10 Agreeing to disagree
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10 Agreeing to disagree book
The absence of any kingdom level terms equivalent to ‘animals’ or ‘plants’ also complies with this interpretation of Wola taxonomic practices. They would be redundant. There is no reason to seek to integrate the primary life-form ‘families’ into a higher-level order, to complete some non-existent hierarchy. The life-form ‘families’ for animals, internally divided into ‘large’ and ‘small’ levels, stand alone as follows in Figure 1.4:
Closure at a higher level assumes a hierarchical conception that only makes sense backed up by a cultural construct such as an evolutionary theory of life. It is prompted by an urge to ‘complete’ the taxonomy. It is misplaced to think here in terms of seeking closure and presenting the deﬁnitive taxonomic account. This system recognises that classiﬁcation of natural history is inherently dynamic and subject to negotiation; there can be no completion or ﬁnal bounded version, no authoritative comprehensive account. An associated problem with all-inclusive taxonomy concerns the manner in which animal names change with dialect from one place to another across Wolaland. These changes are quite extensive, and it would be a large, even perhaps futile undertaking to match up all dialect variations with animal identiﬁcations. This relates to the inappositeness of seeking to draw boundaries around socio-cultural groups and networks of social universes.