Classification and Division
In essay writing, Classification and Division are two very common methods of approaching a topic. In one sense, they are two sides of the same coin. The former has to do with grouping things together while the latter is concerned with pulling things apart. Hence you will often find it useful and perhaps necessary to employ both techniques in the same composition.
What Does It Entail?
In Classification you are trying to identify connections between things, commonalities or causal links which have perhaps not been noted by other observers. By locating connections between seemingly distinct phenomena, one makes it easier to comprehend the bigger picture. When working with Division, we are engaged in the contrary endeavour, establishing the ways in which seemingly similar items are in fact distinct.
Complexity and Conception
At base, then, with both Classification and Division, one is concerned with conceptual frames; that is, the intellectual perspectives which we impose on things in order to make them easier to understand. So, for example, we group together those animals in possession of a neocortex, hair, and mammary glands as “mammals”. This is gives a particular framework with which to think about biological organisms: it establishes continuities between certain animal groups, thereby dividing them from other animal groups lacking the attributes in question.
When it comes to division, we are embedding layers of complexity into a broader field. So, while it is all well and good to speak of “mammals” as a distinct group, taxonomists have endeavoured to split this group down into some five-and-a-half thousand sub-divisions or “taxa”. This work of division consequently provides with numerous nuanced conceptual perspectives which enable us to obtain a more precision understanding of mammalian life.
Note that in the above example, both Classification and Division are mutually reinforcing and share an overlapping function. Classification serves on one hand to divide (mammals from reptiles, birds, etc.), which division spawns new classifications (rodents, bears, marsupials, and so on).
System and Method
In cases of either Classification or Division being systematic and methodical is the key. You need to be able to make logical connections between the component parts of the topic in discussion, so that you can demonstrate how said topic relates to another topic, or, contrarily, how important distinctions may be identified between seemingly related parts. Remember: two sides of the same coin.
Because we are seeking to affirm or refute conceptual frames, composing a Classification and Division essay requires that you make a persuasive case. This means you need to mount a solid argument for why an item merits your proposed Classification or Division.
A good argument follows the prescripts of logical reasoning. You will accordingly want to make clear early on what kinds of Classifications/Divisions you intend to establish and how you plan to do so. Really, you are trying to get the reader to agree with your point of view and thus accept the conceptual frame you are offering. To achieve this, you will need to offer a robust argument.
Seeing as you are effectively constructing an argument, you will want to open with a thesis statement, an assertion of what it is you are trying to prove and what the significance of this is. Next, explain you method of approach (to classify or divide) and your reasoning in this objective. Progress gradually and keep to the conventional order of classical argumentation. If your reasoning and logic are without error then it will be very difficult for any reader to disagree with your case.
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