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2003年09月18日11:29:17 网易教育 雨&彩虹

"People often look for similarities, even between very different things, and even when it is unhelpful or harmful to do so. Instead, a thing should be considered on its own terms; we should avoid the tendency to compare it to something else."

In this statement, the speaker claims that it is unhelpful and harmful for people to turn too often to similarities as yardstick of judgment and evaluation. Instead, it is more sensitive to consider a thing on its own terms and thus avoid hasty and unfair consideration. I fundamentally agree with the speaker insofar as the deleterious consequence of frequent peer comparison is considered, but the speaker overlooks the compelling force behind this phenomenon.

It is true that looking for similarities has become a deep-rooted tenet as soon as we come to make judgment for thing that we encounter. By focusing on the similarities of big cities, we overlook the distinctive character of their unique cultural diversity, ethnical feature and national identity. In the area of business investment, an investor who are lack of the cute sense of seeking out uniqueness would result in entrust capital with poor performers who apparently has no abilities to make the best of his investment. What is more, in today’s educational system, schools tend tosgroupsstudents according to their class performance, grades and so on which is based on the assumption that similarities among them would act as catalyst of facilitating communication and quick learning. Those are just part of the numerous examples that we find in our daily life that distinctiveness is quenched and similarities is cultivated.

Another example that best illustrate this is when it comes to the judgment of people. Admittedly, no matter from psychological or sociological research, we human being has formed a tendency to form group according to common shared superficial similarities such as gender, religion, ethnic, etc. and to cater for this group identity by maintaining these shared values. If we run contrary to the original tenets that enable us to be a member of this group, we run the risk of being prejudiced and misjudged and thus suffer the fate of being an outsider again. This is harmful since the sensible and judicious evaluation should be based on innate characteristics such as personalities and accomplishment.

Yet, in another sense the speaker goes too far by overlooking a fundamental, even philosophical reason why we look for similarities between things. By seeking similarities among daily occurrence is the only way that our human being can truly learn anything and communicate with each other. Developmental psychologist and epistemologists all agree that children form ideas, concepts by imitating what happens or uttered around them and after these basic concept-building process, they make judgment on the base of how similar a thing is to their concept. This is also the way that children communicate with peers and schoolmates, which the safest and most comfortable way of communication is what they are already familiar with.

To sum up, I agree that false analogy and seeking false similarities would be harmful since this ideology bears the danger of undistinguished assimilation and unfair exclusiveness, especially when it comes to the hasty judgment of people. Nevertheless, from a philosophical point of view, humans must look for similarities between things insgroupsto learn and communicate.


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