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[Xmca-l] Re: Parts and wholes
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Parts and wholes
- From: Martin John Packer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 3 Sep 2016 03:27:02 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: Parts and wholes
Okay, but I wasn’t exploring the issue of which one — substance or formula -- is basic. You suggested that the arch should be thought of as, ontologically speaking, an idea or a formula. It struck me that we could extend the vocabulary a little and say that the arch is a function.
I don’t want to hijack the thread, it’s just that I’ve been reflecting recently on Lewin’s distinction between Aristotelian and Galilean science, and the difference between substantial concepts and functional concepts. Your remarks seemed to me to point to something similar.
> On Sep 2, 2016, at 10:16 PM, Rein Raud <email@example.com> wrote:
> Well, workable ontologies can be constructed out of both approaches - both the traditional way of thinking that self-identical continuous things are the basic constituents of what is, and that relations between them are contingent upon them, or that infinite division is possible unto the level of subatomic particles whose material self-identity and continuity cannot be determined, and that therefore we are safer with thinking of all existents as composites, in which case the formula-level is primary. RR
>> On 03 Sep 2016, at 06:09, Martin John Packer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Which way we take to be basic?
>>> On Sep 2, 2016, at 10:03 PM, Rein Raud <email@example.com> wrote:
>>> Well, this depends on which way of existence we take to be basic. RR
>>>> On 03 Sep 2016, at 05:56, Martin John Packer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>>>> Interesting proposal, Rein. Might one also say, do you think, that we could say that the ontological status of the arch is a function? In the mathematical sense.
>>>>> On Sep 2, 2016, at 9:30 PM, Rein Raud <email@example.com> wrote:
>>>>> Let me point out a basic ontological difference between the two levels of the arch and the stones. When we speak about stones, we refer to things the wholeness of which is closed and implicit, ie the molecular structure of the minerals that make these stones up is, for us, not really relevant in the context of their “stoneness”. However, when we speak about the arch (as intended in Calvino’s parable) we are not actually referring to a similar “thing”. The arch is nothing but the relation in which the stones are placed to each other. Its own ontological status is that of an idea, or a formula. (As soon as we begin to think of stones as molecular structures, the same difference is highlighted on a lower level, as it can be with molecules consisting of atoms etc.) When Li Chun is looking for a cleaner arch, from which superfluous stones are eliminated, he performs an analogical operation to what mathematicians do when they reduce 3/18 to 1/6. Thus, in order to formulate the
>>>> oblem clearly, we need to distinguish between the characters of a formula and an entity (the being of which is not contingent of the formula, as the stones can easily make up also something other than a bridge).
>>>>> With best wishes,
>>>>> Rein Raud