[Taxacom] (no subject)

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Wed Dec 9 18:23:57 CST 2020


> any opinions, especially most critical and provocative, are very interesting.

Biological taxa are not "natural phenomena" -- they only exist in the minds of humans. Thus, there is no "thing" to which scientific names are actually applied (except maybe neurological patterns inside human brains).  The only meaningful "individual" associated with scientific names is a type specimen, but one could argue that even type specimens/individual organisms have imprecise boundaries (and thus, again, ultimately exist as "individuals" only through neurological patterns inside human brains).

There is no spoon.

Aloha,
Rich

P.S. Provocative enough? (running for shelter to hide from the inevitable bombardment to follow...)

Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Senior Curator of Ichthyology | Director of XCoRE
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817-2704
Office: (808) 848-4115;  Fax: (808) 847-8252
eMail: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
BishopMuseum.org
Our Mission: Bishop Museum inspires our community and visitors through the exploration and celebration of the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of igor
> pavlinov via Taxacom
> Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 8:15 AM
> To: Richard Jensen <rjensen at saintmarys.edu>
> Cc: Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] (no subject)
> 
> 
> 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.
> 
> Cheers, I
> 
> 
> - - -
> Igor Ya. Pavlinov, DrS
> Zoological Museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University ul. Bol'shaya
> Nikitskaya 6
> 125009 Moscow
> Russia
> http://zmmu.msu.ru/personal/pavlinov/pavlinov1.htm
> http://zmmu.msu.ru/personal/pavlinov/pavlinov_eng1.htm
> 
> 
> >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.
> >
> >Cheers,
> >
> >Dick
> >
> >
> >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
> >>
> >>
> >>- - -
> >>Igor Ya. Pavlinov, DrS
> >>Zoological Museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University ul. Bol'shaya
> >>Nikitskaya 6
> >>125009 Moscow
> >>Russia
> >>http://zmmu.msu.ru/personal/pavlinov/pavlinov1.htm
> >>http://zmmu.msu.ru/personal/pavlinov/pavlinov_eng1.htm
> >>_______________________________________________
> >>Taxacom Mailing List
> >>
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> >>
> >>Nurturing nuance while assaulting ambiguity for about 33 years, 1987-2020.
> >
> >  --
> >Richard Jensen, Professor Emeritus Department of Biology Saint Mary's
> >College Notre Dame, IN 46556
> 
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> Nurturing nuance while assaulting ambiguity for about 33 years, 1987-2020.



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