This is a book on Distinctions. Here I assemble some texts that seem helpful in helping one to appreciate the value of distinctions.
Come, sir, arise, away! I'll teach you differences.
As Austin himself puts the point in ‘Truth’, ‘It takes two to make a truth’: his focus is not solely on language, but, in part through a focus on use of language, the phenomena talked about.
Ontology recapitulates philology.
— James Grier Miller, quoted in Quine, Word and Object.
The Method of PhilosophyMaking Distinctions by SOKOLOWSKI
I wish to help clarify what philosophy is by discussing its method. I will suggest that the form of thinking proper to philosophy is extremely simple: philosophy is the intellectual activity that works with distinctions. Its method is the making and the questioning of distinctions Philosophy explains by distinguishing. This does not mean that philosophy just asserts distinctions and lets it go at that; rather, it works with distinctions, it brings them out and dwells on them, dwells with them, showing how and why the things that it has distinguished must be distinguished one from the other, Furthermore, since it essentially works with distinctions, philosophy sometimes will show that a certain distinction that has been proposed or taken for granted is unreal or invalid. Philosophy sometimes obliterates distinctions. Such rejection of distinctions, however, is the negative and refutational aspect of philosophy's work; its positive success consists in achieving a distinction that clarifies a situation or a controversy, a distinction that brings out the nature of a thing. Furthermore, even when denying a distinction, philosophy proceeds by making other distinctions that allow it to deny the one in question.
Then we look at what philosophers actually do, we find that distinctions are at the nerve of their argument.
Kant distinguishes between sensibility and reason, and then distinguishes imagination from both of them; he distinguishes between moral maxims, rules of skill, and counsels of prudence.
Husserl begins the first of his Logical Investigations by making what he calls "the essential distinctions" between expressions and indication-signs, and later between empty and filled intentions.
Oakeshott distinguishes between an enterprise association and a civil association;
Hobbes distinguishes between the state of nature and civil society;
Locke (after denying any real distinction between innate and acquired principles) distinguishes between ideas and the objects that cause them, as well as between ideas of sensation and reflection, simple and complex ideas, and many other forms.
Aristotle continuously provides arrays of distinctions, such as those among the virtuous, self-controlled, weak, and vicious, between opinion and wish, between activities sought for their own sake and those sought for some end, and the like.
...philosophy is the art of differential diagnosis, done for its own sake.