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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Cladistics, Phylogeny, Phenology & Taxonomy

The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy A Philosophical Study of Biological Taxonomy

By: Marc Ereshefsky
316 pages, Figs, tabs
The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy
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  • The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy ISBN: 9780521038836 Paperback Aug 2007 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy ISBN: 9780521781701 Hardback Feb 2001 Usually dispatched within 6 days
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Related titles

About this book

Addresses the question of whether biologists should continue using the Linnaean hierarchy to classify organisms. Ereshefsky argues that biologists should abandon the Linnaean system and adopt an alternative that is more in line with evolutionary theory and more able to provide accurate biological classifications. He then moves on to make specific recommendations for a post-Linnaean method of classification, which would not only be rank-free and eschew the binomial, but would allow an organism to belong to more than one species.

Originally published in 2001.


Preface; Introduction; Part I. The Historical Turn: 1. The philosophy of classification; 2. A primer of biological taxonomy; 3. History and classification; Part II. The Multiplicity of Nature: 4. Species pluralism; 5. How to be a discerning pluralist; Part III. Hierarchies and Nomenclature: 6. The evolution of the Linnaean hierarchy; 7. Post-Linnaean taxonomy; 8. The future of biological nomenclature; Notes; References; Index.

Customer Reviews

By: Marc Ereshefsky
316 pages, Figs, tabs
Media reviews
'Linnaean classification is pre-Darwinian, yet evolutionary biologists continue to use it to describe life's diversity. In this clearly written and incisive book, Ereshefsky shows that this makes no sense. His message isn't just that the Linnaean system should be junked; in addition, Ereshefsky constructs a better system to take its place. This book is of practical importance to biologists, but its analysis of the relationship between theories and classification schemes will also be of compelling interest to philosophers of science.' Elliott Sober, University of Wisconsin, Madison 'I found the contribution more than worthwhile to read. Thus, I recommend the book to graduate students and systematists of all disciplines who certainly will profit from study ...' Spixiana 'I found The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy to be interesting and thought provoking, and I recommend Ereshefsky's book to anyone curious about the issues that taxonomists are currently debating.' Science 'Ereshefsky addresses a variety of controversial topics. Therefore, his book is recommendable for everyone interested in critical discussions of biological systematics.' Anthropologischer Anzeiger
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