chapter 02
active family resemblance - AFR

Wittgenstein famously spoke "family resemblance" among concepts.

I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than "family resemblances"; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and criss-cross in the same way. — And I shall say: "games" form a family.

for instance the kinds of number form a family in the same way. Why do we call something a "number"? Well, perhaps because it has a direct relationship with several things that have hitherto been called number; and this can be said to give it an indirect relationship to other things we call the same name. And we extend our concept of number as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.

— Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, §67

Wittgenstein's exposition makes it sound like words are static but defined by overlapping similarities. It is more useful to think of our minds, using the power of its massive multiprocessing, makes sense of words by finding and sometimes inventing similarities in real time. This is a process we call "understanding."

To emphasize this aspect of our words, I will refer to it as active family resemblance, or AFR for short.

AFR is possible in the background because of our MMPMs. This makes speaking | thinking }| understanding abstract concepts, including all our general concepts we use to "understand" the world, somewhat problematic.
The words are fluid, constantly shape-shifting, or criteria shifting, subconsciously in the background of our conscious activities.

It follows that we cannot think in categories
as categories are not categories.

While definitions, facts, and even generalizations may be true or false, more general statements are neither true or false

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