AKA categorist beliefs.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of prejudice is:
- a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge
- b : an instance of such judgment or opinion
- c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics
In the conceptual framework of categorism, prejudice is about beliefs rather than feelings. Thus using (a) and (b) above, while considering (c) to be a matter of how the concepts of prejudice and bigotry are sometimes used as being synonymous with each other and with categorism itself.
As a part of categorism, prejudice is when preconceptions stop being a tool for preliminary understanding, and instead becomes a mental prison or a dirty weapon. On this level, the concept of “stereotypes” does not need to be differentiated from the concept of “preconceptions”. Using a reasonable level of stereotypes can be included in the concept of having reasonable preconceptions, while being locked in stereotypes or using stereotypes in a harmful manner can be included in the concept of prejudice.
The Philosopher Gadamer famously argued in favor of “Prejudice”: Embracing it as something good and necessary, arguing that the danger is not in prejudice itself - but rather in believing oneself to be objective and free from prejudice. However, Gadamer is using a very wide definition of prejudice, going back to the word's root “pre-judgement”. In other words, he use it as synonymous with the more neutral word “preconceptions”. In the conceptual framework of categorism, like in so many other contexts, the word prejudice is given a more limited meaning: Limiting it to destructive prejudices and to a mind-narrowing clinging to one's preconceptions.