Article ID: CBB000850408

Taxonomy and Why History of Science Matters for Science: A Case Study (2008)


Hamilton, Andrew (Author)
Wheeler, Quentin D. (Author)

Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Volume: 99
Pages: 331--340

Publication Date: 2008
Edition Details: Part of Focus Section “What is the Value of History of Science?”
Language: English

The history of science often has difficulty connecting with science at the lab-bench level, raising questions about the value of history of science for science. This essay offers a case study from taxonomy in which lessons learned about particular failings of numerical taxonomy (phenetics) in the second half of the twentieth century bear on the new movement toward DNA barcoding. In particular, it argues that an unwillingness to deal with messy theoretical questions in both cases leads to important problems in the theory and practice of identifying taxa. This argument makes use of scientific and historical considerations in a way that the authors hope leads to convincing conclusions about the history of taxonomy as well as about its present practice.


Description Considers taxonomy in the late 20th century and its applicability to DNA barcoding.

Included in

Article Maienschein, Jane; Smith, George (2008) What Difference Does History of Science Make, Anyway?. Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (p. 318). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Weldon, Stephen P.
Alfonso-Goldfarb, Ana Maria
Allen, Colin
Bueno, Otávio
Burian, Richard M.
Chow-White, Peter A.
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Historical Records of Australian Science
Journal of the History of Biology
Taylor & Francis
MIT Press
History of science, as a discipline
Systematics (biology)
Classification of knowledge
Sarton, George
Agassiz, Jean Louis Rodolphe
Bowler, Peter J.
Burnet, Frank Macfarlane
Girard, Charles Frederic
Keller, Evelyn Fox
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
History of Science Society

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