I would like to know if there is a theoretical analysis regarding how people cognitively process information about, and form judgments about, a class of things, based on knowledge of specific members of the class.

The idea is that people form prototypes in their mind, defined by certain attributes. When the prototype is formed, it allows them to form propositions about the class itself. However, there is ambiguity, when they use the general plural. Examples can show that the general plural is very flexible when it comes to quantification. I believe there is a “continuous space” of meaning that allows them to switch between different, implicitly assumed, quantifications in a way that feels logically fluid. By explicating this, one could expose ambiguity in language, to think and analyze the meanings of sentences more precisely, accurately and clearly.



  • I don’t think metastasize is the word you’re looking for here. Viewing attributes as ‘cancers’ that harmfully spread from the concrete to the abstract doesn’t seem to be the viewpoint in your actual question. Nov 28, 2023 at 11:53
  • Mitosis would be a better choice. Your question would benefit from one or two concrete examples of what you are referring to, to go with the abstract characterization.
    – user6726
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:31


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