Friday, 7 March 2014

Taxonomy doesn't lead to understanding

A lot of what I would call "taxonomic philosophy" questions, such as "do digital natives exist?" or "is this thing a 'real' game or not?" disappear when you consider what the results of the answer will be. If you figure out whether a certain piece of interactive art is a game or not, what will be the outcome of that answer? Will people have more or less fun playing it? Will its value go up or down? I don't think anything much changes, and that's the point. There's a difference between understanding something and classifying it. Classification is not an act of understanding but of filing and grouping. That doesn't really lead to anything but more refined definitions of the classifications that you yourself developed. If other people don't agree with those classifications, then there's very little basis to argue with them. You drew an imaginary line and said "these things belong here", but so what if they don't? Knowing the type of thing to call a particular object, person or concept doesn't put you in any closer relationship with it. In fact, it may distance you from it, because if you only play "real" games, there are all kinds of experiences, many of them positive, that you will never have, just because you decided already what did and did not fit into your world.

In short, classification and its related questions do not lead to deeper understanding.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We should do less of them.
PPS - And we should do more understanding of each other.

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