Kenelm Philip fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu
Wed Nov 24 15:02:35 EST 1999

> When the notion of of sharing comes down to a spatiotemporally
> unrestricted essence (i.e. something that makes the species a species
> regardless of time or place) then one is thinking typologically. All
> attempts at a definitional approach to species appear to fall into a
> typological category - for all that they may be dressed up in modern
> biology.

A 'definitional approach' to species would imply that one can define
a species, I guess. If that's not allowed, then one _cannot_ define a
species, by which I assume the _concept_ of 'species' is meant. In that
case, the taxonomic category 'species' is meaningless. Oops...

	Art Shapiro gave a fascinating talk at the recent Lep. Soc. meeting
during which he pointed out that the BSC and the PSC (phylogenetic...) will
disagree in a number of cases. SInce the ESA (and other gov't regulations
affecting specimens) is founded on the BSC, it may be possible to have
taxonomists in court as expert witnesses arguing on _both_ sides of cases
involving the application of the ESA. So it might seem as if 'species'
is not a very useful concept?

	And yet, the basic concept of 'species' is too useful to lose, even
if it gets rather fuzzy around the edges. I suspect it will remain. And
I think that expanding 'typology' to cover such problems does indeed make
the word too broad to convey much. In taxonomy, typology refers to a
misconception of the purpose of a type specimen, and also to a rather
Platonic idea of the 'essence' of a species.

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at uaf.edu

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