categories vs. continua

Sure we love to categorize things and experiences into discrete regions and there’s surprising structure to the physical world, but that doesn’t mean we have no ability to represent the fine-grained subtleties that exist. We don’t lose the gradient information in the distributions (albeit with modes or local peaks); rather, we represent the underlying gradience and often engage in further processes based on discrete categories. In theorizing, scholars too often partition things into rigid categories in a dogmatic way and forget about our flexibility to work with scales in the mind and the world in a probabilistic way.

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