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aybala50's picture

what are categories?

 Ok, I like this having our cake and eating it too...but i'm a little confused. I agree with rachelr in that categorizing certain illnesses has been beneficial. This is how science or medicine began, isn't it? Early doctors wanted to find cures for illnesses in order to help people. This want to help turned into something completely different. 

I agree with Paul that the problem may not be "category-making" in and of itself, but I don't think that this is completely true. Paul suggested that maybe the problem is that categories describe differences, rather than deficiencies relative to some norm. If we fix this problem, some how, what do categories turn into? If everything in this world can be defined by certain characteristics, such as poetry having characteristics that make it a poem, can categories themselves be broken down? What are the characteristics that make a category what it is? 

Paul suggested that, "We might also recognize categories as constructions, always in flux, rather than as definitive descriptions of essential characteristics." This would be lovely, however once something is placed in a certain category, I feel that it is, in most cases, very difficult to change societies mind otherwise. Lets say, for example, that a man murders someone when he is young. Will he ever be able to escape the category of murderer? 

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