Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 493-519

The Evolution of the Linnaean Hierarchy

  • Marc EreshefskyAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Calgary

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The Linnaean system of classification is a threefold system of theoretical assumptions, sorting rules, and rules of nomenclature. Over time, that system has lost its theoretical assumptions as well as its sorting rules. Cladistic revisions have left it less and less Linnaean. And what remains of the system is flawed on pragmatic grounds. Taking all of this into account, it is time to consider alternative systems of classification.

cladism classification Linnaean hierarchy Linnaeus nomenclature species