Case Study: Splitters, Lumpers, and Framers: Seeing Perspective in Categorization

Part of the Cognitive Case Study Series from Cabrera Research Lab, this case critically examines classificatory phenomena such as categories, taxonomies, pyramids, directories, and hierarchies. Although ubiquitous and admittedly useful for reducing the cognitive burden of dealing with large amounts of information, categories and the like must be used carefully, recognizing that they are merely part-whole groupings made from a particular perspective or perspectives. “Splitters, Lumpers, and Framers” walks through several examples of classificatory schemes gone wrong and details the negative consequences (intellectual, political, social, psychological, etc.) of their use.

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