Natural classification and the reality of higher taxa
Having outlined the present situation as regards rival taxonomic philosophies, and some of its historical background, the thesis examines this attempt to recategorize taxa as individual-like entities, and finds it wanting. The properties of species which render them regardable as individuals do not readily extend to more inclusive levels, or, if they do, are not readily restricted solely to cladistic taxa. Cladistic systematization, in moving away from the notion of a taxon as a class of similar entities, may cease to convey the information expected of a classification system. The practice of biology requires a more flexible and more stable taxonomy than can be provided by strict adherence to cladistic rules, and taxa are-better regarded as 'historical classes', delineated neither by pure unanalysed similarity nor by logical transformation of hypotheses of phylogenetic relationship, but by a considered pragmatic synthesis of the two, employing the notion of convexity as a criterion of acceptability.