JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

[Classical taxomomies]

G Iu Liubarskiĭ
Zhurnal Obshcheĭ Biologii 2006, 67 (5): 389-96
17100101
The sequence of classic paradigms in taxonomy that partly replaced each other and partly co-exist is given as follows: the theory of "organ and organism similarity", the naturalistic theory, the descriptive theory, and the phylogenetic theory. The naturalistic classics accepted the notion of "the plan of creation". The rejection of appealing to this plan brought forth certain problems in the formulation of the purpose of taxonomy; these problems were differently solved by the descriptive and the phylogenetic classic traditions. The difficulties of the current paradigms arising from the loss of a "strong purpose", a problem to be solved by taxonomists that is to be clear and interesting to a wide range of non-professionals. The paradox of formalization led to the losing of content of the methods due to their formalization. To attract attention to taxonomy, a new "image of the results" of its work that would be interesting to the non-professionals is necessary. The co-existence of different methods of reseach applied to different groups of facts leads to the loss of integrity of the research. It is not only that the taxon becomes a hypothesis and such hypotheses multiply. The comparison of these hypotheses is problematic, because each of them is supported by its own independent scope of facts. Because of the existence of a fundamental meronotaxonomic discrepancy, taxonomic systems based on different groups of characters appear to be incomparable, being rather systems of characters than systems of taxa. Systems of characters are not directly comparable with each other; they can be compared only through appealing to taxa, but taxa themselves exist only in the form of a number of hypotheses. Consequently, each separate taxonomic approach creates its own nature, its own subject of research. Therefore, it is necessary to describe the subject of research correctly (and indicate the purpose of research), as well as to distinguish clearly between results achieved through different systems of characters. The diversity of current "classic" approaches calls for a unification within the frame of a more general theory. The development of such a theory can be achieved through the formulaiton of a substantial theory of organization that would reflect the formal unity of a taxon, i.e., a theory of meron organization that woud hepl establish the relationship of taxonomic systems developed for different merons.

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