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RE: Dinosaur a tecnical term; fish is not (was RE: Fish with milk (Sheesh spinoff))
Is there anyone else on the list who has read--and felt sympathetic
towards--Webster and Goodwin's "Form and Transformation: Generative and
Relation Principles in Biology"?
One of the things they argue is that there is no _inherent_ antagonism
between essentialist/typological thinking and evolutionary/historical
thinking in taxonomy, just as there is no inherent antagonism between
gold's position on the periodic table and the geological/historical
origins of any particular sample of gold.
I'm in no position to make a detailed defense of their views, but I
think anyone who hasn't utterly made up their mind on the matter ought
to at least find Webster's critique of Mayr and Hull stimulating. One
of Webster's key points is that, whatever they may profess, biologists
sneak a kind of typology (again in the sense that the periodic table is
typological and universal and not historical and contingent) in through
the back door and that in fact the whole process of taxonomy can't get
off the ground without them so doing.
Btw, I should mention that their book was published by Cambridge
University Press and not the Society for Creative Anachronism. :-)