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Paul Grobstein's picture

words, classifications, and existence

Its interesting indeed to think about why we tend to treat certain ideas (blueness) as "universal" while we know perfectly well that others (eg, friendship) mean different things to different people.  The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had a big impact by noting, as you do, that the words we use constitute our definitions of things.  Its worth wondering though if there might be ways to "classify" things that don't depend on words.  Other animals seem to "classify" without words.  As do human infants.  Perhaps we do as well? 


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