Darwin-L Message Log 10: 21–65 — June 1994

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.

This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during June 1994. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”

DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 10: 21-65 -- JUNE 1994

<10:21>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Thu Jun  2 20:54:43 1994

Date: Thu, 02 Jun 1994 21:54:25 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Chauncey Wright on psychological selection and palaetiology
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Folks interested in applications of the idea of natural selection to domains
other than its original one may find the following passage from the American
philosopher Chauncey Wright of interest.  Wright was a rather interesting
figure: a mentor to the first generation of American pragmatists (Peirce,
James, Holmes, etc.), and an early advocate of evolution by natural
selection.  He once visited Darwin at Down, and Darwin had one of Wright's
essays attacking the anti-selectionist St. George Mivart reprinted at his
own expense for distribution in England.

The following comes from an essay called "The limits of natural selection",
originally published in the _North American Review_, October 1870.  It was
reprinted in Wright's collected essays (posthumously published):

  Wright, Chauncey.  1877.  _Philosophical Discussions_.  New York: Henry
  Holt & Co.  [reprinted 1971, New York: Burt Franklin]

  In further illustration of the range of the explanation afforded by the
  principle of Natural Selection...we may instance an application of it to
  the more special psychological problem of the development of the
  individual mind by its own experiences....Among these native faculties of
  the individual mind is the power of reproducing its own past experiences
  in memory and belief; and this is, at least, analogous, as we have said
  to the reproductive powers of physical organisms, and like these is in
  itself an unlimited, expansive power of repetition.  Human beliefs, like
  human desires, are naturally illimitable.  The generalizing instinct is
  native to the mind.  It is not the result of habitual experiences, as is
  commonly supposed, but acts as well on _single_ experiences, which are
  capable of producing, when unchecked, the most unbounded beliefs and
  expectations of the future.  The only checks to such unconditional
  natural beliefs are _other_ and equally unconditional natural beliefs, or
  the contradictions and limiting conditions of experience.  Here, then, is
  a close analogy, at least, to those fundamental facts of the organic
  world on which the law of Natural Selection is based; the facts, namely,
  of the "rapid increase of organisms," limited only be "the conditions of
  existence," and by competition in that "struggle for existence" which
  results in the "survival of the fittest."  As the tendency to an
  unlimited increase in existing organisms is held in check only by those
  conditions of their existence which are chiefly comprised in the like
  tendencies of other organisms to unlimited increase, and is thus
  maintained (so long as external conditions remain unchanged) in an
  unvarying balance of life; and as this balance adjusts itself to slowly
  changing external conditions, so, in the history of the individual mind,
  beliefs which sprang spontaneously from simple and single experiences,
  and from a naturally unlimited tendency to generalization, are held
  mutually in check, and in their harmony represent the properly balanced
  experiences and knowledges of the mind, and by adaptive changes are kept
  in accordance with changing external conditions, or with the varying
  total results in the memory of special experiences.  [pp. 115-116 in
  _Philosophical Discussions_]

Like most of the pragmatists, unfortunately, Wright did not have the good
fortune to be a graceful writer, but his analyses are always perceptive.
Peirce, who is widely regarded today as the most brilliant philosopher in
nineteenth-century America, thought that Wright was the only person smarter
than he was himself.

While looking up the passage above I noticed in another Wright essay an
appearance of Darwin-L's official word: "palaetiology":

  But teleology is a subtile poison, and lurks where least suspected.  The
  facts of the sciences which Dr. Whewell calls palaetiological, like the
  various branches of geology, and every actual concrete series of events
  which together form an object of interest to us, are apt, unless we are
  fully acquainted with the actual details through observation or by actual
  particular deductions from well-known particular facts and general laws,
  to fall into a dramatic procession in our imaginations.  The mythic
  instinct slips into the place of the chronicles at every opportunity.
  All history is written on dramatic principles." [originally in the _North
  American Review_, April 1865; pp. 70-71 in _Philosophical Discussions_]

I found this passage a bit unnerving, because it's remarkably similar to
a couple of things I have written myself; I'm going to have to go back and
look at Chauncey a little more carefully.

For more on Wright and the role of evolutionary ideas in the pragmatist
school of philosophy see:

  Madden, Edward H.  1963.  _Chauncey Wright and the Foundations of
  Pragmatism_.  Seattle: University of Washington Press.

  Wiener, Philip P.  1949.  _Evolution and the Founders of Pragmatism_.
  Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

There is also a exhaustive and penetrating biographical analysis (one page
long) by yours truly:

  O'Hara, R. J.  1994.  Vita: Chauncey Wright.  Brief life of an "indolent
  genius": 1830-1875.  _Harvard Magazine_, 96(4):42-43.

If anyone would like a reprint of this latter sketch (Harvard Magazine is an
alumni publication and probably doesn't appear in many libraries) just send
me a postal address privately (darwin@iris.uncg.edu) and I'll send you a
copy by snailmail.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:22>From ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Fri Jun  3 03:09:52 1994

Date: Thu, 2 Jun 94 22:09:48 HST
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: O'Hara on Wright

O'Hara does it again!

Actually, I now regret being so well-behaved in resisting a flamey
response to one of Bob's earlier posts in which he referred to
Chauncey as "a minor figure."  ["MINOR FIGURE!?! WHO YOU CALLIN'
MINOR, O'HARA?"  <manuscript post, never sent>]

Chauncey Wright is a personal hero of mine.  He was a correspondent
with Darwin; Darwin published at his own cost a pamphlet written by
Wright denouncing St. George Mivart.  (I always think of that pamphlet
as "The Dragon versus St. George.")  Wright's understanding of biology
was limited, but he was a very sharp and skeptical methodologist.  And
a noteworthy early advocate of a separation between religious and
scientific questions. As Bob's quote suggests, he seems to have been
the first of many to have "discovered" the analogy between natural
selection and trial-and-error learning.  Actually, I think I have a
separate quote making a similar point, but I'll check it.

(I've claimed in print that the first publication of trial and error
learning was Bain's 1859 _Emotions and the Will_, a date which will be
recognized as significant in the history of publications on natural
selection.  Don Campbell has referred me to a Bain scholar's writings
which place trail-and-error earlier, however.  I don't have that ref.
at hand, but can dredge it up if there's interest.)

Once one understands the closeness of the "Metaphysical Club"
involving Wright as senior member, James, Peirce, Oliver Wendell
Holmes (Jr) and others, it is quaint to find James writing in 1880 "A
remarkable parallel, which to my knowledge has never been noticed,
obtains between the facts of social evolution and
the mental growth of the race, on the one hand, and of zoological
evolution, as expounded by Mr. Darwin, on the other."  [Atlantic
Monthly, in which Wright had published very similar ideas 10 years
before.  Wright had had the good graces to die inbetweentimes.]

James had certainly learned of these ideas through Wright.  I have,
from the Houghton, a photocopy of a handwritten essay "On Wright's
Nihilism" written by Wm. James, with commentary back to him by Wright.
Once I figure out what the hell the topic was, I'll make it available
to others.  Wright is arguably the grandfather of [all that was good
in] pragmatism.

He had "irregular habits" and (so?) died in 1875 at the age of 45.  In
those days ones "irregular habits" were even less discussed than in
the 1890s and 19-teens.  So we know how James Mark Baldwin and John B.
Watson got canned, although it wasn't written about until recently.
But Wright's "irregularity" remains, as far as I know, a mystery.

Any insiders out there -- old Cambridge MA families -- with hints?

And yes, Bob, I'd love to see a copy of your exhaustive summary.

Ron Amundson
Dept. of Philosophy
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Hilo, HI    96720-4091


<10:23>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sun Jun  5 22:05:10 1994

Date: Sun, 05 Jun 1994 23:04:55 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: CFP: Historiography and time perception (fwd from HUMANIST)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

This call for papers recently appeared on the HUMANIST discussion group,
and it may be of interest to some Darwin-L members.  The volume sounds like
it will be quite interesting.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

--begin forwarded message--------------

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 8, No. 0046. Sunday, 5 Jun 1994.

Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 18:53:58 +0100 (GDT)
From: Edoardo Tortarolo <storstor@rs950.cisi.unito.it>
Subject: Call for papers: Time Perception in the Historical Writing

Notions and concepts of time belong to the core of history writing:
without recurring to some form of time reckoning and time shaping no
historiography is possible at all. Therefore, historians have always
conceptualised the succession and connection of events according to their
idea of time. A consistent concept of time characterises the historical
writing as such, even if it is seldom made explicit in the narrative. The
choice of events and situations deemed appropriate to be narrated in a
historical text depends to a very great extent indeed on the prevailing
notion of time. It is clear that different cultures have elaborated
different and sometimes extremely heterogeneous concepts of time. The
notion of time is of paramount importance in the formative stages of a
historiographic tradition when a canon is set and the underlying notion
of time assumes a normative function which subsequent historians are
likely to abide by. From the interpretation of the time structure a
historiographic tradition derives its peculiarity as an expression of a
cultural setting and its legitimacy as a means of collective identity.
Some questions therefore arise. What is the dominant notion of time
expressed in a historiographical tradition? What is the connection
between the beginning of a narrative and its conclusion? Is the
prevailing time structure entirely progressive or is the narrative based
on a cyclical, genealogical, or ecological time? Is the historiographical
tradition open-ended or is the narrator's age seen as the conclusion of
a time process? What is the connection between the notion of time
operating in the historiographical text and its religious, political, and
cultural setting?

We invite scholars interested in these topics to submit papers to the journal
_Storia della Storiografia_ (Dipartimento di storia, Universita di Torino,
via S. Ottavio 20, 10124 Torino, Italy; storstor@rs950.cisi.unito.it). A
monographic issue on Time Perception in the Historical Writing is due to
appear in 1995. Contributions dealing with Ancient Greece and with the
Chinese, Japanese, African, Islamic, and Latin American historiographical
traditions are particularly welcome.

                                              The editors
                                      Georg G. Iggers  Edoardo Tortarolo

--end forwarded message----------------


<10:24>From schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu  Mon Jun  6 03:41:14 1994

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 01:40:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Schoenemann <schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: essentialism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Just wanted to point out, in agreement with those arguing that this
emphasis on essentialism as a terrible sin has been overdone, that
cladistic analysis is an exercise in essentialism.  It amounts to a
search for (essential) characters (called "shared-derived-characters")
that will delineate phylogenetic groups of species.  Cladists do not
engage in "population thinking" when assigning "character states" to

Also, I would like to ask what Polly Winsor means when she states that:

>  Whoever insists that
>  they can "know" the essence of Homo sapiens can also
>  know the differences between male and female, life and
>  death.  Of course we do act like we know these on
>  practical level, statistically, and that rough-and-ready
>  knowledge is fine as long as we do NOT delude ourselves
>  into thinking the essence has some independent kind of
>  reality (which Agassiz insisted it did = God's thoughts).

How can this "rough-and-ready" knowledge work "on a practical level,
statistically," and NOT have "some independent kind of reality"?  I don't
see how this is possible.  Smoking and lung cancer only have a
statistical association.  Does this mean that the link between them also
doesn't have some independent kind of reality?

Towards the end, she writes that:

>  What evolution shows me is that the
>  essence of humanity is being a physical part of an
>  historical lineage.

Does it matter that the reconstruction of our historical lineage has been
accomplished through an essentialist paradigm?!  Certain features
(which have to do with modifying an ape skeletal system for bipedalism)
are, in effect, defining characteristics of at least the last 4 million
years of this lineage.  There may have been individuals in this
historical lineage which where not bipedal (and had skeletons
indistinguishable from the other African apes), but they would not be
classified as Hominids by paleontologists!

A more troubling problem with this statement, however, is that it means
there is no way to define "inhumanity" in any meaningful way.  Robin Fox
has made essentially this argument.  Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc., were
"a physical part of an historical lineage"  (i.e., the human lineage).
How can they be considered "inhuman"?  We are back to the supposedly
phantom "rough-and-ready" knowledge of what is human and what isn't, only
it doesn't seem to be so phantom with them.

P. Tom Schoenemann
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley


<10:25>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Mon Jun  6 16:52:09 1994

Date: Mon, 06 Jun 1994 17:52:02 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Revised list of antiquarian book dealers available
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

A new edition of Geoff Read's list of antiquarian book dealers in natural
history is now available on the Darwin-L gopher (rjohara.uncg.edu).  Many
thanks to Geoff for providing this valuable service, and for making his list
available to Darwin-L subscribers.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:26>From mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca  Mon Jun  6 17:24:18 1994

From: mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca (Mary P Winsor)
Subject: essentialism,cladism,human
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (bulletin board)
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 18:22:10 -0400 (EDT)

Warning - another long one I'm afraid

Tom Schoenemann says that cladistics is an exercise in essentialism.  I have no
doubt that many cladists fall into bad habits and make it exactly that, because
we become essentialists not by reading Plato's cave fable but by using words
without paying much attention to the imperfect relationship between words and

Population-thinking is something biologists ought to do at (around) the species
level.  If they are going to really do biology instead of stamp collecting, or
bolt-and-screw sorting, they must care about the metabolism, metamorphosis,
reproduction and so forth that explain what kinds of things bees and daisies
are.  Cladistic analysis is something done above the species level; it is
designed to help us sort out the historical connection between taxa which
diverged by branching, and at the species level the gene pool is a reticulating
network.  Above the species level you can't bring in cladistic reasoning until
you are sure hybidization isn't significant.

You don't use shared derived characters to define species membership, you use
it to compare degrees of relatedness between taxa you have already recognized
in one of the old-fashioned ways.  You make no claim at all that those
characters are "essential" in the sense of important, not even that they are
diagnostic (useful markers for identification).  You cannot legislate against
an individual being born to parents in that species thumbing its nose at the
field guides and varying in that character.

Population thinking does not make you give up recognizing kinds, it just helps
you cope with the fact that living individuals will elude absolute definition.

What did I mean in talking about the difference between male and female, life
and death, or the essence of Homo sapiens being knowable practically,
statistically, and not being matters of essence, independent reality?  I meant,
those are concepts which usually, in most cases, apply very well, but sometimes
there are cases when they don't work.  Most people and farm animals fall easily
into categories dead, alive, female, male.  There is a very robust reality
which explains why those concepts work.  I meant by "no independent reality"
that its reality isn't separate from the things themselves.   It has to do with
chromosomes, metabolism, hormones, and no law of the universe got broken when
the categories fail, when words fail us: here's a creature with both ovaries
and testes, here's one whose gonads make eggs one day and sperm the next,
here's a person whose brain is gone.  We as thinking speaking (and legislating,
ethical) people have to make decisions, invent new words, put things into
categories when they don't clearly fit, but those problems (defining life
and death) belong to us.  In debate it is common to speak as though we can
objectively decide difficult questions by appealing to essential qualities,
exactly as Plato did in discussing "the good".

I mislead you by my phrase "independent reality" - you thought I meant
independent of us, whereas I meant independent of the things.  We agree that
smoking sometimes generates cancer because of real (very physical, though
poorly known) events happening in some people's lungs.

In the context of a discussion of biological species, there can be no question
of whether the most evil individual you can name in living memory is
"essentially human"; if you accept that humans evolved from non-human
ancestors, then there was a period long ago when you would be making a purely
arbitrary decision to call the creatures "human" or "non-human" and maybe their
nastiness would be admissable evidence in a court back then.

When we move out of biology and want to make moral judgements, I'll join you
in calling Hitler "a despicable monster" "evil incarnate" "beastly except that
that's an insult to the beasts" and "inhuman."  It's a useful insult, a good
metaphor.  But in the moral sphere, experts like the Catholic and other
Christian churches would tell you he is just as much a part of the human race
as Mother Teresa and part of our moral challenge is to accept that instead of
avoiding the fact of our brotherhood with him.

If I follow you, you are suggesting that men who have committed genocide were
helped in doing so by their "rough-and-ready" assigning of humanity to their
own race and declaring other races not human.  I think the reverse is true,
that essentialism helped them and biology is on the side of the angels: biology
gives a physical basis to the moral claim that all men are brothers, whereas an
essentialist can believe that "Aryan" and "Jew" could be absolute categories
rather than statistical groupings.

Actually, though, I don't think philosophical analysis is particularly potent
against evil.

I did say "the essence of humanity is being a physical part of an historical
lineage" but I was speaking too loosely.  There is no "essence" but it is an
attractive term for emphasizing our feelings.  What I meant literally is "an
individual is part of the species Homo sapiens only if he or she came from
human parents"  Star Trek's data and all the wonderful other androids are not
human.  So much for androids, you complain the reconstruction of the historical
lineage has been badly done.  I say all those problems are behind us, even if
we arose by the hybridization of various hominids, the melding was complete and
we have been one biological species for a good long time now.

My apology for awkward formatting.

Polly Winsor  mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca


<10:27>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Tue Jun  7 09:20:25 1994

Date: Tue, 7 Jun 1994 10:22:35 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: Re: essentialism & cladism

Thank you Polly Winsor for your reaction to Tom Schoenemann's post.

        I would like to focus on part of this discussion; the idea that
cladistics is an exercise in essentialism because of the use of traits,
polarity of those traits and the suggestion that there are apomorphies.
While generally feasible as an argument this doesn't reflect my experiences
with taxonomy.  Rather there is a generalized embarassment that we rely on
type specimens and there is emphasis on having multiple herbarium sheets or
drawers of stuffed gophers (now there is a memory) and there is avid
attention to population polymorphism.

        Now there may be a rejoinder that even the ordering of type
specimen enhanced subsequently by population polymorphism demonstrates the
essentialist commitment.  A more charitable view is that once you have seen
an exemplar, e.g. "cow", there are certain idealizations of form that
correlate with other factors (food & habitat preference, interfertility
with similar forms, shared evolutionary history with similar forms...) that
are more difficult to "see" across a field.  When we forget that these are
correlations and that these correlations are stronger for some taxa than
others and stronger at some levels of idealization than others then we are
asking for foolish misunderstandings.

        Polly Winsor's reminds us that particular traits that are used in a
cladistic reconstruction are not necessarily the characters that are used
to identify the taxon in question.  This is correct.  In addition when we
do use a character state it would be bad form to pick only one state of a
polymorphic trait for the analysis.

        - Jeremy

Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu)
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110
(617) 736-4954
(617) 736-2405 FAX


<10:28>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Tue Jun  7 12:47:56 1994

Date: Tue, 07 Jun 1994 13:47:47 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: June 7 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro


1811: JOHN WILLIAM DONALDSON is born at London.  Donaldson will be privately
educated as a child, and his skill in Greek will win him admission to Trinity
College, Cambridge, in 1831.  At Cambridge he will devote himself to the study
of philology, and he will be instrumental in bringing the new historical and
comparative approaches of Franz Bopp and other Continental philologists to
the attention of English-speaking scholars.  Among his many publications will
be the influential _New Cratylus, or Contributions Towards a More Accurate
Knowledge of the Greek Language_, first published in 1839 and revised in 1850:
"The study of language is indeed perfectly analogous to Geology; they both
present us with a set of deposits in a present state of amalgamation which
however may be easily discriminated, and we may by an allowable chain of
reasoning in either case deduce from the _present_ the _former_ condition, and
determine by what causes and in what manner the superposition or amalgamation
has taken place."

1894 (100 years ago today): WILLIAM DWIGHT WHITNEY dies at New Haven,
Connecticut.  One of the leading Sanskrit scholars of the nineteenth century,
Whitney was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1827, and rose to become
Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology at Yale University.  His
_Sanskrit Grammar_ (1879) was the standard work in its field, and his popular
volume _The Life and Growth of Language_, first published in 1875, went
through several editions.  Whitney's elder brother, Josiah Dwight Whitney,
was an historical geologist, and served for many years as Sturgis-Hooper
Professor of Geology at Harvard University.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences.  For
more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (


<10:29>From mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca  Tue Jun  7 19:55:50 1994

From: mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca (Mary P Winsor)
Subject: Phil Sloan's Buffon articles
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (bulletin board)
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 1994 20:53:42 -0400 (EDT)

I mentioned recently Phil Sloan's work, showing that Buffon arrived at a
non-typological species concept, but I didn't give the reference.  These
are challenging and impressive articles:

P. R. Sloan, 1979. "Buffon, German biology, and the historical interpretation
of biological species," British Journal of the History of Science 12:109-153.

P. R. Sloan, 1987. "From logical universals to historical individuals: Buffon's
idea of biological species," in Scott Atran et al., Histoire du concept
d'espece dans les sciences de la vie. Fondation Singer-Polignac, Paris.

Buffon's view late in life (not to be confused with his early one) comes close
to the species-as-individual one of Ghiselin et al., but almost no one (except
Immanuel Kant, Blumenbach, Treviranus, if I remember rightly) seem to have paid
much attention to him.

Polly Winsor   mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca


<10:30>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Jun  8 11:17:33 1994

Date: Wed, 08 Jun 1994 12:16:32 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Amundson on O'Hara on Wright
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Many thanks to Ron "flamey" Amundson for his message on Chauncey Wright --
it's always a pleasure to discover another Wright-ophile.  ;-)

Ron mentions Alexander Bain, a nineteenth-century psychologist who held
views (so I understand) about trial-and-error learning that were somewhat
similar to natural selection.  Wright does mention Bain, and it seems
clear from what I've read that Wright considered his own application of
natural selection to ideas to be an extension/elaboration of Bain.  The
quotation Ron gives from William James is likewise remarkable: it is hard
to believe James hadn't gotten the idea of psychological selection from
Wright (inherited it), even though he doesn't acknowledge him.

Wright did have "irregular habits", but I don't know that I can add anything
more to the story.  My understanding was that he had recurrent problems with
alcohol and depression, and was said to work late at night and get up around
noon most of the time.  He was a lifelong smoker, he never married, and at
the time of his death in 1875 (age 45) he was apparently very overweight.
Not a good mixture of traits if one hoped for a long life in conventional
nineteenth-century society.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:31>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Thu Jun  9 15:39:14 1994

Date: Thu, 09 Jun 1994 16:39:01 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Minoan archeology news
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

The following news article just appeared on the CLASSICS list.  I thought
it might be of interest to some Darwin-L members.  The decipherment of
Linear A remains one of the great challenges of Classical linguistics.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Wed, 8 Jun 1994 14:05:00 CDT
From: Tatiana Summers <YL70ATS@LUCCPUA.BITNET>
Subject: New tablet w/ Linear A writing

A slightly popularized but nevertheless interesting article from Reuter
on new findings in Santorini.


Subject: Greek Bronze Age Site Surrenders Rare Treasures

         AKROTIRI, Greece (Reuter) - Archeologists working in this
Aegean port have discovered nine rare marble figurines and a
tablet which could help unlock the secrets of an ancient
         The spectacular finds were made by the archeological team
excavating at Akrotiri, on the island of Santorini, which
flourished as a Cycladic Bronze Age city some 3,600 years ago.
         Only about 20 early Cycladic marble figurines have ever been
         "The nine marble statuettes of standing men are about six
inches high and span the third millenium BC," said archeologist
Christos Doumas, who has overseen the Akrotiri excavations for
many years.
         Although the figurines are an impressive find, Doumas is
even more excited about another recent discovery -- a clay
tablet with Linear A writing, the mysterious scripture of Bronze
Age Greece, also found in Minoan Crete.
         The small number of surviving tablets has been considered
one of the main reasons why the language has never been
deciphered. The more of these tablets are found, the greater the
chance it will be read.
         "We had good reason to believe these tablets existed but we
were afraid they were ruined because there was no fire during
the destruction to bake the clay like in the Minoan palaces in
Crete," Doumas said.
         He said the tablet was found in a small room thought to be a
storing space and could be a sign or a list of goods.
         "There is always the hope that because these people were
great traders we may find a tablet with more than one language,
like the Rosetta stone, and finally understand Linear A," he
         The Rosetta stone, inscribed with three ancient scripts,
including Greek and hieroglyphics, was the key to understanding
the language of the Egyptian pharaohs.
         Archeologists believe the people of Akrotiri found the
marble figurines while clearing out debris after one of the
frequent earthquakes that hit the island and, suspecting they
were precious, put them on display at one of the city's squares.
         "They might have been obeying some collective memory that
told them these things came from their past, much like we today
cherish antiques," said archeologist Marisa Marthari, pointing
at the small stone mount where the statuettes were found.
         Just as Roman Pompei was preserved under lava, Akrotiri was
covered by ash, rock and earth that spouted from the island's
volcano at about 1625 BC, sealing the city until systematic
excavations began in 1967.
         This was an archeologist's dream come true -- a city with
streets, houses decorated with exquisite wall paintings, pottery,
furniture, tools and samples of writing.
         Unlike Pompei, excavations revealed no skeletons and few
precious items, indicating that the people of Akrotiri must have
fled shortly before the great disaster.
         Finds show that the people who lived here were skilful
craftsmen, inspired artists and successful traders who roamed
the Mediterranean with their ships and brought back goods from
Crete, Cyprus, Egypt and Syria.
         Most of the information about their elusive culture comes
from stunning wall paintings, now at the Athens Archeological
Museum, showing bright-colored flowers, birds and animals, such
as monkeys, that must have come from Africa.
         They depict scenes of ships sailing from port to port or
taking part in sea battles. Others show life-size bare-breasted
women with elaborate clothes and boys boxing or showing off
catches of fish.
         The most recently found wall painting is a procession of men
bearing gifts. It was found above a staircase in one of the
biggest houses in Akrotiri and has not yet been completely
pieced together, Doumas said.
         Santorini, which some have identified in the past with
Plato's lost continent of Atlantis, is a half-moon shaped island
with an active volcano.
         Its dramatic landscape, with traditional white-washed towns
perched on steep volcanic cliffs and vineyard-covered slopes
attract throngs of tourists every summer.
         Under a rusting roof, built quickly to protect the sensitive
finds from turning into mud with the first rain, thousands of
visitors walk the streets of Akrotiri, looking through doors and
windows into the two- and three-story houses at plaster replicas
of furniture and other objects.
         Doumas has been seeking government and private funding to
replace the old roof, a costly project but one that would not
only preserve the site but develop it into a major tourist
attraction, he said.
         "The cost of the shelter, which will turn the site into an
energy self-sufficient museum, could be met by the rising number
of visitors who would come to see it," Doumas said.
         Only a small part of the Bronze Age town has been unearthed,
but money is so scarce that despite the fact that the site is
sheltered, excavations last only two months a year, he said.

--end forwarded message----------------


<10:32>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Sun Jun 12 18:00:24 1994

Date: Sat, 11 Jun 1994 13:47:23 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: syst. in response to Darwin

Trying out a wonderful new Web* viewer (MacWeb) I revisited the UC Berkeley
Paleo server and found an essay** by P.D. Polly that members of Darwin list
are sure to be interested in.  The URL is:


to quote from the introduction;
        I will argue in this paper that classification did change
dramatically after the general acceptance of evolution and that it was the
introduction of grades and paraphyletic groups that characterized this
"revolution". Most histories of classification have concentrated on the
first uses of currently accepted taxonomic names or methods, without
considering the context in which they were used--a methodology that
artificially leads to a perception of continuity between pre- and
post-Darwinian taxonomy (Gregory, 1910; Simpson, 1945; Mayr, 1982; but see
Stevens, 1984). This, in combination with the continual use of ranks in
classification, which also give an artificial sense of stability, has led
to the perception that taxonomy has not changed to incorporate evolution.

        - Jeremy

*On the Mac there are currently 2 Web clients; NCSA Mosaic and MacWeb.  The
latter is somewhat slicker and supports "Forms."

**The essay comes from a dissertation; Polly, P.D. 1993. "Hyaenodontidae
(Creodonta, Mammalia) and the Position of Systematics in Evolutionary
Biology. Ph.D. Thesis. University of California-Berkeley.

Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu)
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110
(617) 736-4954
(617) 736-2405 FAX


<10:33>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sun Jun 12 22:56:49 1994

Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 23:56:36 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: "The pull of the recent"
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

I have heard geologists use the phrase "the pull of the recent" to refer
to the tendency for the greater amount of information available from the
recent past to magnify that period of time in our minds, and for the
comparative scarcity of information from the distant past to seemingly
compress earlier periods.  Can anyone supply me with a reference for
the origin of the phrase "the pull of the recent", or point me to any
discussion of the concept in the geological literature?  I have a feeling
the phrase was coined by David Raup, but I'm not sure.  (I also have the
feeling that I asked this question once before, but I can't now find the
answer.  Apologies if I am repeating myself.)

Many thanks.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:34>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Mon Jun 13 10:45:31 1994

Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 11:44:47 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: "The pull of the recent"
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I am not sure the origin of the "pull of the recent", but i do
know that the following article discussed the issue, from a perspecitive
of trying to date events in the archaeological record:
Blackwell, B.A., H.P. Schwarcz, 1993. Archaeochronology and scale.
In J.K. Stein, A.R. Linse, eds., _The Effects of Scale on Archaeological
and Geoscientific Perspectives_.  _Geological Society of America Special
Paper_ __283__: 39-58.


<10:35>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Mon Jun 13 11:09:17 1994

Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 12:08:45 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Buffon on the individuality of species
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

The following comes from Dick Burian, who was experiencing
technical difficulties.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)


On June 7, Polly Winsor wrote:

>I mentioned recently Phil Sloan's work, showing that Buffon arrived at a
>non-typological species concept, but I didn't give the reference.  These
>are challenging and impressive articles:
>P. R. Sloan, 1979. "Buffon, German biology, and the historical interpre-
>tation of biological species," British Journal of the History of Science
>P. R. Sloan, 1987. "From logical universals to historical individuals:
>Buffon's idea of biological species," in Scott Atran et al., Histoire
>du concept d'espece dans les sciences de la vie. Fondation Singer-
>Polignac, Paris.
>Buffon's view late in life (not to be confused with his early one)
>comes close to the species-as-individual one of Ghiselin et al., but
>almost no one (except Immanuel Kant, Blumenbach, Treviranus, if I
>remember rightly) seem to have paid much attention to him.
>Polly Winsor   mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca

   I would like to add a reference to another very useful volume
and a fine article specifically on Buffon's treatment of species
as individuals.  Most of the volume is in French, though some 7
of the 49 articles are in English.  The volume is *Buffon 88:  Actes
du Colloque international*, published by Vrin in 1992 under the di-
rection of Jean Gayon, edited by J.-C. Beaune, S. Benoit, J. Gayon,
J. Roger,  adn D. Woronoff.  Gayon's own contribution is the one
on the topic Polly mentioned -- and is fascinating.  It is entitled
"l'individuaite' de l'esp'ece : une th'ese transformiste?" (pp. 475-

Richard Burian          rmburian@vtvm1.cc.vt.edu
Science Studies                   or
Virginia Tech           rmburian@vtvm1.bitnet


<10:36>From IAP8EWH@MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU  Tue Jun 14 15:56:32 1994

Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 13:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Pull of the Recent
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Here are a couple of early references on the pull of the Recent.

Raup, D. M. 1978. Cohort analysis of generic survivorship. Paleobiology.
   4: 1-15.

Raup, D. M. 1979. Biases in the fossil record of species and genera.
   Bulletin of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Pittsburgh).
   13: 85-91.

Eric Holman, Psychology Dept., UCLA, iap8ewh@mvs.oac.ucla.edu


<10:37>From JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU  Wed Jun 15 00:27:45 1994

Date: 14 Jun 1994 22:25:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Darwin on Trial
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

     I am relatively new to this list, so let me place this
request rather tentatively. I plan to use the 1993 edition of
Phillip Johnson's _Darwin on Trial_ as one of the texts in my
introductory Philosophy of Science Courses for undergraduates at
Cal State Fullerton. I am wondering if others have done so, and
with what success. The 1991 edition of the book received a great
deal of attention during a period in which I was not a subscriber
to Darwin-L. So, if the book was discussed in this forum then, I
don't want people to have to repeat themselves. Nevertheless, the
new edition does include an interesting Epilogue with responses
to Gould and other reviewers. I would greatly appreciate comments
by those of you who have read the book and perhaps have had
experience in using it as a teaching tool. Please do so off-list
if you prefer.
     Johnson obviously relies too heavily upon Popper, but I
don't want to rehash a discussion that may already have taken
place before I subscribed. On the other hand, if the book hasn't
yet surfaced here, I think it should and I'll gladly provide my
take on it.

Jim Hofmann
Philosophy Dept California State University Fullerton



<10:38>From OMARTI@TIFTON.CPES.PEACHNET.EDU  Wed Jun 15 07:07:41 1994

Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 07:56:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial
To: Multiple recipients of list <darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

On Wed, 15 Jun 1994 00:35:57 -0500 <JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU> said:
>     I am relatively new to this list, so let me place this
>request rather tentatively. I plan to use the 1993 edition of
>Phillip Johnson's _Darwin on Trial_ as one of the texts in my
>introductory Philosophy of Science Courses for undergraduates at

    I can't begin to tell you how much this distresses me.  Of all
    the texts that could have been chosen, you pick this one.  Is
    your aim to promote Johnson's viewpoint as one having merit and
    worthy of study by philosophy students?  A better text would be
    _Creationism on Trial_ by Langdon Gilkey.  Gilkey's discussion
    of the creationism/evolution issue is better.  He also has a good
    section on the 'assumptions' of science.  Johnson's book is mostly
    standard creationism in new clothing, presented by a new face.
    You would do better to study selected essays by Stephen Jay Gould,
    most of which appeared in _Natural History_ magazine.  Gould reviews
    Johnson's book in a _Scientific American_ essay.  Your students will
    learn more about the philosophy of science (and they will learn some
    science too) from Gould than they will from Johnson.  Please let
    us know what you eventually decide to do.

                O.G. Marti

Orville G. Marti, Jr.           P.O. Box 748
Microbiologist                  Tifton, Ga.  31793
Phone: 912-387-2328 (office)   BITNET: OMARTI@tifton
Phone: 912-387-2350 (lab)      INTERNET: OMARTI@tifton.cpes.peachnet.edu
Fax:   912-387-2321
      The more books you read, the more stupid you become.
                                            ... Mao Tse Tung
      Read your Bible every day.
                    ...Jerry Falwell


<10:39>From JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU  Wed Jun 15 21:29:32 1994

Date: 15 Jun 1994 13:46:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Darwin on Trial
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

In response to my inquiry about Phillip Johnson's _Darwin on
Trial_, Marti asks:

     "Is your aim to promote Johnson's viewpoint as one
     having merit and worthy of study by philosophy

Actually, my aim is not to promote Johnson, but to motivate my
students to improve their ability to analyze arguments and
recognize methodological assumptions. Never fear, they read their
share of Gould, Michael Ruse, Overton etc. as well. I am hoping
that they will spot both the weak and strong points of Johnson's
book. For example, following Popper, he more or less assumes that
all scientific reasoning is akin to what goes on in (idealized)
physics with its replicability of initial conditions and emphasis
on successful predictions. Secondly, his discussion of
"scientific naturalism" should provoke some valuable discussion.
Johnson tries to make atheism a prerequisite for evolutionary
theory, and it will be worthwhile for students to pick this
argument apart. In the process, they hopefully will get a better
grasp of what holds a scientific community together.

Jim Hofmann


<10:40>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Thu Jun 16 11:35:49 1994

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 11:20:48 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

you are playing with fire if you hope the students will all get
what you want them to get from the book.  there will be a significant
number that figure because you have assigned it, it must be gospel
these people will have their preconceptions reinforced which will make
it that much harder to make them see sense in future.


<10:41>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Thu Jun 16 13:15:51 1994

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 14:15:36 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: World Wide Web pages on the historical sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Jeremy Ahouse recently mentioned several documents available via the
World Wide Web that related to our discussions of the history of systematics.
I thought I would add another couple of items that I recently came across
and that may be of interest to some of the members of Darwin-L.  Both
are also World wide Web documents, and I should explain for those who
are not familiar with it that the World Wide Web (WWW) is another Internet
service (like gopher, for example) that allows you to connect to hypertext
documents scattered across the Internet.  Just as many people have begun
to make all kinds of information available via gopher (the Darwin-L gopher
on rjohara.uncg.edu is an example), so also many people have begun to make
various texts and databases available via the WWW.  There are various
browsers available for the WWW; Mosaic is one, LYNX is another.  To find
out if any of these are available for your own use you will have to ask
your local computing center.

The first WWW site that may be of interest to historical scientists is
the LABYRINTH medieval studies server, which contains a variety of materials
relating to the history of texts (including some very lovely illuminated
manuscripts).  The LABYRINTH is located at:


(This "URL" [universal resource locator] will not make much sense if
you're not familiar with the WWW.  Try asking your local computer center
for more information.)

The LABYRINTH is a good example, I think, of how we may be able to make
all sorts of specialized information available, both for teaching and
for research, in the future.

The second WWW site is a new server for the study of Roman Law.  (We have
had several discussions from time to time on Darwin-L about the transmission
of legal forms as an historical process, and about the influence of
evolutionary ideas on Oliver Wendell Holmes and Henry Maine.)  The following
is forwarded directly from HISLAW-L:

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 14:43:16 +0200
From: Thomas Ruefner <zxmog07@STUDSERV.ZDV.UNI-TUEBINGEN.DE>
Subject: WWW pages on Roman Law now available

Hello out there,

The first pages containing sources of Roman Law are now available in
http://www.jura.uni-sb.de/Rechtsgeschichte/Ius.Romanum/origo.html you
will find the text of D. 1.1.1 with the Casus by Vivian and the Glossa
by Accursius. Biographical information about Ulpianus (the author of
D.1.1.1) as well as Accursius and Vivianus has been added. A number of
places in the Corpus Iuris which Accursius refers to in his glossa are
also available and are connected to the text of the glossa via
hyperlinks. In the next days and weeks, additional texts will be added.
If you are interested in helping to make this service useful by typing
in some texts, drop me a line.

For reasons of style, the homepage and the biographical information
given on the jurists is written in Latin. As I have not been trained to
fluently write Latin, I am afraid there are some terrible mistakes in
these texts. Please tell me about any corrections necessary.

Thank you, Thomas Ruefner

|   Thomas Ruefner // Reutlinger Strasse 14 // 72072 Tuebingen/Germany   |
| Tel.: (49) 7071/31594 // E-Mail: ruefner@studserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de |
|     Roemisches Recht im W3! // Roman Law in the W3! // Information:    |
|           finger zxmog07@studserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de | more          |

--end forwarded message----------------

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:42>From ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Thu Jun 16 13:54:17 1994

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 94 8:54:06 HST
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial

I understand the intention, but assigning Darwin on Trial in a
course intended to cover evolutionary biology is like assigning
Velikovsky in a course on philosophy of physics.  Or Rupert
Sheldrake (a Newage quasi-mystic) on philosophy of mind.
Presenting science and pseudoscience as _alternatives_ (as this
plan seems to do) is not, to my mind, pedogogically sound.  On the
other hand, Feyerabend (rest his soul, which he surely thought was
equally likely to exist, not exist, reincarnate, and not
reincarnate) would approve.



<10:43>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Fri Jun 17 10:49:51 1994

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 11:49:33 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Many thanks to Eric Holman and Bonnie Blackwell for the citations to
"the pull of the Recent" as a concept in geology.  The original citations
appear to be:

  Raup, David M.  1977.  Removing sampling biases from taxonomic diversity
  data.  _Journal of Paleontology_, 51(Suppl. to #2, pt. 3): 21.  [Abstract]

  Raup, David M.  1978.  Cohort analysis of generic survivorship.
  _Paleobiology_, 4:1-15.

The basic idea is that, because we have much greater knowledge of the
diversity of living organisms than of extinct organisms, it may appear
statistically that there was a burst of speciation in the Recent period (the
one we're in now), when in fact that burst is just an artifact of sampling.
In other words, for some given clade there might be 10 species known from one
geological period, 10 from the next, and 50 in the present.  The increase
from 10 to 50 may simply be a result of the fact that we have much better
information about the present that we do about the past.  (There are almost
certainly other classificatory artifacts involved here, and Raup acknowledges
this; I'm just giving a simplified version of the idea.)

It occurs to me that this same phenomenon could occur in historical
linguistics as well.  Does it sound familiar to any of our linguists?
I can imagine, for example a (naive) linguist comparing extinct and extant
languages, and claiming that there are many more dialects today than there
were in the past -- but this claim would arise from the fact that the full
range of variation in extinct languages known only from a few written samples
is not seen, whereas dialect diversity is much more well attested in our
own period (the linguistic Recent).  Have arguments like this ever been
advanced, or has this phenomenon ever been mentioned?  Perhaps the claims
of language purists, who say that people all used to speak better (standard)
English in the past, whereas now there is a lot of sloppy usage, is such
an example?

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:44>From RHRSBI@ritvax.isc.rit.edu  Fri Jun 17 11:09:13 1994

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 12:08:49 -0400 (EDT)
From: RHRSBI@ritvax.isc.rit.edu
Subject: Re: teaching phylogenies
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I missed the original letter which prompted the reply to which I'm responding,
but I have had a similar teaching experience that may be relevant.

I gave the students in my Vertebrate Evolution course a collection of 15 tacks,
nails, and screws of various types.  Some nails were entirely smooth, some
(dry-wall nails), had slight to heavy ridges, and some of the screws had
threads going all the way to the head while others stopped at the neck.  Some
screws were slot-headed and some were philips.  I asked the students to
develop two different cladograms for the set.  It was up to their discretion to
decide which traits were primitive and which were derived, but they had to use
them consistently. They then had to compare each cladogram and determine which
was more parsimonious.  Since there was no obvious "correct" answer, the
students  focused (and were graded) on methodology.  The students enjoyed it
and I felt that the exercise was highly successful.  The students came away
with an understanding of the terminology and methodology, and had an
appreciation of both the importance and the difficulty in distinguishing
primitive from derived.  Most had never heard of Occam's razor, but came away
with an understanding of how one begins to choose between competing hypotheses.

Bob Rothman
Rochester Institute of Technology


<10:45>From ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Fri Jun 17 13:47:31 1994

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 94 8:47:25 HST
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?)

With some trepidation, especially in light of the recent
discussion of _Darwin on Trial_, let me offer another example of
"the pull of the recent."  I have before me a flier for a Bible
Prophecy Crusade.  (Don't ask.)  Among the many "evidences"
offered that we are now in the Last Days is the following:


Earthquakes are rapidly increasing!

1800-1850 --     561 per year
1850-1900 --   1,577 per year
1900-1950 --  17,470 per year
1950-1976 -- 108,163 per year



What more can I say?

Have a nice day.



<10:46>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Fri Jun 17 14:46:51 1994

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 94 14:46 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Bob, my first response is that I'm not aware of an effect of the
'pull of the recent' as you describe, in historical linguistics.
Among linguists, language extinction generally seems to get as much
play as fragmentation. Yet, a glance at any classic Stammbaum sure gives
the impression of ever greater diversity, doesn't it?

There's a very different sort of 'pull of the recent' thriving
in some theoretical quarters, however: if it wasn't published
in the last couple of decades, it's probably not worth looking at.
This is not a common attitude among historical linguists, but
it's not unusual amongst those whose interests are synchronic.

Tom Cravens


<10:47>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Fri Jun 17 17:54:38 1994

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 18:54:26 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner away for a week
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

I will be away during the next week at the annual meeting of the Pacific
Division of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) in
San Francisco, so it may be a few days before I can reply to any personal
messages or messages about Darwin-L business.  If any Darwin-L members are
planning to be at the meeting please do say hello -- I would be delighted to
meet you.  I will be spending most of my time at the session called "New
Perspectives on the History of Life" which will be held partly at the meeting
site (San Francisco State University) and partly at the California Academy of

We have had a fair number people join Darwin-L in the last couple of weeks,
and we have just passed the 600-subscriber mark.  I continue to be grateful
to all of you for your interest and participation, and for the remarkable
degree of interdisciplinarity you all represent.  New members might like to
know that I send out a welcome message at the beginning of each month, along
with a summary of the commonly used listserv commands, and that for more
information about the group and to browse the logs of our past discussions
you may connect to the Darwin-L gopher on rjohara.uncg.edu (just type "gopher
rjohara.uncg.edu" on most mainframes).  The Darwin-L gopher also contains
links to a variety of other network resources in the historical sciences,
from linguistics to archeology to geology to systematics.

Everybody be good while I'm gone and don't break anything.  =;-)

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.


<10:48>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sat Jun 18 00:01:46 1994

Date: Sat, 18 Jun 1994 01:01:34 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: June 18 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro


1858: CHARLES DARWIN receives a manuscript in the post from Alfred Russell
Wallace, who is travelling in the Malay Archipelago, titled "On the tendency
of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type."  Later in the day
he writes to Charles Lyell, initiating the chain of events that will lead to
the publication of the _Origin of Species_ in November of the following year:

  My dear Lyell
    Some year or so ago, you recommended me to read a paper by Wallace in
  the Annals, which had interested you & as I was writing to him, I knew this
  would please him much, so I told him.  He has to day sent me the enclosed &
  asked me to forward it to you.  It seems to me well worth reading.  Your
  words have come true with a vengeance that I shd be forestalled.  You said
  this when I explained to you here very briefly my views of "Natural
  Selection" depending on the Struggle for existence. -- I never saw a more
  striking coincidence.  if Wallace had my M.S. sketch written out in 1842
  he could not have made a better short abstract!  Even his terms now stand
  as Heads of my Chapters.
    Please return me the M.S. which he does not say he wishes me to publish;
  but I shall of course at once write & offer to send to any journal.  So all
  my originality, whatever it may amount to, will be smashed.  Though my Book,
  if it will ever have any value, will not be deteriorated; as all the labour
  consists in the application of the theory.
    I hope you will approve of Wallace's sketch, that I may tell him what you
    My dear Lyell
      Yours most truly
        C. Darwin

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences.  For
more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (


<10:49>From VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu  Sun Jun 19 10:38:43 1994

Date: Sun, 19 Jun 1994 11:40:00 -0500 (EST)
From: VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
Subject: Lord Monboddo
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University at Buffalo

I would appreciate any information or references about Lord Monboddo,
a Scottish enlightnement figure.  I am particuarly interested in his
belief that orang utangs should be considered men and how his views
were received in his own time.
Thank you  People may reply privately if this does not seem suitable
for a discussion on Darwin-L.
Sherrie Lyons


<10:50>From margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk  Mon Jun 20 05:09:46 1994

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 11:05:11 BST
From: Margaret Winters <margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

The pull of the recent - or at least one form of it - shows
up in the reconstruction of Indo-European (and probably other
proto-languages) as a claim for a single dialect showing no
variation (regional, social, etc.).  Some linguists (and I
think they are right) are now very conscious of the artificiality
of this reconstructed language and know that it comes from
lack of information rather than any theoretical claims for
monolithic languages in the past.  Old French (I know, a shallow
time depth since the best information is only from about AD 1100)
shows glimpses of regional and even some social variation,
but not, of course, anywhere near enough.  And the further back
we go, naturally, the less information we have.

I also like what Bob suggested about the degeneracy of modern speech,
particularly in the mouths of modern youth.  And of course we find
yearning for the good old times (including proper manners and
respect for language) pretty much as far back as we have texts.

Margaret Winters


<10:51>From buchignani@hg.uleth.ca  Mon Jun 20 07:44:42 1994

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 06:46:08 MST
From: Norman Buchignani <buchignani@hg.uleth.ca>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: RE: Lord Monboddo

Lord Monboddo (James Burnett) was a deviant among his Scots moral
philosopher buddies in seeing a rather fuzzy line between humans
and apes. I believe he somewhere even gives some credence to there
being people with tails. I think you will find the relevant comparison
between orangs and humans in the first vol of his (1773) On the Origin
and Progress of Language.

On Monboddo himself, see E. Cloyd (1972) James Burnett: Lord Monboddo.
Oxford UP.

Norman Buchignani


<10:52>From JMARKS@YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU  Mon Jun 20 13:00:35 1994

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 13:43:26 EDT
From: Jon Marks <JMARKS@YaleVM.CIS.Yale.edu>
Organization: Yale University
Subject: Monboddo
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

In response to the query about Lord Monboddo that came over this morning (and
which I have already erased, so if it wasn't over Darwin-L, just ignore this
message), he certainly did say that orangutans are human.
    But obviously that's not the whole story.  The reference I have for him
saying it is Of the Origin and Progress of Language, 2d ed., Vol I (1774),
e.g., p. 360: "That my facts and arguments are fo convincing as to leave no
doubt of the humanity of the Orang Outang, I will not take upon me to fay..."
At the time, "Orang Outang" meant ape, "ape" meant tailless primate (thus
including some cercopithecines like the "Barbary ape"), and it was arguable
whether the "ruder races" were in fact human, although the papal bull of
Julius II (Rex Harrison in "The Agony and the Ecsasy") had declared Native
Americans to be.
    On the question of what the apes were, there was a lot of information of
highly variable quality.  Monboddo was adopting a position antithetical to
Buffon, who had synthesized the available data, and concluded apes were not
human.  (And Monboddo's sources are Buffon's.)  Linnaeus adopted a position in
the middle, placing the more anthropomorphic descriptions of apes in Homo
troglodytes, and the less so in Simia satyrus.
    Monboddo argues (p. 347) "But I think the Pope, by his bull, decided the
controverfy well, when he gave it in favour of the humanity of the poor
Americans:  And, for the fame reafon, we ought to decide, that the Orang
Outangs are men."
    Hope this helps.

          --Jon Marks


<10:53>From ICMKC@ASUVM.INRE.ASU.EDU  Mon Jun 20 13:43:35 1994

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 11:33:22 -0700 (MST)
From: "K. COe" <ICMKC@asuvm.inre.asu.edu>
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I have been reading with some interest the discussion of Darwin
on Trial.  I have read the book, as well as several other things
written by the same author, and would agree with the criticism.
Perhaps the point is this.  What is the purpose of education? If
part of our role is to teach students to evaluate arguments, then
we should expose them to arguments and teach them to identify
fallacies, weaknesses, and so on.  Much of what we read in
daily life is poorly written and poorly thought-out.  Students
do need to recognize the difference between something that is
well-conceptualized and argued and something that is not.  Learning
to do so was one of the most exciting parts of my own education.
It bothers me to only expose students to things we happen to agree
with. Life is full of poorly reasoned thought, some of which is
written in a sophisticated manner.  University students should
learn to tell the difference.  Kathryn Coe/Hispanic Research Center/
Arizona State University.


<10:54>From wiedeman@altair.acs.uci.edu  Mon Jun 20 13:56:19 1994

To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Monboddo
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 11:56:22 -0700
From: Lyle Wiedeman <wiedeman@altair.acs.uci.edu>

I suppose everyone on this list knows this already :-) but I
was amused by the etymology of "Orang Outang" (orangutan):

orang-utan \e-'ra{nj}-e-,ta{nj}, -,tan\ n
[Malay orang hutan, fr. orang man + hutan forest]

	Lyle Wiedeman                 Office of Academic Computing
	wiedeman@uci.edu              Univ. Calif. Irvine
	                              Irvine, CA  92717
	(714) 856-8718                FAX (714) 725-2069
	WWW - http://www.oac.uci.edu/indiv/wiedeman/home.html


<10:55>From SHANKSN@ETSUSERV.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU  Mon Jun 20 15:03:53 1994

Organization:  East Tennessee State University
To: "K. COe" <ICMKC@asuvm.inre.asu.edu>, darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 16:01:27 GMT-5
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial

While I cannot speak for teachers at other universities and colleges,
it has been my experience that here in Tennessee (about 90 miles or
so from the site of the Scopes trial) any excuse not to understand
Darwin is readily seized upon by my students (a good number of whom,
on the basis of their pastor's say-so, accept the equation "Evolution
= satanism").  Like it or lump it, what people find reasonable often
depends on what other beliefs they have -- and if the students'
beliefs are sufficiently different from the teacher's, it can
sometimes be hard indeed to persuade them that a particular passage
or essay is badly reasoned (even in an unsophisticated manner).  I'm
afraid that I wouldn't bet on students' seeing (perhaps by a
"natural light") the errors of creationist ways.  BTW, I do not blame
my students.  Science is so badly mis-taught in our university's
catchment area that I can only say with Chaucer, commenting this time
on science teachers as opposed to a corrupt clergy, "...if gold
ruste, what shall iren do?"  Coach Moose and his colleagues have much
to answer for.  Kathryn Coe's sentiments seem to me to be in the
spirit of the enlightenment -- the battle for which is still being
fought in some regions of the US.

Another stumbling block for the itinerant educator who whould show
his/her charges really badly reasoned texts is the spirit of
relativism which can also be found in the classroom.  "Aren't all
views equally good", "Science is just a religion too" etc etc.

Niall Shanks


<10:56>From VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu  Mon Jun 20 15:55:34 1994

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 16:56:47 -0500 (EST)
From: VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University at Buffalo

I am afraid I have to concur with Niall Shanks view.  It is hard to
have a resonable discussion about Darwinism vs creationism when many
students do not know what a cell is, a molecule etc.  The poor science
teaching is not just in the south.  I taught biology in calfironia and
Maryland and the illiteracy in regard to basic biology was quite depressing.
Much better to have readings by someone like 'gould as previous list
members have suggested.
On another topic, many thanks to all who have responded to my query about
Lord Monboddo.  It has helped.
Sherrie Lyons


<10:57>From bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Mon Jun 20 22:34:03 1994

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 17:34:17 -1000 (HST)
From: Joel Bradshaw <bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu>
Subject: Re: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Fri, 17 Jun 1994, Tom Cravens wrote:

> Bob, my first response is that I'm not aware of an effect of the
> 'pull of the recent' as you describe, in historical linguistics.
> Among linguists, language extinction generally seems to get as much
> play as fragmentation. Yet, a glance at any classic Stammbaum sure gives
> the impression of ever greater diversity, doesn't it?
> There's a very different sort of 'pull of the recent' thriving
> in some theoretical quarters, however: if it wasn't published
> in the last couple of decades, it's probably not worth looking at.
> This is not a common attitude among historical linguists, but
> it's not unusual amongst those whose interests are synchronic.

I agree with both points, but wish to elaborate on the second.
Linguistics is still a long way from achieving the kind of "evolutionary
synthesis" that geneticists, systematists, and palaeontologists are
reputed to have achieved in biology (according to Ernst Mayr 1982, 1991).

On the one hand, there are sociolinguists who regard languages as
inherently full of variation and who are well imbued with population
thinking. They are very much affected by the pull of the recent, since
they depend on masses of recorded data whose collection and analysis
would have been impossibly difficult before the days of tape recorders
and computers. They tend to work with actual speech, especially
nonstandard varieties. For historical linguists inclined toward
sociolinguistics, the central questions are how and why innovations arise
and spread through speech communities. The outline of an "evolutionary
synthesis" between sociolinguistics and historical linguistics was offered
in a work by Weinreich, Labov, and Herzog in 1968 and it has continued to
develop since then. For sociolinguists, language behavior is more cultural
than genetic.

On the other hand, there are generative, autonomous linguists who regard
languages as complete, self-contained systems whose essence is obscured by
the smoke of variable and imperfect manifestations of that essence. They
tend to study crucial aspects of a single holotype that is usually a
well-known, standardized language that has already achieved a high degree
of idealized invariability. Their job is to manufacture a theoretical
mechanism that will generate all and only the perfect manifestations of
that invariant essence. It must make absolute, not probabilistic,
predictions. For historical linguists working within a generative
framework, the central question is how and why the perfect (mental)
genotype of any given language changes over time when it seems capable of
maintaining its perfectly invariant self in spite of such highly degraded
phenotypic manifestations. The current idea seems to be that the universal
human genotype contains a highly systematized language component that
allows parametric variation that accounts for the differences among the
world's languages. The parameters vary in response to different linguistic
environments. In this case, one would have to say that human language is
the genotype, while individual languages are the phenotypes. But for
generativists, neither is inherently variable. For generativists,
language is independent of behavior (autonomous) and more genetic than

I apologize for misrepresentations, for mixed metaphors, and for the
obviously strained attempt to recast historical linguistic questions in
what may sound like a parody of biological vocabulary. (I don't apologize
for my obviously partisan sympathies.) Is there any hope for an
evolutionary synthesis in linguistics any time soon? I think the idea of
parametric variation provides a pathway for generativists eventually to
find a way to escape their essentialism and their mechanistic determinism
and to begin to describe real variability not just across languages, but
also within languages and within both monolingual and multilingual
individual repertoires. But I don't see much movement in that direction.

Joel Bradshaw


<10:58>From PJ015@LAMPETER.AC.UK  Tue Jun 21 05:17:34 1994

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 10:45 GMT
To: DARWIN-L <DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Constructivism in archaeology

Hello everybody,

I am currently writing an article about Constructivism in archaeology.
By this I refer to recent approaches within the Sociology of Scientific
Knowledge (Social Constructionism) as well as to Radical Constructivism
as a psycho/epistemological standpoint.

The main idea is that knowledge about the past is constructed and does not
reflect a past *as it really was*. At least we can't possibly tell, since
we can't transcend our own historicity.

I would appreciate very much if you could let me know any articles or books
on that topic, or possibly for related subjects such as history. I am aware
already of the work of scholars such as Hayden White or David Lowenthal who
emphasise contemporary interests in the past or contemporary forms of writing
the past. But are there works using explicitly Constructivist Theory? (There
are two articles in the German book series DELFIN edited in Siegen, but that's
all I have come across *so far*).

Cornelius Holtorf,
MA Programme in Archaeological Theory
University of Wales, Lampeter


<10:59>From PJ015@LAMPETER.AC.UK  Tue Jun 21 05:17:36 1994

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 10:51 GMT
To: DARWIN-L <DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

		This is to announce a new e-mail discussion group

Arch-theory list is for discussions and exchange of information in
archaeological theory in Europe: social theory, material culture,
epistemology, the past in the present, cultural identity,  perspectives
from anthropology and history ...
Contributions are welcome in French, German, English.

We are devoted to scholarly and friendly discussion of anything relating
to archaeological theory.

				Y	O	U

      A     R     E           I     N     V     I     T     E     D


			To join please send to


			     the command

            "join arch-theory [first_name second_name]".


		Thanks, and mail you again on the list!


<10:60>From peter@usenix.org  Tue Jun 21 06:43:10 1994

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 04:43:14 PDT
From: peter@usenix.org (Peter H. Salus)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial

Adding to Niall and Sherrie's notes on education,
years ago my spouse and I were teaching a course
on Animal Communication at the University
of Toronto.  We had just shown a film on web-
spinning spiders when a student asked how the
spiders knew how to do that if "their mothers
don't teach them."  Sigh.


Peter H. Salus	#3303	4 Longfellow Place	Boston, MA 02114
	+1 617 723-3092


<10:61>From lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu  Tue Jun 21 06:54:40 1994

From: "William S. Lynn" <lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Darwin-L [Monboddo & Orang Outang]
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 06:55:09 -0500

Hello Darwiners,

I'm a bit perplexed with the discussion of orangutans and Lord Monboddo. What
did Monboddo mean by claiming orangutans are human? Was this a taxonomic
argument? How is this connected with the papal bull? Is there a theological
and/or moral argument behind Lord Monboddo's classification?

Thanks, Bill

William S.Lynn
Geography, University of Minnesota
414 Social Science
Minneapolis, MN  55455
612/625-0133 [lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu]


<10:62>From buchignani@hg.uleth.ca  Tue Jun 21 09:16:48 1994

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 08:18:11 MST
From: Norman Buchignani <buchignani@hg.uleth.ca>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: RE: Darwin-L [Monboddo & Orang Outang]

"William S. Lynn" <lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu>notes:

>I'm a bit perplexed with the discussion of orangutans and Lord Monboddo. What
>did Monboddo mean by claiming orangutans are human? Was this a taxonomic
>argument? How is this connected with the papal bull? Is there a theological
>and/or moral argument behind Lord Monboddo's classification?

There was enormous moral significance in Monboddo's stance. Just about everyone
in sight in philosophy and biology were committed to a sharp distinction
between all humans [including those deemed biologically or culturally
"degraded" like Inuit and Hottentots] and mere animals. This distinction seemed
to be rather clearly felt to be necessary to make the kinds of universal
arguments about humankind that were so high on the agenda then: about
individual rights, innate human capacities and desires, the immorality of
slavery and genocide, the essential equality of all people etc. It also seemed
that social theorists may have been attracted to this argument because it made
"human nature" more or less a constant, allowing them to seek explanations of
sociocultural variation in the realms of the social, cultural, historical and

Norman Buchignani
University of Lethbridge


<10:63>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Tue Jun 21 09:21:21 1994

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 09:20 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Just a very brief response to Joel Bradshaw's interesting comments,
lest non-linguists on the list be left with the impression that
historical linguists as a whole are fully represented in the two
categories of sociolinguistic and generative approaches. (Let's see just
how much the other historical linguists on the list agree with the
following, oversimplified and telegraphic as it is!)

In my experience, the vast majority of those who would call themselves
historical linguists are highly attentive to the findings of socio-
linguistics, and variously willing to incorporate in their bag of tools
the useful bits of generative work. The numerical majority is neither
sociolinguistic nor generative, however (IME), but tends to be non-school
(non -ist), in principle--if not always in practice--open to whatever
approach promises to be most likely to shed light on the dynamics of the
language change problem at hand.

Given that generative linguistics is designed from the outset to examine
an idealized non-variant stasis, generative historical linguists are
rather thin on the ground, and generative analysis of historical problems
is often unsatisfying to those who not only recognize the existence of, but
hope to incorporate overtly, the multivariant interrelated parameters
(diastratic, diatopic, diachronic) of real-world language.

Oops, I'm starting to go polemic, so I better stop. The basic point,
I suppose, is that historical linguistics is a sort of roof label
covering a multitude of approaches. And--personal bias here--some appear
far more promising than others in coming to grips with the complex
problems of language change.

Tom Cravens


<10:64>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Tue Jun 21 09:43:38 1994

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 10:46:10 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: Biol Metaphor

Browsing the remainders section of the Harvard Bookstore yesterday I found
a book that might appeal to some of you.  My libraries catalog describes it

              TITLE: Biological metaphor and cladistic classification : an
                      interdisciplinary perspective / edited by Henry M.
                      Hoenigswald and Linda F. Wiener.
        PUBLICATION: Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.
        DESCRIPTION: xiii, 286 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
        CALL NUMBER: QH83 .B575 1987
              NOTES: Papers from a symposium on Biological Metaphor Outside
                      Biology, held Mar. 4-5, 1982 and an Interdisciplinary
                      Round-Table on Cladistics and Other Graph Theoretical
                      Representations, held Apr. 28-29, 1983, both at the
                      American Philosophical Society's Library in Philadelphia.

        A number of essays address issues in language tree reconstruction
directly.  Others address trees in general, biological examples (Zoology
and Botany), and manuscript reconstruction.

        I have only briefly examined the contents.  I did read Sankoff's
essay on "computational complexity and cladistics" on the train home.  It
is a beginning and motivation for learning more about constraints on trees.
(But much too short.)

Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu)
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110
(617) 736-4954
(617) 736-2405 FAX


<10:65>From mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca  Tue Jun 21 10:08:38 1994

From: mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca (Mary P Winsor)
Subject: soc.construct.of history
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (bulletin board)
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 11:07:30 -0400 (EDT)

Cornelius Holtorf asks for references on the social construction of
history (impossible to really recapture what really happened).  Led
from Peter Novick's That Noble Dream: the "Objectivity Question" and the
American Historical Profession to J. T. Kloppenberg's review of it in
the American Historical Review 94(1989):1011-1030, I intend to read
(but have not!): Richard J. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and
Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis (Philadelphia 1983).
Polly Winsor mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca

p.s. reminder, or note to new people on the list: it is a courtesy to
put your email address in the text of your posting, since some systems
do not include the automated one, giving only the Darwin-l address.

Darwin-L Message Log 10: 21-65 -- June 1994                                 End

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