Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Of dominant monads and dominant gonads

Continuing from this post I’ll include the last comment and proceed.

Recall the following from TDOO, chapter 4.1, where Bryant qualifies the above. It is similar to Wilber's comments about this in Excerpt C * but there are differences. More on that later.

"To illustrate Luhmann's thesis, I turn to the simple example of a humble dialogue. For the last few years I have been fortunate to have the friendship of my colleague Carlton Clark, a rhetorician at the institution where I teach. Within a Luhmannian framework, this dialogue is not a communication
between two systems (Clark and myself), but rather is a system in its own right. In this respect, Clark and I belong not to the system of this dialogue, but to the environment of this dialogue.... The dialogue is an entity itself that constitutes its own elements (the communication events that take place within it) and that is something Clark and I are bound up in without being parts or elements within the dialogue."

* See p. 50 and following. He even goes into a similar discussion about Luhmann on 60 and following.

A point Wilber makes is that a social holon doesn’t have a dominant monad like an individual. He uses Luhmann to support this, since social holons have a different kind of agency. While Bryant also uses Luhmann in making a similar distinction, nevertheless social holons have their own individual substance. Granted it’s not like an individual human’s but that’s one of his points; autonomous substance is a much broader general concept untainted by the kind of anthropomorphic epistemic fallacy within which Wilber frames it. I will also bring in Mark Edwards, who also shows that social holons are indeed autonomous and have 4 quadrants.

In the referenced TDOO chapter Bryant makes a distinction between the elements of a substance with substances proper. The elements are not substances but rather are the stuff that substances create and organize in their endo-relations, i.e., elements "are not ontically pre-given." Elements are also not the material parts of a substance, for they are continually replaced. Again the elements are those endo-relations themselves that a substance creates within its organization.

"Elements are always elements for a substance. They only exist as elements within the endo-structure or endo-composition of a system and do not, as we have seen, have any independent ontological existence of their own. Substances, by contrast, always enjoy an autonomous ontological existence in their own right, and therefore only exist in relations that are external to them. That is, substances are capable of breaking with their relations and entering into new relations, or of existing completely without relations at all."
Based on this "humans are not part of society." We are not elements as outlined above, as we are suobjects with substance. (Or is that suobstance?) Hence only communications are inside society as the elements organized via endo-relations; we are on the outside. Hence the quote provided in the preceding post about dialog.

Now the endo-relations of any suobject, individual or social, is not the same as how suobjects can also be nested within other more inclusive suobjects. While elements are subsumed within a subobject, per above the smaller suobjects are not themselves subsumed parts of the larger but rather subsist within the environment of the larger suobject. Hence they retain their autonomous substance. He not only uses the human-society example above but also how cells are nested in larger bodies. Hence there is no giant assholon of which all are subsumed as parts.

Wilber has a similar notion for social holons in excerpt C, but it is starkly distinguished from individual holons that maintain a dominant monad. And such monads have a transcend-and-include interior, where the constituent suobjects within larger suobjects are subsumed within the larger or higher ruling authority. Wilber intuits there is a difference here but doesn't have the distinction between elements and substances. And as a consequence there is not only a dominant monad for individual holons but also a super holon of everything (assholon) that provides the ruling authority-theory of everything, and within which everything is unified.

It just dawned on me that another consequence is that Kennilingam is a dominant gonad!

Now on one of the other tentacles (with Cthulhu in mind) Kennilingam is on to something with dominant monads (DM). Granted for him only sentient holons have them but still there are similarities with Bryant's substance. DMs are a "locus of prehension" (C, 57). But then he gets all anthropomorphic about it, or at least sentient-morphic. In arguing against a DM for social holons it is because they do not have a "dominant 'super-I' that is aware of and controls all its parts (56).* If he'd just stick to the locus of prehension and Luhmann, something Bryant does, his DM would be more akin to Bryant's substance. But with his usual metaphysical flair there has got to be something transcendent in DMs that distinguish them from mere insentient matter.

Edwards addresses the sentient/insentient split, as well as the individual/social split in numerous of his writings, where I'll go next as time permits.

* Wow, talk about a metaphysics of presence: aware and in control of all its parts? Bryant doesn't go anywhere near that far with substance and endo-relations, given his inclusion of the withdrawn.

1 comment:

  1. Edwards discusses insentience in Through AQAL Eyes, Part I.* This distinction is contrary to the AQAL notion that all holons have development both on the inside and outside. Granted so-called insentient holons like a desert or a heap might have a very large and nebulous boundary, and take long spans of time to show development, still those characteristics are there. The following sounds a lot like Bryant's internal and external patterning described above about dialog.

    "All entities, systems, processes, events and activities will always, therefore, have some characteristic form of internal and external patterning around which we can draw valid holonic boundaries when we wish to see, experience or investigate them in a true developmental context."

    Later in this essay he deals with the individual/social split.

    "Social holons have an individuality and a unity that is completely unique to that social holon."

    Again it sounds like Bryant's dialog. He also gives the example of the human body, considered a individual holon yet could just as easily be considered a social holon, given the plethora of life-forms that reside therein.

    "Similarly the behaviour of groups can be understood in some instances only when it is regarded as an individual holon and as a single system."

    Now one question I have--I have several but for now this one--can the elements of a suobject's substance, which themselves do not have substance, be considered holons? If we define something as an autonomous suobject, whether sentient or insentient, whether individual or social, and elements as defined by Bryant are without such autonomous substance, can they nevertheless be holons? In a way it seems Bryant is also distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate singularities based on their powers of organization. Edwards sees these organizational powers as the defining characteristic of holons. Bryant see substanceless elements as the organizational structure of endo-relations.

    * http://www.integralworld.net/edwards5.html


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