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Classification Today Shadow or Substance

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Title: Classification Today Shadow or Substance
Author(s): Taube, Mortimer
Subject(s): Classification --Books
Abstract: The topic which has been assigned to me, "Classification Today- Shadow or Substance," might more appropriately have come at the end of the Institute, rather than the beginning. If I could convince you that our pursuit of valid classifications was the pursuit of a shadow, there would be no reason to listen to the papers on the remaining part of the program. We could all pack up and go home. Hence, I must conclude that when those who planned this Institute gave me this topic, they assumed that regardless of what I might say about classification, I would certainly be unable to demonstrate its ephemeral or shadowy nature and that I would conclude that classification had substantial value for librarianship and related information activities. Confronted with this dilemma, it occurred to me that the way out for an erstwhile student of logic like myself might be found in the first instance not in examining the nature of shadows nor the nature of substances, but in examining the meaning of the connective between them, namely, the logical operator "or." Most of us, when we think of the word "or," think of it in the exclusive sense as meaning "either or," that is, the word used in this title, "Shadow or Substance," would ordinarily be interpreted to mean that if classification were substantial it could not be shadowy, or if it were shadowy, it could not be substantial. There is, however, another meaning of "or" which is the usual meaning attributed to it in works of logic, where the "or" is taken as meaning logical disjunction with reference to propositions and logical sum with reference to classes. In this sense "or" means "and/or" rather than "either or." Thus if I say "It will rain tomorrow or I will stay home," both statements could be true; that is, it might rain tomorrow and I could still stay home. Similarly, if I say of an item that it is a member of the class A or B, it could be a member of A, a member of B, or a member of AB, and the general proposition "X is a member of A or B" is true in all three cases. This general proposition is only false when the item is a member of neither A nor B. This logical relation can be illustrated by the truth table for disjunction at the top of the following page.
Issue Date: 1959
Publisher: Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info: In F.T.Eaton and D.E.Strout (eds). 1959. The role of classification in the modern American library : papers presented at an institute conducted by the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science, November 1-4, 1959. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 31-41.
Series/Report: Allerton Park Institute (6th : 1959)
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/1475
ISSN: 0536-4604
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1959.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-07-16
 

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