Re: memetic speciation?

Bill Benzon (
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 07:27:20 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 07:27:20 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: memetic speciation?

John Wilkins says:
>Creolisation is a very good example of the sort of problem that arises in
>plant evolution and taxonomy. I view taxonomy as classification by descent,
>but this is not the standard view by any means. There are taxonomies of
>logical methods and taxonomies of minerals and crystals. I just happen to
>think that if taxonomy is not identical to classification, then it needs to
>have some basis that forces it to exceed mere convenience, and descent
>relations strike me as the best choice for "natural kindhood".
Yes. I agree. There are many ways to classify a given set of objects and it
may very well be that you want several classifications systems for
different purposes. But the classification system should have some utility
in some significant theory about the objects being classified.

In linguistics, for example, genealogical classification is by no means the
only type of classification. Linguistics also classify langauges according
to basic syntax. SVO languages construct sentences in subject-verb-object
order while SOV languages construct sentences in subject-object-verb order,

>IMO the appropriate metaphor for a phyletic classification (which does not
>exhaust the set of all classifications by descent) is not a tree, nor even
>a bush, but a time-variant net.
What's a time-variant net?

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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