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Article
Published: 2017-09-01

What really hampers taxonomy and conservation? A riposte to Garnett and Christidis (2017)

Setor de Ornitologia, Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Quinta da Boa Vista, s/n, 20940–040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. UMR 8590, IHPST–Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, UMR 8590, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne & CNRS, 13 rue du Four, 75006 Paris, France.
Laboratório de Ictiologia de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, FFCLRP, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. dos Bandeirantes 3900, 14040–901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
Setor de Ornitologia, Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Quinta da Boa Vista, s/n, 20940–040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
Laboratório de Ictiologia de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, FFCLRP, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. dos Bandeirantes 3900, 14040–901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
Setor de Ornitologia, Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Quinta da Boa Vista, s/n, 20940–040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
UMR 8590, IHPST–Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, UMR 8590, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne & CNRS, 13 rue du Four, 75006 Paris, France.
Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB – UMR 7205 – CNRS, MNHN, UPMC, EPHE, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 25 rue Cuvier, CP 30, 75005, Paris, France.
General Taxonomy freedom science philosophy conservation

Abstract

Responding to purported taxonomic anarchy, in an article published in the widely read journal Nature, Garnett & Christidis (2017) [hereafter GC] opined on the need for “standardized global species lists”, at the behest of conservationists, and proposed the construction of a judicial committee to “restrict … freedom of taxonomic action” and promote taxonomic stability. Here we reflect on this perspective and contest that the view of GC conflicts with some basic and indisputable principles underpinning the philosophy of science, most notably: it must be free. They appear to believe that taxonomic revisions should be based on political, economic and conservation concerns, and they treat species as fixed real entities, instead of refutable scientific hypotheses. In addition to such theoretical misconceptions, GC did not consider important practical aspects of what they term taxonomic anarchy, most significantly the participation of conservationists as authors of taxonomic works, and the importance of alternative management units, a well-established discussion in conservation biology.

 

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How to Cite

RAPOSO, M. A., STOPIGLIA, R., BRITO, G. R. R., BOCKMANN, F. A., KIRWAN, G. M., GAYON, J., & DUBOIS, A. (2017). What really hampers taxonomy and conservation? A riposte to Garnett and Christidis (2017). Zootaxa, 4317(1), 179–184. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4317.1.10