Social Construction

As part of my class preparation, I often write essays about the topics I plan to lecture on. I don’t read them directly in class, but it helps me get my thoughts together to write out what I want to talk about. This is the essay I wrote for my upcoming lecture on “social construction”. [Continue reading]

Categories Worth Questioning, Part I

Categories are arguments. The process of putting “things” (objects, people, ideas, places) into categories involves several claims: first, that the things in category x are meaningfully similar to each other; second, that the things in category x are more like each other than they are like the things in category y or z or simply non-x; third, that the similarities that define the things in category x as members of that category are more important than the differences between them. Good categories appear pre-given to us — who can argue that a ripe Rome Beauty apple or a traditional fire engine doesn’t belong in the category of “red things”? [Continue reading]