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Coherence in systematics Le coherentisme en systematique


, : Coherence in systematics Le coherentisme en systematique. Biosystema, 24: 115-126

The "total evidence school of thought" in systematic biology is compared with the "relevant evidence school of thought". The history and significance of the total evidence approach to inductive inference is reviewed. which shows that the principle of total evidence cannot be tied to Popperian falsificationism, as is done in contemporary systematics. The "test of congruence" used in systematics is shown to be rooted in a coherentist epistemology. which is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for phylogeny reconstruction. Sufficient conditions for the investigation of evolutionary relationships require, in addition to the coherence of character statements, their experiential grounding. Such experiential grounding differentiates between "total" and "relevant" evidence.

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