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Ancient Worlds, Modern ReflectionsPhilosophical Perspectives on Greek and Chinese Science and Culture$
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Geoffrey Lloyd

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199270163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199270163.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Use and Abuse Of Classification

The Use and Abuse Of Classification

Chapter:
(p.93) 8 The Use and Abuse Of Classification
Source:
Ancient Worlds, Modern Reflections
Author(s):

Geoffrey Lloyd (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199270163.003.0008

Are natural kinds cross-cultural universals or the products of culture? An analysis of the assumptions that generally underlie these two points of view reveals the weak points of both. There is, for instance, no one correct taxonomy of animals or of plants to which all classifications should be thought to be aiming. Rather, reality is multi-dimensional. Classifications will vary according to the criteria selected, but given a particular criterion, there can be more, or less, accurate classifications. An examination of Greek and Chinese taxonomies illustrates the different perspectives adopted and throws light on the origins of doubts on the nature of species.

Keywords:   animals, classification, cross-cultural universals, plants, relativism, species problem, taxonomy

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