Definition of category mistake in English:

category mistake


(also category error)
  • The error of assigning to something a quality or action that can properly be assigned to things only of another category, for example, treating abstract concepts as though they had a physical location.

    ‘Indeed, some opponents of temporal-parts theories contend that the theory rests on just such a category mistake - the mistake of treating persisting objects as if they were processes.’
    • ‘To apply the political term ‘authoritarian’ to an ontological account may at first seem to be a simple category mistake.’
    • ‘In the words of the philosophers, it is a category mistake to put miracles and laws in the same set.’
    • ‘To suggest that embodied chemical properties can solve systemic institutional problems is to commit a serious category mistake.’
    • ‘Atheism is primarily an episode in the history of the decline of Christianity, and the idea that there is anything resembling an atheist tradition beyond that limited context is a category mistake.’


category mistake

/ˈkadəˌɡôrē məˈstāk/ /ˈkædəˌɡɔri məˈsteɪk/