Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back to basic structures and elements

Continuing in the IPS states, stages and WC lattice thread:

I'd like to refresh some posts on the difference between elements and substances per Bryant, for I see a relation between Wilber's distinction between basis and transitional structures. We discussed this starting on p. 71 of the OOO thread. Recall in TDOO, chapter 4.1 Bryant notes that 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." 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.

Since Luhmann is a source for both Bryant and Wilber let's look at his article "The autopoeisis of social systems." For Luhmann thoughts are the basic elements in conscious systems, as communications are for social systems. And he means basic elements, not holons (or substances in assemblages), for such elements are undecomposable.

"Conscious systems and social systems have to produce their own...basic elements, that is, thoughts and communications...which vanish as soon as they appear" (9).

On pp. 9-10 elements must be ephemeral, for a system cannot store and maintain them all. They must be disintegrated and reintegrated on a continual basis. Also his discussion of time and  renouncing "a stable and enduring presence" echo Bryant's use of Derrida.

In this article Maturana and Varela find cognition to the the element(s) of biological systems (3). Also note:

"In addition to temporalisation, Luhmann deontologises the concept of element. Elements are
defined as elements merely through their integration into the system. Outside or independently of the system they have no status as elements; i.e. they are 'not ontically pregiven' (Luhmann 1995a: 22). Elements can, of course, be composed of different components, which could be analysed independently of the system, but as elementary units they are only defined through their relation to other elements and in this sense through the function they fulfill for the system as a whole" (6).

And this:

"In Luhmann's theory the 'human being' is not conceptualised as forming a systemic unity. Instead it has to be understood as a conglomerate of organic and psychic systems. The former consists of biochemical elements, the latter of thoughts. Both systems are operatively closed against each other: no system can contribute elements to the respectively other system. The systems are however structurally coupled; i.e. their respective structures are adjusted to each other in such a way as to allow mutual irritations" (9-10).
So, our organic base is not transcended and included in our mental life but is rather an entirely separate system?!

In Chapter 5 of TDOO. In 5.2 he discusses the intensional and extensional relations of Badiou's set theory. In the former elements of the set are ordered in a particular way, whereas in the latter the elements can be related in multiple ways. I.e., elements in the latter are not defined by their relations whereas they are in the former. He relates this to his exo- and endo-relations respectively. So a particular suobject can be composed of smaller parts with their own substances, but their relations to the larger suobject are exo-relations. Whereas the organization of the endo-relations between those smaller parts is what is undecomposable in the larger suobject, what is particular to that suobject's substance. Hence the endo-relations themselves are not another suobject with substance but what make the larger suobject unique.

Hence per above indeed our biological parts are independent of our thoughts and they irritate each other via structural coupling. Thus the parts are not holons if by that we mean they are completely enveloped and subsumed within the higher order thoughts. But each biological part is a holon in that its endo-relations are indeed completely subsumed and organized within it. Hence Bryant's strange mereology.

From this Bryant blog post:

"This is one reason I’ve elsewhere proposed that the proper being of objects has the status of a ghost or a poltergeist. The proper being of an object is not its parts (other objects), but is rather a ghostly endo-relational structure that cannot directly be perceived but only inferred.... It is that assemblage of powers, attractors, or singularities (tendencies presiding over the entity as act) that make up its proper being."

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