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Classification is the fundamental interpretive process found in political cognition whether individual or collective Recall that Ronald Reagans freedom fighters and Leonid Brezhnevs bandits and criminals were two classifications for the same Afghanistan resistance These leaders selected labels to call forth desired political actions in their audiences The intended perlocutionary effects arise because the labels elicit particular ways of framing the problem or seeing-as Wittgenstein 1953 and from these stereotypical or natural political responses follow Examples such as this suggest that classification is a fundamental political act Mefford 1988a standing behind conflict and cooperation The basic cognitive process at work in classification involves an interplay between the micro-classifications of actions and relationships that call forth particular constructions of situations These constructions in turn demand concordant micro classifications Paul Ricoeur 1971 has dubbed this the double hermeneutic When problem framing is freed from temporal anchors in the present this classificational process shades into analogical reasoning or precedent logics which has been proposed to model political understanding and organizational decision-making Alker Christensen 1972 Alker Bennet Mefford 1980 Mallery Hurwitz 1987 Mefford 1987 Mallery 1988a 38-47 Because classification is a central cognitive process with high relevance for politics tools to simulate classification are a high research priority They can help reveal the cognitive dimensions of the phenomena as they yield methods for computational politics - the subfield of political science that uses symbolic reasoning techniques from artificial intelligence to formally model politics This paper introduces semantic content analysis a methodology whose vehicle is automatic recognition and classification of instances in the knowledge representations of texts or text models Here the RELATUS Natural Language System provides an environment that allows an analyst to syntactically parse and semantically represent a variety of English texts A lexical word classification system that operates on text models allows the analyst to find micro-classifications and in this way perform a semantic content analysis of texts Earlier computerized content-analytic techniques could
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