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Darwin-L Message Log 1:201 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<1:201>From brook@trillium.botany.utexas.edu  Fri Sep 24 09:07:34 1993

Date: Fri, 24 Sep 93 08:55:00 -0500
From: brook@trillium.botany.utexas.edu (Brook Milligan)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: generalizations in systematics

I would like to begin a new thread here with a couple of questions.
Perhaps those of you who are more historically or systematically
inclined than me can help out here.

Over the past year or two I have noticed a series of letters to the
editor in Nature justifying the pursuit of systematics and taxonomy as
being the basis for generalizations about biological history.  It
seems that the argument is that by studying the collections present in
museums and herbaria, by studying new collections, and by organizing
the results of these studies into a historical framework describing
which events took place in the past, that we will be able to make
generalizations about biology.

Two questions:  1) Does anyone have references to a more complete
development of this idea?  2) In this context, what exactly is meant
by "generalizations?"  That is, what form would such a generalization
take and how would it relate to generalizations in other branches of
science?

Brook G. Milligan      Internet:  brook@trillium.botany.utexas.edu
Department of Botany     UUCP: !uunet!cs.utexas.edu!geraldo!trillium!brook
University of Texas at Austin  Telephone:  (512) 471-3530
Austin, Texas  78713 U.S.A.  FAX:    (512) 471-3878

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