‘Things – are they clouds?’ (translation of French post by Jean-Paul Galibert below). My comment: Categories, labels and defined entities – how artificial are they?

Every item or thing has three states:

– the cloud of causes

– the thing

– the cloud of effects

The thing is only a pose (a phase, a moment) of the cloud.

It’s the hyphen, the transitory concretion, the transition between two clouds.

The thing is the passage of clouds.

** ** **
Here is a comment I made to this intriguing and poetic blog post by Jean-Paul Galibert. People have endless trouble with understanding the boundaries of things and classes of things, and I believe one of the concepts from our extraplanetary culture says something essential about this that has not yet been expressed on the planet Earth.

** ** **

It is not an easy point to make, but very deep in the relevant philosophy, you find that there is some necessary circular logic in definitions and conceptions, including definitions of ‘things.’ We call this defining circularity ‘epistemic self-fulfilling prophecy.’

Here’s a brief excerpt from my book ‘This Moonless Sky’ that sheds some light on it. The theme is developed further throughout the book. Here, a character says to a group of us:

“We all know that nothing in nature is truly delineate – the dog as a species is not entirely separable from the wild wolf, the number ‘one’ is only conceptually distinct from one plus an infinitely small number. We all have genes that intersperse and intergrade with those of our neighbours and our enemies, if we have any enemies. All the substances of our bodies replace themselves constantly, so that we are fuzzy processes moving through space, sucking molecules up in one place and sweating them out in another. Well, I am sure you all know the delineation paradox.”

And yes, we do know, because this is something we’re taught in high school. So then I, as the narrator, explain to the readers:

“The ‘delineation paradox’ is a diagram … that is a sentence inside a circle. The circle is made of another sentence. The inner sentence says ‘this entity, defined by the delineation around it, is real.’ The outer sentence, the one that wraps around the other, says, ‘this delineation, which defines the entity within it, is not real.’  (See illustration below).

In other words, you can’t say the dog as a ‘separate’ entity doesn’t exist, even though in some cases dogs can scarcely be distinguished from wolves, and can interbreed with them very easily. The thing is real; its definition leaks.”

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2 Responses to ‘Things – are they clouds?’ (translation of French post by Jean-Paul Galibert below). My comment: Categories, labels and defined entities – how artificial are they?

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  2. Pingback: Aristotle’s missing link in basic philosophy: lectics, the study of opportunity, choice and decisions. | thismoonlesssky

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