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i.e. when dividing within a group we tend to search for the overarching difference between the different parts, with an essentialist approach ; we create "muslim" and "jew" categories, despite the fact that many muslims and many jews used to share the same culture. Black and White categories - where does the north of Africa fit ? Fruit and produce - and endless debate about the status of the tomato.
Categories and nuance don't fit well together. It seems to go back to the Platonician ideal - instances are supposed to be a representation of a theoretical and perfect idea, which represents the truth. Thus, as we build representations, we are unable to detach the instance from its ideal, and admit that different categories often overlap.
Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
With Ring Species, however, one has to be extra careful. But that is only a difficulty associated with a particular branching point.
Now consider a general classification problem. I give you a population and you have to figure out how many subpopulations there are in it and which subpopulation each individual belongs to. There are parametric models which have problems of their own, but a nonparametric way to do it is to calculate a distance function and then construct a tree out of it. There are bottom-up and top-down algorithms. You described a top-down algorithm. The main problem is that, unlike the case of the tree of life where the tree being represented actually follows evolutionary time in one direction, if you have a group breaking up into four subgroups because of two dichotomies, the order of breaking will make the tree look different and it may obscure the common characteristics between subbranches of different branches.
That is, the tree is the wrong kind of topology in some cases.
We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
You badly need to insert "tend to" into your first statement, because otherwise it's just plain false.
All Categorical Statements are False. 8^)
Ok, I'll accept that.
The tendency is strong, however, and when broken tends to be a female adopting the male conversational mode than the other way 'round.
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
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