[Citizendium-editors] list of disciplines

Larry Sanger sanger-lists at citizendium.org
Thu Nov 9 03:50:06 EST 2006

Just as a preliminary ;-) remark, I would say that I see a significant
difference between groups of people and groups of subjects.  Classification
schemes for books were designed for books.  Lists of university departments
were designed for people...
More later--I don't mean to be flippant, I'm just reading through the
discussion for the first time now!

-----Original Message-----
From: citizendium-editors-bounces at lists.purdue.edu
[mailto:citizendium-editors-bounces at lists.purdue.edu] On Behalf Of A.W.
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 10:52 AM
To: McFadden, Thomas G.
Cc: citizendium-editors at lists.purdue.edu
Subject: Re: [Citizendium-editors] list of disciplines

I agree.  Keep in mind that classification is a deep philosophical problem.
An important one, no doubt, but not one we can or should expect to solve
(let alone agree on!) as part of clearing our throats before getting down to

There is a fundamental divide (though with many intermediate positions, and
Aristotle as common origin) between those who advocate a loose
"encyclopedic" model of classification, based essentially on human cognitive
(and other) faculties (e.g. Bacon, or d'Alembert's *Preliminary Discourse*
to the Encyclopédie) and those who favor a more principled classification
based on Leibnizian or Kantian "categories".  (You could see logical
empiricism, which advocated an actual *deductive* unity of science, as a
special form of the latter or as something altogether new.)  We should not
attempt to overcome this long-running controversy on the fly.

I note with consternation that the "classification" article in Wikipedia is
an empty shell.  Perhaps someone should have a go.  (cf. Diderot's entry on
*Encylopédie* in the Encyclopédie)  That would be a place to start: just
survey the territory, give people an idea how many different approaches
there are to this.  Unless Larry wants to write us a preliminary discourse
on the model of d'Alembert?  (He's a philosopher, after all. . .)

André Carus

But the real retrieval is through the index and A-Z topic browse

features.  Perhaps we should not invest a huge amount of time in a

classification scheme that is not particularly useful?


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