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Taxonomy and its Pleasures

Taxonomy and its Pleasures Taxonomy is our response to the proliferating variety of the natural world on the one hand, and the principle of unrelieved universality on the other. From Aristotle, through Porphyry to Linneaus, Kant and others, thinkers have struggled to develop taxonomies that could order what we know and also what we do not yet know, and this essay is a reflection on the existential desire that propels this effort. Porphyry’s tree of logic is an exhaustive account of the things we can say about the sort of beings we are; Linneaus’s system of nature reaches completion in the classification of humans; Kant discovers a way to have natural and logical forms coincide in the thought of natural purpose and purposiveness. The stakes are high. When we order the world, we order ourselves: when we enter the taxonomy, it enters us and confronts us with our judgments of kind, race and kin. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

Taxonomy and its Pleasures

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 47 (3): 20 – Sep 6, 2017

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/15691640-12341378
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Taxonomy is our response to the proliferating variety of the natural world on the one hand, and the principle of unrelieved universality on the other. From Aristotle, through Porphyry to Linneaus, Kant and others, thinkers have struggled to develop taxonomies that could order what we know and also what we do not yet know, and this essay is a reflection on the existential desire that propels this effort. Porphyry’s tree of logic is an exhaustive account of the things we can say about the sort of beings we are; Linneaus’s system of nature reaches completion in the classification of humans; Kant discovers a way to have natural and logical forms coincide in the thought of natural purpose and purposiveness. The stakes are high. When we order the world, we order ourselves: when we enter the taxonomy, it enters us and confronts us with our judgments of kind, race and kin.

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Sep 6, 2017

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