Family resemblance  

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-'''Prototype theory''' is a mode of graded [[categorization]] in [[cognitive science]], where some members of a category are more central than others. For example, when asked to give an example of the concept ''furniture'', ''chair'' is more frequently+'''Family resemblance''' (German '''Familienähnlichkeit''') is a philosophical idea made popular by [[Ludwig Wittgenstein]], with the best known exposition being given in the posthumously published book ''[[Philosophical Investigations]]'' (1953) It has been suggested that Wittgenstein picked the idea and the term from [[Nietzsche]], who had been using it, as many nineteenth century philologists, when discoursing about [[language families]]. Wittgenstein's point was that things which may be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all. Games, which Wittgenstein used to explain the notion, have become the paradigmatic example of a group that is related by family resemblances.
-cited than, say, ''stool''.+
-Prototype theory also plays a central role in [[linguistics]], as part of the mapping from [[phonology|phonological structure]] to [[semantics]].+
-As formulated in the 1970s by [[Eleanor Rosch]] and others,+Family resemblance features widely in Wittgenstein's later work, and the notion itself is introduced in the ''Investigations'' in response to questions about the general form of propositions and the essence of language - questions which were central to Wittgenstein throughout his philosophical career. This suggests that family resemblance was of prime importance for Wittgenstein's later philosophy; however, like many of his ideas, it is hard to find precise agreement within the secondary literature on either its place within Wittgenstein's later thought or on its wider philosophical significance.
-prototype theory was a+
-radical departure from traditional necessary and sufficient conditions as in [[Aristotelian logic]], which led to+
-set-theoretic approaches of [[Extension (semantics)|extensional]] or [[intensional]] [[semantics]]. Thus instead of a [[definition]] based model - e.g. a bird may be defined as elements with the features [+feathers], [+beak] and [+ability to fly], prototype theory would consider a category like bird as+
-consisting of different elements which have unequal status - e.g. a ''robin'' is more prototypical of a ''bird'' than, say a ''penguin''. This leads to a graded notion of categories, which is a central notion in many models of [[cognitive science]] and [[cognitive semantics]], e.g. in the work of [[George Lakoff]] (''Women, Fire and Dangerous Things'', 1987) or+
-[[Ronald Langacker]] (''Foundations of Cognitive Grammar'', vol. 1/2 1987/1991).+
-The term prototype has been defined in [[Eleanor Rosch]]'s study "Natural Categories" (1973) and was first defined as a stimulus, which takes a salient position in the formation of a category as it is the first stimulus to be associated with that category. Later, she redefined it as the most central member of a category.+Since the publication of the ''Investigations'' the notion of family resemblance has been discussed extensively not only in the philosophical literature, but also, for example, in works dealing with classification where the approach is described as 'polythetic', distinguishing it from the traditional approach known now as 'monothetic'. [[Prototype theory]] is a recent development in [[cognitive science]] where this idea has also been explored. As the idea gains popularity, earlier instances of its occurrence are rediscovered e.g. in 18th century [[taxonomy]], in the writings of [[Vygotsky]] or [[Władysław Tatarkiewicz|Tatarkiewicz]].
-==See also==+
-*[[Family resemblance]]+
-*[[Folksonomy]]+
-*[[Semantic feature-comparison model]]+
 +==See also==
 +* [[Prototype theory]]
 +* [[Polythetic term]]
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Family resemblance (German Familienähnlichkeit) is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein, with the best known exposition being given in the posthumously published book Philosophical Investigations (1953) It has been suggested that Wittgenstein picked the idea and the term from Nietzsche, who had been using it, as many nineteenth century philologists, when discoursing about language families. Wittgenstein's point was that things which may be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all. Games, which Wittgenstein used to explain the notion, have become the paradigmatic example of a group that is related by family resemblances.

Family resemblance features widely in Wittgenstein's later work, and the notion itself is introduced in the Investigations in response to questions about the general form of propositions and the essence of language - questions which were central to Wittgenstein throughout his philosophical career. This suggests that family resemblance was of prime importance for Wittgenstein's later philosophy; however, like many of his ideas, it is hard to find precise agreement within the secondary literature on either its place within Wittgenstein's later thought or on its wider philosophical significance.

Since the publication of the Investigations the notion of family resemblance has been discussed extensively not only in the philosophical literature, but also, for example, in works dealing with classification where the approach is described as 'polythetic', distinguishing it from the traditional approach known now as 'monothetic'. Prototype theory is a recent development in cognitive science where this idea has also been explored. As the idea gains popularity, earlier instances of its occurrence are rediscovered e.g. in 18th century taxonomy, in the writings of Vygotsky or Tatarkiewicz.

See also




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