Classifying, categorizing, and naming

From civicintelligence

Discussion of the capability in individuals

This is an awareness. Making distinctions between aspects of a situation requires awareness of oneself in relation to the scenario. Meta-cognition is a highly developed trait in humans it would seem. Individuals are able to find patterns and solutions for nearly everything we experience. The logical left brain facilitates this as the right brain absorbs "raw" information from the outside world [1]. Much classifying is unconscious, but when focused attention is given to analyzing a situation, the brain is able to discern new categories based on chosen values. A militant group might see a genocide as a chance to vie for power while a humanitarian worker would see a violation of human rights in need of aide. The different criteria used to analyze this situation may seem very personal and unconscious, yet we all have the ability to view the situation from another perspective. The perspective is chosen.

Once the perspective is chosen, the individual identifies traits that relate to their values. Then they may categorize the traits into those that are helpful, those that deter, and those that are irrelevant. Labeling the traits in this way helps the mind quickly sort them while applying them to possible solutions. This helps us perceive problems better.

Discussion of the capability in society

All of the unconscious classifying, categorizing, and naming we do as individuals inherently and unavoidably influences our classifying, categorizing, and naming as a group. With all the differences in opinion, it is not obvious, but we are preprogrammed with a bias to view things from the human perspective. Throughout history decisions have been made on the large and small scale to benefit human needs. It is our instinct. Through the lens of civic intelligence, it would be wise to identify their influence and categorize them. Then, as you ponder a solution, it is possible to determine which instincts are helpful and which are not.

Whatever values are used to classify characteristics of a situation will guide what course of action to take. The next step is creating indicators to show if the actions are working or not.

How it currently works


Potential deficiencies

Idealized version of how the capability would work in society


  • Who holds the power to name, and in what context?
    • Why is it important to know who holds this power?