Journal of the History of Biology 51 (1):31-67 (2018)

Authors
Beckett Sterner
Arizona State University
Abstract
It is time to escape the constraints of the Systematics Wars narrative and pursue new questions that are better positioned to establish the relevance of the field in this time period to broader issues in the history of biology and history of science. To date, the underlying assumptions of the Systematics Wars narrative have led historians to prioritize theory over practice and the conflicts of a few leading theorists over the less-polarized interactions of systematists at large. We show how shifting to a practice-oriented view of methodology, centered on the trajectory of mathematization in systematics, demonstrates problems with the common view that one camp straightforwardly “won” over the other. In particular, we critique David Hull’s historical account in Science as a Process by demonstrating exactly the sort of intermediate level of positive sharing between phenetic and cladistic theories that undermines their mutually exclusive individuality as conceptual systems over time. It is misleading, or at least inadequate, to treat them simply as holistically opposed theories that can only interact by competition to the death. Looking to the future, we suggest that the concept of workflow provides an important new perspective on the history of mathematization and computerization in biology after World War II.
Keywords David Hull  cladistics  phenetics
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DOI 10.1007/s10739-017-9471-1
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References found in this work BETA

Re-Thinking Organisms: The Impact of Databases on Model Organism Biology.Sabina Leonelli & Rachel A. Ankeny - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):29-36.
Rethinking Woodger’s Legacy in the Philosophy of Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson & Richard Gawne - 2014 - Journal of the History of Biology 47 (2):243-292.

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Citations of this work BETA

When is a Cladist Not a Cladist?Aleta Quinn - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (4):581-598.
Animal Behavior, Population Biology and the Modern Synthesis.Jean-Baptiste Grodwohl - 2019 - Journal of the History of Biology 52 (4):597-633.

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