Prejudice

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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.

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.

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.

Together with bigotry and discrimination, prejudice is one of the three archetypical facets of categorism. See also From categorization to categorism.