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ISBN 13: 9780776604237

To do so would require a rigid prescription for every corresponding required action. This would lead to an unmanageable explosion of complexity. The evolutionary advantages of an alternative approach are obvious — functions, which guide an appropriate response, are built up piecemeal as a result of interactions with the world, and retained for use on an as-needed basis.


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The world provides its own representation, accessed as and when required. A price has to be paid however, which is that complete determinism is sacrificed for a degree of indeterminacy. An entity in the world will have one facticity but, for an agent, it can have any number of functions.

Online Dictionary of Arabic Philosophical Terms

The idea of complementarity in physics arose from dealing with very small energies; it arises in human behaviour from dealing with very great complexity. We do not have a fixed, determinate set of structured responses to events in the world, as have robots or insects. Unlike such deterministic agents, our functionality is continually evolving. Our responses to the world, as inferred by other agents, thus have a fundamental indeterminacy. They are continually and flexibly generated from our contingent interactions with our surroundings, and with other people.

Consequently our detailed behaviour can never be wholly predictable. In everyday life there are many not wholly material entities to be reckoned with, things which can kick us although we cannot kick them.

Money is a good example. It cannot be characterized by a simple stone-like reality — try paying your bills with your own specially produced pieces of paper! These sorts of reality, which dominate our lives, can be characterized using complementarity. How then do facticity and function combine in a complementary way to characterize the everyday reality of money?

What makes it money is a socially-agreed, legislatively-backed function. The physical validation, for proof against forgery and so on, can be carried out by physical tests. The binding social agreements that ensure that particular pieces of paper are genuine ten pound notes are what establish the function of these pieces of paper as money. Banks are social realities in a similar way. Why some buildings are banks is because their operation is guaranteed by a set of social, legally-defined functions, governing the ways we interact with the people and systems in them.

It is useful at this point to introduce another pair of terms. We inhabit a world full of things to which we, and the society we live in, have allocated meanings and uses, to which we have allocated specific functions.

Philosophical Sweep

Those for which functions have been allocated we will call objects chairs, ornaments, weapons, ten pound notes, banks…. But the process can work the other way round — we can project meanings onto arbitrary things, in which case we call them symbols. Ten pound notes are symbols, pieces of paper which society has endowed with legally binding meaning and use. Systems of symbols enabling us to speak, read and write, and symbol-manipulating systems like mathematics, underpin all modern civilization.

Wherever we look in our everyday world we see not mere things, but objects and symbols — we see a world suffused with meaning. Some objects are used to help us to solve problems.

AND OTHER ESSAYS

We use them in complementary ways. Consider using a map to navigate unfamiliar terrain. Maps are collections of symbols that can be interpreted by applying rigidly-prescribed rules. This is how a satellite-navigation system uses the maps embedded in it. There are thus two complementary aspects to the creation and use of maps.

They must be coherent under an appropriate set of rules for their creation and use they are syntactically correct. And the maps must correspond to the way the world is; they must be coherent under an agreed set of meanings they are semantically correct. These complementary forms of reasoning, which we may call respectively syntactic and semantic reasoning, are illustrated in the following examples of complementarity in action.

For an example of using complementary forms of reasoning, consider the process of determining whether someone is guilty of a serious crime such as murder or manslaughter.

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This is carried out by a jury guided by a judge. It involves interpreting the meaning of rules.

Both of the complementary aspects of reasoning, rule-based and meaning-based, come into play here and interact. When examining raw evidence, thinking about the detailed aspects of evidence, studying the facial expressions of witnesses and accused, one is working in a world of meanings and uses, and one is guided by experience and intuition coloured by emotion. When considering the codified law and its implications, one is driven by reason and is following rules. In almost all of the important aspects of daily decision making, we use both of these complementary types of reasoning to form conclusions.

Works of art are symbols, things to which an artist has ascribed function that is meaning or use. Shape, colour, pattern, texture, size and detail are all used to express a vision, feeling or concept of beauty. When we look at a work of art, a reverse process takes place. We draw upon our emotional and cognitive capacities to ascribe function meaning, understanding or appreciation to the facticities before us paintings, drawings, sculptures, etchings.

We decode the symbolism that confronts us. From an initial bald facticity, and from our efforts to respond to it rationally and emotionally, we slowly learn to ascribe function to it. Such function, drawing on our personal and social experience, has to be reconciled to the facticity we see. The complexity of the complementary thought processes involved in each person reaching a specific conclusion about any given work of art ensures that different people will necessarily reach different views, which reflect their different experiences.

Any congruence of views saying that this particular thing is a great work of art is essentially a social consensus. When physicists first grappled with the paradoxes inherent in the behaviour of very small particles, they had great difficulty in coming to terms with the solutions proposed. Any experimental examination of small particle behaviour involves an exchange of energy. Looking at anything involves light being bounced off it.

Light itself had been found to consist of small, energetic particles called photons.

Difficulties in looking at very small particles stemmed from the impossibility of examining them without disturbing them. When something massive has light bounced off it, it is virtually unaffected. But when a photon hits an electron, the electron is deflected. It took physicists a long time to switch from a particle or wave description to a particle and wave description. One famous physicist, when asked whether he believed in waves or particles, said that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays he believed in particles, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays he believed in waves.

On Sundays he tried to make his mind up. As someone deeply interested in philosophy, I had a similar trouble with reality. I longed for the certainty of a stable point of view. Title Cited by Year Linear diagrams for syllogisms with relationals. G Englebretsen. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 33 1 , , Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 21 1 , , Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 17 4 , , History and Philosophy of Logic 28 2 , , Notre Dame journal of formal logic 27 1 , , Notre Dame journal of formal logic 30 3 , , Articles 1—20 Show more.

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