Several Berkeley taxonomists thought that the article abstracted below
should receive a more general circulation than is provided by the phycological
commemorative volume in which it was published.
The publishers have granted permission to put the abstract on the internet.
Reprints are available from the author.
Stability versus rigidity in botanical nomenclature
Paul C. Silva
University Herbarium, University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2465, U.S.A.
(Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia 112: 1-8. 1996)
The current movement toward stability in botanical nomenclature
transmutes stability of rules into stability of names. While stability
of rules is highly desirable in that it encourages consistently accurate
interpretation of the International Code of Botanical
Nomenclature, stability of names is antithetic to the premise that
nomenclature should remain flexible in order to express changing
taxonomic arrangements. The Tokyo Code has provisions for
retaining a name in current use when new information regarding the taxon
in question and/or its nomenclature would result in the adoption of
another name. These provisions (conservation and/or rejection of names)
override the fundamental principles of priority of publication and
priority of typification. Taxonomists should remain free to decide
whether a name is sufficiently important to warrant special treatment
that overrides the fundamental principles of the Code. Commercial
interests can achieve nomenclatural stability by adhering to standard
scientific names, which may or may not be identical to the correct
scientific names for the same taxa.