Subject and Keywords:
This paper is devoted to the problem of using natural categories in scientific works. The Polish word starość (age) is used in the social sciences as a scientific term, despite the fact that it has retained its polysemy, and, more importantly, is emotionally marked. The author of this paper argues that attachment to this category of description results not only from the well-established position of the lexeme starość in the lexis of the Polish language, but it also reflects a need for a synthetic naming of the period of human life which is both analogous to childhood and holds a symmetric relation to it. The idea of a symmetry between the beginning and the end of human life appeared in the art of the sixteenth century and it was upheld by the science of the nineteenth century. Despite having been challenged by the findings of particular human sciences, this imaginary is still strong, which causes the term starość (age) to be still employed in scientific descriptions.