choose whatever name they wished to use. If I tell you that someone lives in Washington, what do you know for sure? Essentially, nothing.
>Our binomials are different. They are (within the bounds of the different codes) unique names that apply to specific entities recognized by taxonomists. These names cannot be freely applied to other entities and these names have a very important quality not found in proper names - they tell us a great deal about the "thing" bearing the name. If you are told that there is a plant in my backyard that is a representative of Quercus palustris Muenchh., you can immediately (if you are a reasonably knowledgeable botanist) provide a list of many characteristics of this plant, from general features (e.g., life form, anatomy, physiology) down to "specific" characters (e.g., size and shape of fruits, floral structure, leaf shape, etc.). Our scientific names are not the same as proper names because they do define the "thing" bearing the name, they are unique, and they cannot be changed, except within the context of the appropriate code. Proper names do not have these qualities.
>On Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 11:11 PM igor pavlinov via Taxacom < taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu > wrote:
>>With regard to the indigenous names, one serious issue is that they are, in many cases, nature-philosophically sound. Actually, as Chuang Tzu said, a thing becomes what it is when named/called. According to Plato, a thing and its name are the same, as far as express the same eidos. From this, Tournefort’s idea of by giving true names to God's creatures echoed subsequently by Linne with his “proper names”. Such a mysterious attitude to the “true names” is evidently expressed, in many indigenous tribes, in a prohibition to use the names given to people at their born in everyday life, which to be replace by respective “nick names” (the “vulgar names” of Linne are analogies of the latter).
>>Understanding of this seems to yield quite different accent in consideration of an aspiration of people to “get back to roots” that agrees fundamentally with Confucius’ call to “restore the true names”.
>>However, this attitude contradicts fundamentally to the leading principle of contemporary taxonomic nomenclature “a name is just a name” set by Adanson.
>>All this, of course, a “philosophy”, but is helps sometime to see “the other side of the Moon”
>>- - -
>>Igor Ya. Pavlinov, DrS
>>Zoological Museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University
>>ul. Bol'shaya Nikitskaya 6
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>Richard Jensen, Professor Emeritus Department of Biology Saint Mary's College Notre Dame, IN 46556
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