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Old February 5th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #1
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Categories Are Meaningful: Pro-Choice or Pro-Life

Categories Are Meaningful: Pro-Choice or Pro-Life



Common sense or, as cognitive science labels it, folk theory informs us that “all things are a kind of thing”. All things have in common with other things certain characteristics; i.e. all things belong in categories with other like things. Things are categorized together based upon what they have in common. It might be worth while to think of category as being a container.



In classical or conventional terms we categorize things in accordance with what are regarded as being that which is essential to that kind of thing. All things that are essentially the same fall into the same category. What is essential to a tree is that which is necessary and sufficient for that thing to be classified as a tree. To categorize a thing, i.e. define a thing, is to give its essential characteristics.



In some way or another all creatures must categorize. At a minimum all creatures must distinguish friend from foe or eat and not eat. Categorization is part of the fundamental needs for survival of the creature. If the mouse mistakes a snake for a stick that mouse becomes toast; the same categorization problem applies to the lion and to the man.



Categorization is meaningful. Meaning is not a thing; something is meaningful for a creature only when there is an association between that thing and the creature. “Meaningfulness derives from the experience of functioning as a being of a certain sort in an environment of a certain sort.” It is meaningful to a soldier when s/he mistakenly categorizes a tank to be only a harmless tree or an enemy to be a friend.



There is nothing more meaningful for a creatures’ survival than correct categorization of the world in which that creature lives.



When does a human female egg fertilized by a human male sperm become a person?



Quotes from “Metaphors We Live By” George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #2
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Is that the relevant question cobert?

What about "When you know a thing of debateable value (fetus) will most likely become a thing of great value (person), does that change the value of the original thing?"
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Old February 14th, 2008, 04:42 AM   #3
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Is that the relevant question cobert?

What about "When you know a thing of debateable value (fetus) will most likely become a thing of great value (person), does that change the value of the original thing?"




The point of the question was to accentuate the importance of categorization.



It appears to me that some people categorize this question based upon theology while other people categorize based upon science while other people categorize based upon other factors. Because categories are so very important this inconsistence represents a serious problem. This problem of categorization is one of the principal considerations of the new paradigm of cognitive science as elucidated by Lakoff.





George Lakoff is an important figure in the introduction of a new paradigm for cognitive science. Metaphor is a fundamental component of this paradigm. This is a revolutionary new idea and few people are familiar yet with it.



Cognitive science has provided us with a new paradigm about consciousness. This new paradigm is focused upon helping us to understand how we think. Categorization is something all creatures do and thus if we can begin to comprehend how all animals create categories we can begin to comprehend how we conceive and perceive, i.e. how we think.





Lakoff argues that our formal mode of categorization is inadequate and improper. We inherit from our primate ancestors certain modes of thought and within these modes of thought categorization is an important foundational element.
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