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[Xmca-l] Re: Parts and wholes
Greg: yes, this would also be my own ontological position: what we refer to as entities are bundles of relations between singular instances of being that are not continuous and self-identical. However, this view is not necessarily dominant, most people refer to things as complete-in-themselves entities. What is important is that if we adopt this position toward all entities, then the word “stone” would have to refer only to the relations between its constituents and not, in any way, to these constituents themselves. I am not sure if most people would be comfortable with this move. The arch, however, would be easily conceivable as an arch also if it were to consist, say, of blocks of ice instead of stones. I may have referred to this before, but it is a good example: the Ise Shrine, the main Shinto shrine of the Sun Goddess, is torn down every 20 years and built anew, according to the same blueprint, from new wood, and yet the Japanese consider it to be the same shrine, not a copy, not a rebuilding, but the same, because its structure is (in fact, allegedly) the same.
Alfredo: yes, there is an analogy, but in my understanding it would be incorrect to distinguish between “mental” as opposed to “real” or “natural”, and allocate a great deal of reality to the latter domain because, as Greg just said, the “natural” is just as relation-based as the material embodiment of a human idea. In that sense, all perceived objects are mental, because we prefer to see them as things in their own right rather than as more or less consistent bundles of relations between constituents that are divisible at least beyond the reach of our perceptual apparatus.
With best wishes,
> On 03 Sep 2016, at 17:27, Greg Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I'm confused about the ontological distinction between the stone and the
> arch. Seems like the stone is just a collection of relations between parts
> in the same way that the arch is a relation between parts of stones. The
> stone is made up of molecular relations that are subsequently made up of
> atomic relations. If you look at the atomic and molecular scale of the
> stone, it looks something like a bridge - a bundle of relations that are
> held together in time.
> And if you look across long enough scales of time, you could watch the
> relations of molecules begin to fall apart as the stones turn to dust.
> Thus if we look across longer timescales or smaller spacescales, the
> relational nature of the stone is no more "closed and implicit" than the
> arch of the bridge.
> It seems like the important difference between the two has to do with
> "humanly-constructed" vs. "naturally constructed"? One was constructed
> (instituted) by human ideas, the other by natural ones...
> This seems less of an ontological matter and more of a practical matter of
> "how it's made".
> But, perhaps I've misunderstood the proposed ontological distinction?
> On Sat, Sep 3, 2016 at 7:21 AM, <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Alfredo, I notice you referred to the “mental” in scare quotes. This
>> reminds me of an earlier post where we explored the notion of the “mental”
>> as an aspect of our “folk” psychology.
>> In the background I also hear David Kellogg moving from material problems
>> of existential problems with flooding bridges, abstracting and going
>> deeper, and then re/turning to the concrete.
>> Does the language of *parts and wholes* express this bi-directional
>> movement adequately?
>> I also hear in the background Merleau-Panty's notion of developing “new
>> organs of sense”.
>> The word “repetition* in relation to same/difference seems critical. To
>> repeat the (identical) may be technology, mechanical, scientism, but
>> something is lacking?
>> Reading the movement of *repetition* not as (identical) or the (same) but
>> as bidirectional *back and forth* through questions and answers, and
>> through regression to the known and anticipation of *something* new seems
>> to be a particular notion of movement, moving towards developing *new
>> organs of sense*?
>> In anticipation of discussing the meaning of perezhivanie it seems we may
>> be *setting the table* for a lovely chat by opening a clearing
>> Possibly, could be.
>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>> From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602