Stone, plant, or animal

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Abstract:

Linnaeus organised almost everything to which he put his mind and was the first to systematically apply a binomial system to all of nature. The philosophy underlying his system of nature is that of a ladder (pyramid) leading from stones, the lowest (furthest from Man), to animals, with Man, created in the image of God, being the highest. The classification functioned like a two-dimensional map, characters of taxa being like latitude and longitude with a hierarchy of precision. It was of value in an age of discovery, although his classifications of stones and plants had short lives. The binomial system of naming, although not considered important by Linnaeus, was important in separating diagnoses/descriptions of taxa from the names of taxa. It is hoped that new philosophies will maintain the distinction between things named and their names.

Keywords: HISTORY; LINNAEUS; NOMENCLATURE; SCALA NATURAE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Botany Section, United States National Herbarium, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, MRC-166, Washington, DC, 20560, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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