Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Category Shuffle

Readers of this blog may notice the tag cloud is gone, replaced by a drop-down box for 'categories.' I spent some time the last few days re-thinking my tagging scheme. My research turned up a neat neologism 'folksonomy,'1 the much more organized Library of Congress Subject Headings,2 and some attempts to link up popular and formal categorization schemes.3

I also learned about the difference between categories and tags,4 as promoted on WordPress but not Blogger. Basically, categories are broad and tags are fine-grained. Some blogs use both, while others just use one. My former tags were an ungainly mix of broad and narrow, so I opted for a new categories-only scheme to keep things simple and neat.

(Besides, if I tried to tag things out, I'd probably feel compelled to go full blast with LoC Subject Headings.)

After deciding to use categories, the next challenge was defining the categories. I found a few lists of 'branches of philosophy,' but wasn't satisfied. What follows is my (starting) list of categories and some notes on what might be somewhat idiosyncratic understandings of them.

Epistemology — Knowledge, justification, truth, philosophy of science.
Metaethics — The meaning of moral language, moral ontology.
Normative Ethics — Methods of determining right and wrong.
Philosophy of Language — Meaning, truth-conditions, logic.
Philosophy of Mind — Consciousness, free will, action theory.
Political Philosophy — Civil liberties, law, penalties.
Value Theory — The meaning and methods of comparing value.
Misc. — Misc.

Perhaps the most questionable decision is separating Value Theory from ethics. One reason is that value, generally speaking, has broader uses than those invoked in ethics, e.g. mathematical, monetary, and aesthetic value.

You may have also noticed the lack of a Metaphysics category. Simply put, my metaphysics is scientific realism and my other philosophical views assume it. I might add a Metaphysics category later on, if I have occasion to treat it separately.

The final challenge was presentation. I wanted a drop-down box, but Blogger doesn't include a widget specifically for that. For my own future reference as much as anything, the procedure is: Design → Page Elements → Add a Gadget → HTML/JavaScript. Then paste the following and tweak as needed:
<div class="widget-content">

<select onchange=
 "location.href=this.options[this.selectedIndex].value;">

<option /> - Categories - 

<option value="URL" />CATEGORY
<option value="URL" />CATEGORY
<option value="URL" />CATEGORY

</select></div>
Where URL might be:
http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/search/label/Epistemology

and CATEGORY might be:
Epistemology

And now back to blogging rather than metablogging.


1. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/magazine/11ideas1-21.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress_Subject_Headings
3. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1823651&show=html
4. http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/categories-vs-tags/

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