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Re: SCIENCE AND CLASSIFICATION
In a message dated Tue, 5 Feb 2002 7:26:53 PM Eastern Standard Time,
"philidor11" <email@example.com> writes:
> Expressed that way, no problem at all.
> We've agreed birds have a permanent, identical definition in the vernacular
> and scientifically.
No, we haven't. We've established that the scientific term Aves and the
vernacular term "bird" encompass the same set of living entities. Aves is
still *defined* as "the most recent common ancestor of _Archaeopteryx_ and
modern birds and all of its descendants". The lexicosemantics of "bird"
probably vary somewhat even among individual speakers.
Debate over classification of fossil animals will not,
> cannot change the definition.
I guess I agree with that (see above). Such debate may, however, change the
set of entities to which the definition applies.
> On the close calls, whatever isn't a bird is
> a dinosaur
As is everything that *is* a bird...