Classification and Categorization: Drawing the Line

Elin K. Jacob


It is the intent of this paper to demonstrate that the processes of classification and categorization are actually two separate and distinct processes. The classical theory of categories is described, the major arguments against it are reviewed, and alternative approaches to the structure of categories are discussed. The apparent failure of the classical theory to account for the instability observed in category membership is attributed to the underlying assumption that the terms "classification" and "categorization" refer to the same process. The possibility that an interactive functional relationship exists between classification and categorization is advanced on the basis of the individual's need to communicate.

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