Typology

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Chapter 8 endnote 9, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

...before Darwin’s theory from Origin became popular in the nineteenth century, essentialism ruled the animal kingdom. Each species was assumed to have an ideal form, created by God, with defining properties (essences) that distinguished it from all other species (each with their own essences). [...] The types were strictly ordered and catalogued by how they looked to the naked eye, an arrangement known as a "typology."

From "Categories and Their Role in the Science of Emotion":[1]

Scientists love to sort things into groups or sets and then name them. The philosopher Aristotle famously catalogued all sorts of stuff—from animals to governments—into strictly ordered “typologies” or "taxonomies." Carl Linnaeus created a taxonomy of plants, animals, and minerals that, to some extent, is still in use by biologists today. The physicist and novelist Alan Lightman eloquently describes the lure of categorization: “To name a thing, one needs to have gathered it, distilled and purified it, attempted to identify it with clarity and precision. One puts a box around the thing, and says what’s in the box is the thing and what’s not is not….  For scientists, it is a great comfort, a feeling of power, a sense of control, to be able to name things this way.”[2]


Notes on the Notes

  1. Barrett, Lisa Feldman. In press. "Categories and Their Role in the Science of Emotion." Psychological Inquiry.
  2. Lightman, Alan. 2005. A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit. New York: Vintage Books, p. 45.