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Thread: Is classification bad?

  1. #1 Is classification bad? 
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    I don't mean it on a practical basis (eg. whether classification helps man etc etc), I'm more interested in the cons. We all know the benefits, we use it everyday, it's universal.

    In metaphysics, "Universals" and "Particulars" come to mind.

    Are we actually restricting ourselves from the big picture through classification?


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Are you not also making a classification by asking about the "big picture?"


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Stereotyping is a negative form of classifcation.
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    Sorry inow, I'll admit I have a bit of a language expression problem over here.

    I was thinking, that perhaps ambiguity beat classification in questing for truth.

    For example, as ophiolite pointed out, stereotypes may be a classification, and we are likely to go across stereotypes almost everyday in our lives. So that means even from our thought processes, stereotypes exist simply to convenience our thinking speed.

    However, the paradox is that stereotypes simplify everyone that are perceived to be in a certain group, which is in another way, an ambiguity. The ambiguous nature of stereotyping would be beneficial to the extent of convenience.
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  6. #5  
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    Heracleitus (the 'you can't step into the same river twice' philosopher) cautioned against a collectivist fallacy. We label things as the same when they share certain properties, but this does not mean they are the same. By labelling things with the same word we are more inclined to the collectivist fallacy as our language is now geared towards emphasising similarities at the exclusion of differences.

    Shouldn't happen in science or rigorous philosophy but we're all human.
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

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    “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't” – Robert Benchley

    Actually, I think the two kinds of people are those who admit they divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't admit it.

    To answer the question, it all depends. An owl which has survived being bitten by a coral snake might divide snakes into two types: The red, black and yellow stripey ones and the kind you can eat. In doing so, the owl might miss out on some tasty meals of king snake, but in general his classification system would serve him well. On the other hand, if there are lots of king snakes around, and nothing else to eat, it might be better to classify all snakes as potentially tasty meals.
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theSocraticomplex
    So that means even from our thought processes, stereotypes exist simply to convenience our thinking speed..
    You are correct. I should not have made by statement about stereotypes being negative without noting that they can also be positive. Yet another example of over simplification through classification. The point likely is that with the appropriate classification system for a situation the benefits are net positive, with the wrong classification system for a situation they are net negative.
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    Classifications is bad because it make us stop thinking.

    It help us to cease the process of thinking; it prevents our sense of questioning on something we feel comfortable of, we take granted for.

    Because it part of our nature, as intelligent beings to apply the formula, and discard the haphazard methodology.

    For example, I'm in the middle of a writing lecture by the time of replying your post.

    My teacher is trying to use the over cliched "Logos, Pathos, and Ethos" to lecture how our paper should be structured, implying us this is the way to go.

    Irrespective of how credible Aristotle's theory is, I noticed that as long as the classification makes some sort of sense, people hardly question the classification itself, but focus on the repercussions of adopting this model, or the disadvantage of not to.

    In replying stereotype and paradox, the thing is not stereotype and paradox start as a stereotype and paradox. They all started with their merit of explaining, solving problems at a specific time. What happened was that, they sometimes make such a great sense and as phenomenal as to some extend blow up people mind for a long time. People are bombarded and adhere to it, losing the sense of questioning.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArezList
    Classifications is bad because it make us stop thinking.

    It help us to cease the process of thinking; it prevents our sense of questioning on something we feel comfortable of, we take granted for.

    Because it part of our nature, as intelligent beings to apply the formula, and discard the haphazard methodology.
    Is it not true that even single celled organisms classify objects as food and not food? As dangerous and not dangerous?

    Is it not true that even molecules and particles classify objects as positively charged or negatively charged? As an ionic or non-ionic object?


    I'm just saying... You're putting a whole lot of subjective arbitrary baggage into an approach which applies even at the particle level, thinking humans are somehow losing sight of something better by doing the same on larger scale.

    I tend to agree with you on the importance of always questioning and testing, but to suggest that the problem lies with classification I think misses the point. The root cause is not our classification of objects, but some peoples laziness not to examine those classifications more closely.
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  11. #10  
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    Is it not true that even single celled organisms classify objects as food and not food? As dangerous and not dangerous?


    Can you tell me what is your classification of "food". So many things are not regarded as food, but yet consumed by human in extreme conditions. It is precisely we classify "human", "grass" or "feces" as "not food", were those people starved to death.

    Is it not true that even molecules and particles classify objects as positively charged or negatively charged?
    No, do you classified a photon positively or negatively charged?

    I concur this argument contains quite a portion of arbitrariness. I got what you mean, but it's an inappropriate example. We didn't classified these molecules. We simply name their status of carrying electrons.

    E.G. I'm hungry Vs I'm not hungry.
    I simply define a word "hungry" to describe my discomfort with the desire of eating.
    But what I'm saying is that it could be misleading to CLAssify my feeling into being hungry and not being hungry.


    Another example:

    Several decades ago, we still classified human sexuality into ONE: heterosexual

    The majority feels pretty cool about that, and now, they don't want to bear the extra burden of respect people with sexuality which they don't feel comfortable with.

    And that's the root cause of today's frustration of granting LGBT rights.

    It, sometimes could be really hard to reset your classification.
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  12. #11  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    I am not certain you grasped my point. Classification has aided in survival for organisms since the start of existence. It is hardly a trait limited to humans, and I intended to suggest it is an inherent part of nature itself.

    Since you took issue with my food and not food example, let me say this another way... Even single celled organisms classify objects into ouch and not-ouch.

    Looking at classification in this more basic and fundamental way... this non-human way... eliminates all of the nonsense we think of with stereotypes and fairness. Even the most basic life we have observed on this planet has benefited... has had their survival enhanced due to their acts of classification.

    It is not classification itself which is problematic, but what happens with them and how they are validated.

    You are correct that we need to question our classifications, and shine on them the light of reason and reality. However, I remain convinced you are mistaken to assume it is the process of classification itself which causes the harms you mention, instead of something such as our failure to question said classifications and act on them appropriately.
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