This is a developing post related to a prior entry on cladistic character coding. “Systematic philosophy”, naturally (in a historical science), is a rich topic with influential contributions from various competing philosophical schools such as empiricism or realism. Often these contributions acknowledge their heritage openly, however this is not always the case.
Posts tagged ‘coding’
By popular demand, the Spring 2014 weekly lab discussion series will focus on the theory and practice of coding cladistic characters, and where and why this remains an essential task of systematics. This is a broad theme that has been treated by many authors and from different perspectives. We will start with a paper that is rife with issues that merit a more nuanced discussion; but at the same time reflects a suite of topics and positions advocated in the mid t0 late 1980s when the 1st- to 2nd-generation cladistic software packages (such as Hennig86) were in use.
Pimentel, R.A. & R. Riggins. 1987. The nature of cladistic data. Cladistics 3: 201-209. Available on-line here.
Some pointers to literature relevant to one of the most intellectually engaging topics I can think of in systematics – how to properly “code” cladistic characters. “Code” in quotation marks because there is more to it than a single verb or action might denote. For what it is worth, Olivier Rieppel’s (2007) “performance” paper is a must read in my assessment; he talks about the process of character “scoping”. Though practically all papers can be considered sincere (yes, that can matter) and scholarly contributions to advance the field, occasionally in an intellectual discourse setting overshadowed by too-easy dichotomies of pattern versus process, supposed methodological rigor versus eclecticism, or total evidence versus cherry picking (as I said, too easy, and no improvement here either in such a stenographic account).