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C is for Categorization

Written on September 16, 2007

“There are two kinds of people…..” (and many ways to divide people into two kinds!)

“Categorization is the process in which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated and understood. Categorization implies that objects are grouped into categories, usually for some specific purpose.” (from Wikipedia)


A good introduction to the topic for the general reader can be found in The Mind’s New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution by Howard Gardner (New York: Basic Books, 1985, 1987) – Ch. 12 “A World Categorized.”

The work of Eleanor Rosch was instrumental in overturning the classical view of categories based on “necessary and sufficient conditions” in favor of a psychological approach to the structure of categories based on prototypes.

Rosch discusses her work on categorization in this transcribed interview: “Categories have what I called a graded structure of better and worse examples, and many categories have unclear boundaries”

Books on categorization:

related post: “books and resources on concepts”

Filed in: alphabet,mind.

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