Joined: Oct. 2007
|Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 09 2011,12:18)|
I have a question for me ;)
It sounds awfully stupid but maybe it isn't
At what point do you stop calling a dog a dog and start calling it something else?
Not a stupid question at all. "At what point do you stop calling a dog a dog and start calling it something else?" includes, as an unstated premise, the notion that you can distinguish Dog from Not-Dog. More generally, your query hints at the larger question of how the heck one goes about distinguishing a member-of-species-X from a not-member-of-species-X. And (as the link to Wikipedia indicates) this is not an easy question!
Since we're talking about dogs in particular, I'd say that the BSC (Biological Species Concept) -- i.e., can the critter successfully interbreed with dogs? -- is about as good a distinguishing criterion as you're likely to find. The BSC doesn't work for all living things (like those which reproduce asexually, for instance), but it's pretty good for 'standard' animals like dogs and horses and such.