On being categorized in the speech of others


Some psychologists argue that in general we self-ascribe characteristics according to others' perceived reactions to us. In illustration michael argyle cites a case involving the self-Ascription of popularity. But popularity is what I here call a 'reaction-Determined characteristic, That is, A characteristic such that certain others' reacting to someone in a certain way is logically sufficient for his having it. The general import of cases involving such characteristics needs careful examination and I argue that in fact argyle's case does not support the general thesis in question. I conclude that 'ordinary language' analysis is important for the evaluation of psychological data.



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Margaret Gilbert
University of California, Irvine

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