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Fish with mild (Sheesh spinoff)



Mike Taylor wrote:
I hate to disagree with you, Tom, but -- well -- I disagree.
I don't see how this is any different from asking "I wonder
why no fish developed the ability to suckle their young".
If someone asked that question, I wouldn't expect to see
responses saying "One subclade did", referring to Mammalia.
I'm sorry, I don't recall the specifics and can't give a reference, but I believe there is a FISH (in the unreconstructed pre-cladistic usage of the term; I believe also in the clade Actinopterygia, which does NOT include tetrapods) that has essentially evolved that: parents (no, I don't know if of one sex or both) secrete something from their skin which the babies eat.


[[[It's something with a bit of a footnote in philosophical history. Philosophers of language back in the 1960s were concerned with the relation between the MEANINGS of words and the BELIEFS (or THEORIES) accepted by the users of the words: there seem to be grounds for thinking that meaning is derivative from the contexts in which a word is used, so... And one example often discussed was the question of whether the MEANING of the word FISH changed when people decided that whales weren't fish. One of the better papers on the topic
Michael Slote, "The theory of important criteria," in
"Journal of Philosophy" v. 63 (1966), pp. 211-224
proposed a definition of FISH -- every clause, I seem to remember, would have excluded some Actinopterygian species. A sobering lesson on the complexity of our understanding of ordinary language and -- to bring things a bit back to the DML's topic -- a demonstration that names of "kinds" of animal HAVE to be interpreted as referring to lineages and not to groups defined in terms of common features.]]]


Allen Hazen
Philosophy Department
University of Melbourne