David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (2):361-383 (2001)
The vast majority of biological taxonomists use the Linnaean system when constructing classifications. Taxa are assigned Linnaean ranks and taxon names are devised according to the Linnaean rules of nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Linnaean system has become theoretically outdated. Moreover, its continued use causes a number of practical problems. This paper begins by sketching the ontological and practical problems facing the Linnaean system. Those problems are sufficiently pressing that alternative systems of classification should be investigated. A number of proposals for an alternative system are introduced and evaluated. The best aspects of those proposals are brought together to form a post-Linnaean system, and a comparison of the Linnaean and post-Linnaean systems is conducted. The final section of this paper considers not only the theoretical reasons for replacing the Linnaean system, but also the practical feasibility of adopting an alternative system.
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