The Methodological Particularities of Contemporary Knowledge
Beyond Descartes we encounter a fabulous world which we are just beginning to disentangle. The truly amazing fact is not as much that this non-Cartesian world really exists but rather that it is a fundamental one.
After almost five decades from the launching of non-Cartesian knowledge there is still a lot of confusion and certain undervaluing ( often voluntary, conservative ) regarding the specific and role of this knowledge as well as the correct rapport between the two horizons – Cartesian and non-Cartesian. To highlight the indisputable fact that after 1960 the knowledge experienced a genuine methodological revolution and not a mundane conceptual reform ( such as modern / postmodern ), I considered necessary to introduce this special section putting alongside – for the first time – the main Cartesian and non-Cartesian values ( some of the latter still waiting to be universally recognized ).
The modern knowledge ( Cartesian values ) / the contemporary knowledge ( non-Cartesian values )
- Central category: Thing / Living Being
- Original essence: Matter / Spirit
- Reference existential category: Real / Potential- possible
- Defining approach: Linear / Nonlinear
- Reference systems: closed, stable ( monadic, integrable ) / opened, unstable
- Intersystemic connection: weak ( separability ) / synconnection ( inseparability )
- Thinking type: Cogito ( calculus ) / Living emotional thinking
- Typical exposure: Verbalism / Multimedia message
- Preferred reference frame: Space (material essence) / Time ( spiritual essence )
- Synthesis: Antinomic ( based on exclusion ) / Synthesis with harmonizator ( based on inclusion )
- Measurement ( dynamic mechanisms ):discontinuity essence / Collapse of wave function / Decoherence (continuity essence )
- Methodological principle: Divide and rule / Harmonize and develop
- Principle of sufficient reason: Any real has a reason ( Leibniz ) / Let be possible
- Integrative principle: Holism ( parts determine whole ) / Syntegration ( no parts )
- Identity principle: A = A ( tautology: change without change ) / AE ( essentially the same . Mediation )
- Stability type: static, conservative ( extinction of fluctuations ) / dynamic, generative (order from fluctuations )
- Status of being : stable; Plato: What is becoming it is not./ unstable : Just what is becoming, it is.
- The role of subject: passive ( reflects the real from outside ) / active, creative (ontological agent )
- Changing vector: Action ( transfer of energy- impulse ) / Communication ( in-formation )
- Environmental approach : partial / reductionist: mitigating Co2 emission / global – integrative: Nature as living thing
- Type of distinctiveness: divalent: either/or ; trivalent : both /and ( the new, distinct value = T state : solitons…)
What has substantially new intervened? There are some main aspects:
- the opening of any type of real toward possible and correlatively the establishing – firstly in physics of high energy and in quantum mechanics – of objective character of potentiality = potential – possible states
- recognizing the decisive role of the control exerted by the whole through communication / information in selection and development ( especially – Heideggerian principle of tuned reality );
- recognizing the primordial role of unstable systems / states in development;
- promotion of the active – creative role of subject / subjectivity and correlatively of the spiritual factor in becoming of existence in broad sense ( real + possible ).
Note: any non-Cartesian value mentioned above comes with many conceptual / methodological implications extremely interesting for all those wanting to escape from Cartesian ” corset “. In the following I will exemplify this statement by shortly elaborating about the essential role of unstable system / states within the contemporary knowledge.
Unstable Systems and New Development Category
Traditionally, in the Western world the instability has been considered almost exclusively as a negative, disturbing property endangering the integrity and survival of the system itself. For instance, generations after generations, the American nation has staked down on a rather conservative stability, involving the extinction of fluctuations, even though this way the development itself was obstructed because instability mean new movement / motion possibilities. From a methodological view point, one can conclude that the modern society – with its stable, closed , localized systems – has been a rather degenerative social system because the linear – equilibrial regimen it is incompatible with authentic genesis / creation. This idea has been elaborated especially by the Belgian / Brussel school of thermodynamics, Glansdorff – Prigogine: ” the destruction of structures is observed in the immediate vicinity of thermodynamic equilibrium. Conversely, the generation of structures can be observed beyond the limits of stability.”
The aversion of the modern world toward instability / indeterminism as well as its preference for local realism has been best personified by Albert Einstein, his adagio “ God does not play dice ” being well known. Apart from the …Divine reply : “ Albert, dice is a play for adults, for details ask A. Kolmogorov…” , the best (… human ) non-Cartesian reply came from the great mathematician Gregory I. CHAITIN: “ Einstein will be horrified to discover that not only does God play dice in quantum and classical physics but also in pure mathematics.“
Non-Cartesian methodology, being par excellence a generative methodology, gives a central attention to unstable systems / states and correlatively to fluctuations, considering these as a key factor in general development. As previously shown in this blog, presently, in science and knowledge, there is a fundamental, methodological change – the passage from conservative contexts ( linear – analytical or structural – equilibrial ) to generative contexts ( non-linear, physis situation ). For instance:
- physis situation recognizes and promotes the central role of instability / fluctuations in development; see section Tao or Physis.
- time in broad sense is centered on wavy potentiality ( fluctuations ! ) which disperse the obsolete reals to make possible new genesis;
- catastrophe theory with its stocasticity internalization recognizes the intrinsic / major status of systemic instability;
- quantum decoherence implies the action of environmental fluctuations which by suppression of interference effects allows the detachment of local entities from quantum coherence / nonlocality.
As a conclusion: the unstable systems / fluctuations play an essential role in generative stability being the core of the new development category ( see ” Development in Broad Sense ” soon to be published on this blog ).