Division and Classification: A Lecture in Logic


“EVERYTHING IS IN PLACE and a place for everything”
          Our mind is a repository of wealth of information that needs methodical and and easy-to-use tool in accessing what we need to use in our everyday conversation, decision making, and for just simple mental recall. As rational beings, we most of the times need to organize our thoughts. Besides definition, we have another method of making our ideas clear in order to arrive at a better understanding of their meaning: the method of division and classification.
Division is the resolving or breaking up of a whole into parts. To divide means to separate the various parts of a thing or to break up a whole into its component parts. So, for example, the human body has integral parts – head, arms, legs, hands, and feet; the tree also has many parts, like the roots, the trunk, the branches, the leaves, and its fruit. Division may also mean breaking down a broad field of study into specialized fields of study; for example science – as a broad field of study is divided into biology, zoology, botany, chemistry, physics, anatomy, ecology, and the like.  
          Division or breaking up into component parts have three kinds: physical or real, logical, and metaphysical.
Physical or Real Division is the resolution of a thing into the natural parts which it has independent of the mind. For example, a car has many parts: wheel, engine, body, chassis, seats, windows, and more. 
Metaphysical division is the division of an essence of a thing or being into its parts, for example, the human being has three essential parts: soul, spirit, and body [in contradistinction with the common knowledge that man has two components, body and soul]. 
In Logical Division the mind divides a ‘logical whole’ into its component parts in as much as a universal idea is broken into the members which constitute its extension or denotation. A classical example of a logical division is the Porphyrian tree for living substances, which is shown below:
Rules of Division
Division is an important method in making our ideas clear in order to arrive at a better understanding of meaning of ideas and terms. Division is used many disciplines: in book-keeping, warehousing, archiving, personnel information, and many more. It allows us to organize our ideas, the things or objects at our disposal, from most important to less important matters. Division is important also in organizations. Division of labor is important, for example, in securing efficiency and effectivity in factories . It is most often applied to systems of mass production and is one of the basic organizing principles of the assembly line. Breaking down work into simple, repetitive tasks eliminates unnecessary motion and limits the handling of different tools and parts.But in doing so, we must be guided by these three principles of division:
Division should be adequate.This means that all the parts taken together must equal the whole; no more, no less. In other words, no part must be omitted. For example, To say that human being has body and soul is incomplete; for man has spirit, that which comes from God, that gives life to man.
Division should be consistent. This means that the principle or criterion for subdividing things, objects or entities should be consistent so as to avoid the error of cross-division. For example, dividing vehicles into jeepneys, buses, trains, Mercedes-Benz, airplanes, helicopters, B-52s, F-16s, Caterpillar, tricyles, bicycles, yachts, submarines, would be confusing since what we had is an admixture of vehicles without logical order, for division should follow a criteria, like land vehicles, aerial transport vehicles, and marine transport vehicles. Then land vehicles may be divided according to the number of their wheels, as in bicycles, tricycles, or 4- wheelers, 6, 10, 16, or more; or according to brands: Toyotas, GM s, among others.

Division should be clear and orderly. So it must not leap from a higher to a lower class and omit the middle class. The process should be gradual, from one class to its immediate subclasses, and from one subclass to another, and so on. Further, division must be reasonably limited in members. To enumerate too many members in one group or catalog is confusing. For example, to divide the school of fish into a list of hundred names of fishes is a useless division. So is the classification of living things in biology that brings order into chaos and brings us an organized perspective of living beings.     

If Division is breaking up of a whole into its component parts, Classification is the systematic placement of entities (objects, things, ideas) in categories in accordance with their similarities in properties, structure, origin, etc. For example, in Biology, plants and animals are classified in a series of increasingly specialized groups because of their similarities in habitat, body structure, size, trait, among others, that indicate common relationship. There’s plant and animal kingdom; classified according to phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.
Furthermore, if division is breaking up of a thing or universal idea into its component parts, classification is gathering or collecting things/objects with similar properties in order to form a class or a group. For example, we break up a vehicle into its component parts like engine, gear box, seats, tires, body, windows, etc.; but we may classify cars according to its maker: GM, Chrysler, Rolls-Royce, Toyota, Hyundai; or according to kind; and many more.    
Importance of Classification
Florentino Timbreza says that classification is a method of unification. It helps the mind to grasp, at a glance, a great variety of properly classified phenomena. By making a comparative study and assorting the similarities and differences amongst the various varieties of species, organisms can be classified into groups or sets. Like for example, taxonomy is a regular branch of science that is involved with the purpose of arranging or grouping organisms. Even in the field of education, classification plays an important role. Benjamin Bloom, for example, formulated the Taxonomy of Learning Objectives in 1956 and is still useful to curriculum planners and designers today.
{*One important note on classification: We must remember that man does not belong to animal kingdom. The Bible is clear about this that animals were created first [Gen. 1:24 TEV] and human beings afterwards. Man was then given by God the “power over the fish, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small” [Gen. 1:26 TEV]. We will treat this subject at length later on.}  
Types of Classification
Natural classification is when things are classified according to their natural or essential attributes or structures that they manifest.For example, in zoology, animals can be grouped into viviparous animals, who bring forth living young rather than eggs, and oviparous animals, who produce eggs that mature and hatch after being expelled from the body, as birds, most reptiles and fishes, and the monotremes.
          Now, when things are classified purely according to conventional or arbitrary characteristics, it is called artificial classification. For example, policemen can be classified as those who are wearing uniforms and those who are wearing civilian clothes; cars are classified according to size, color, or maker; or passengers who are in business class and those who are in economy class.
Important note on making classification:
Beings, objects, or things must be classified in accordance with their most common attributes, be it natural, accidental, or artificial. The numerous and important characteristics possessed by the individuals or or objects must be the basis of classification. 
Celestine N. Bittle, The Science of Correct Thinking: Logic. The Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee. 1950, pp. 82-91.  
Rev. W. L. Davidson. The Logic of Classification. Mind Vol. 12, No. 46 (Apr., 1887), pp. 233-253. Published by: Oxford University Presson behalf of the Mind AssociationURL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2247048
Florentino T. Timbreza. Logic Made Simple for Filipinos. Phoenix Press Inc., Quezon City, Philippines. 1999, pp. 25-32.
Alma Salvador Santiago. Logic: The Art of Reasoning. Redman Printing Press, 4th ed. 2006.
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