This is a continuation of my response to jc's comments, under the entry "Books."
As I guess everybody knows, the standard Roget's has words listed in the back, with numbers next to them. You look up the word, find its number, then look up the number in the front. The thing that is so great about it is that the numbers mark off conceptual categories, into which the words fall. It's good because you can see how nuances of meaning between words are given by the differing general concepts that govern their definitions. I love that. Though admittedly I love conceptual categories in general. As it were.
Anyway, it gets better. My understanding is that Roget was a realist about the categories, which means that he thought that meaning is organized in the way that it is because reality is organized that way. Reality with a capital r, that is. Now, that's probably wrong deep down - or, maybe it's only right deep down - but it's still kind of neat (a word that I recognize can be said but not written) that the thesaurus is so unabashedly ontological. You have to admire an attempted mapping of what philosophers call real (in contrast to "nominal") kinds. Don't we think?
But why do they always have to be dicks? (See jc's report of article about how Roget was an unpleasant weirdo.)