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When the part mirrors the whole: interactions beyond simple location

Gomez-Marin, Alex and Arnau, Juan (2019) When the part mirrors the whole: interactions beyond simple location. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Reductionists believe that we can make sense of the whole in terms of its parts. Emergentists react and reply that the reductionist program is unattainable partly due to the existence of emergent properties. Under the celebrated banner “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”, such holistic stance is particularly relevant to the study of life and mind, where interactions amongst system components and environment are key. However, both antithetical tendencies of reduction and emergence betray a commitment to what Whitehead called simple location: the idea that things are simply where they are. Here we show the problematic consequences of adopting such a view when trying to understand the notion of identity. Dynamic interactions indeed denote “togetherness”, and yet they are external: no matter how much one is eager to emphasize their role, each element that “inter-acts” still exists and can be thought regardless of any essential reference to other elements. We uncover and reject such stance. Within an organismic philosophy, we propose an alternative based on internal relations, which allow to conceive each relationship entering into the essence of an entity. We discuss the fallacy of simple location in the context of abstraction, and end by drawing its implications for a theory of perception. In sum, we argue that the challenge is to conceive “inter-identities” as "intra-identities". We are not enduring interacting substances, but internally related processes.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gomez-Marin, Alexagomezmarin@gmail.com
Arnau, Juan
Keywords: simple location, internal relations, interaction, identity, perception
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Perception
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Alex Gomez-Marin
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 03:20
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 03:20
Item ID: 16795
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Perception
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: July 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16795

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