birding-aus Common names

Subject: birding-aus Common names
From: Kim Sterelny <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 22:35:16 +1000
OK I'll bite,
                 capitalising common names but leaving the generic in lower
case ("Red Kangaroo" vs "kangaroo") is almost diametrically opposed to the
practice with the scientific name, where the generic name is caitalised,
and the specific name (unless derived from a name) is in lower case. Unless
there is excellent reason to the contrary, I reckon the conventions should
be as similar as possible. I must confess I am unswayed by the argument
from ambiguity; in most contexts, most specififc names are not ambigious;
how, for example, would such an ambiguity arise over  "white bellied sea
eagle" and not "White-bellied Sea Eagle"?

I do not see this as a life a death issue, so if the convention shifted in
this direction I would follow it, but I am yet to see the over-whelming


ps Unless, that is, one has been convinced by those who write on the nature
of species that species are individuals, albiet spatio-temporally scattered
ones lile The British Empire rather than kinds. But I will spare the list
an excursion into the metaphysics and semantics of species.
Dr Kim Sterelny
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and
Philosophy, RSSS, Australian Nataional University

Australian contact information:

Philosophy, RSSS, Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia

Phone: 02/6249-2886
Fax: 02 6249 3294
Messages with Di Crosse, Program Administrator, 02 6249 2341

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU