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Philosophical Thought

Concept, family likeness, prototype: on the way towards adequate classification of philosophical concepts
Karpov Sergei

Post-graduate student, the department of Ontology and Theory of Cognition, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

119234, Russia, Moskovskaya oblast', g. Moskva (moscow, Russia), ul. Mkr. Leninskie Gory, 1, kv. 823l




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This article analyzes the correlation between three approaches to categorization: classical (coming from Aristotle), based on the concept of family likeness (L. Wittgenstein), and prototypical (E. Rosh). It is demonstrated that these approaches can be differentiated by the specifics of relation established between the members of the category. The acquired result allows observing that prototypical categorization brings the gap with the classical categorization to the conceptual limit (while Wittgenstein’s only outlines it). The example of classification, associated with the “fundamental question” of philosophy, demonstrates the difficulties face by the classifiers using the classical approach for classifying the philosophical concepts. In particular, it is underlined that I. Kant’s philosophy can be referred to all of the three types of classification (idealism, dualism, materialism). From the standpoint of classical approach, such result can testify to “eclecticism” of the concept or limitation of the scope of classification itself (capable to realistically classify not nearly every concept). Nevertheless, both, classical and prototypical approaches allow avoiding such dilemma (classical – through various grounds for division into three initial types; while prototypical – via adding new elements into the category). However, if the classification is challenged with a uniform task (which historically was allotted for the political purposes, but also can serve, for example, in pedagogical), and moreover, the task of minimizing the hermeneutic “violence” (in arranging the concepts by types), the prototypical approach, as demonstrated in the article, solves these issues in a more adequate and explicit manner.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Aristotle, the basic question of philosophy, prototypical theory, category, concept, classifying, classification, Eleanor Rosh, Immanuel Kant
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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