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Re: adding gender field on debian developer's database (from debian-devel)

On Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 04:33:20PM +0930, Clytie Siddall wrote:
> It's time we stopped trying to classify life so much, imposing our  
> own structures on it, and started accepting the way it is.

That sounds like an argument against engineering to me.

It's a gross overreaction to what is essentially just an Aristotlean
categorisation fetish.

Classifying stuff into a group is useful when you're talking about
some property of the group. When you aren't - when you have no reason
to classify it - you have a categorisation fetish, and are just
wasting time.

It's easy and effective, when you do it right. A group is defined by
the property you're talking about, and the world is divided into
'things with this property' and 'things without this property'. A
classification of 'male or female' is invalid; it should have been
'male or not male' and 'female or not female', as two groups.

Having defined the group, the only thing you know about it is that all
its members have the property you used to define it. So define your
groups carefully; you have to use the property that you're interested
in, and not some other random thing. Mostly you can take the property
from your objective, whatever that is.

Here, maybe what you want is the properties "referred to using male
pronouns" and "referred to using female pronouns". Those would then
define the two groups, and you simply have to classify people into
them. In this context, that's easy, since they would be expected to
classify themselves.

This is elementary set theory.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
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