In architecture school, we had many long discussions about things most non-designers probably never give much thought to. These always swung quickly between absurdly abstract and philosophically important, and I could never be sure which of the two was currently happening.
One of those discussions was about what makes a spoon a spoon. What is it that distinguishes a spoon from, say, a teapot? Is it the shape, a little bowl with a handle? Is it the size, able to be held in one hand? The material? Would it still be a spoon if it were 10 ft long or had sharp needles all over or if it were made of thin paper? What gives it its ‘spoonyness’?
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