Almost anything—animate objects, inanimate objects, places, concepts, events, properties, and relationships—may be classified according to some taxonomic scheme. Taxonomies of the more generic kinds of things typically stem from philosophical investigations. Starting with the work of Aristotle in his work 'Categories' several philosophers, especially ontologists, arranged generic categories (also called types or classes) in a hierarchy that more or less satisfy the criteria for being a true taxonomy.
Taxonomy, or categorization, in the human cognition has been a major area of research in psychology. Social psychologists have sought to model the manner in which the human mind categorizes social stimuli (Self-categorization theory is a prototypical example). Some have argued that the adult human mind naturally organizes its knowledge of the world into such systems. Anthropologists have observed that taxonomies are generally embedded in local cultural and social systems, and serve various social functions.
Other taxonomies, such as those analyzed by Durkheim and Lévi-Strauss, are sometimes called folk taxonomies to distinguish them from scientific taxonomies. Baraminology is a taxonomy used in creation science which in classifying form taxa resembles folk taxonomies. The phrase "enterprise taxonomy" is used in business (see economic taxonomy) to describe a very limited form of taxonomy used only within one organization. An example would be a certain method of classifying trees as "Type A", "Type B" and "Type C" used only by a certain lumber company for categorising log shipments. The military and health care/safety science fields also have their own taxonomies. In the field of modern computing, the semantic web requires formal XML extension taxonomies (like XBRL) called namespaces.
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