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ttruong's picture

The first name is arbitrary

I think that the initial process of classification is abitrary. For example, in forming phylogenetic trees we must assign more salience to certain phenotypic characters than others when we are determining which species are more related to each other. Our decision on which shared trait is more important and more correlated with the relatedness of certain species can sometimes be arbitray. In the same way, it is arbitrary for us to decide which characteristics carry enough importance that when objects express all of them together, we group them together with a name.

However, once the initial arbitrary step is completed and understood among a group, it is no longer arbitrary to give such objects other names. Since the name that was assigned to those objects have already attain connotations and assumptions from people from having been grouped under that name in the first place.

Also, once an established label with understood properties is given to an object, the object acquires the properties that comes with the label. Therefore, classification is a quick and efficient system that we humans have devise so that our brain can instantly assign properties of objects by simply learning the name of them.

 

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