Real Species

SKÁLA Zdenek skala at INCOMA.CZ
Fri Apr 23 16:35:14 CDT 2004

Pierre Deleporte:
> Hence "contemporaneous" is as important as "spatially connected" for 
> defining an individual, or a looser system. A real, observable one, not a 
> human thought construct. Real things out there are contemporaneous and 
>spatially related

I suspect that going consequently this way, the concept of "individual" will disappear at all. "Spatially connected" is a matter of scale, hence a pretty subjective thing. Is a table individual? And two tables laying one on another?

The same is true for "contemporary" - if you are observing a man's breast, you do not see the back and vice versa - obviously you depends on a belief ("theory") that the other side is still existing when you are not observing it... (sorry for this simple example - more sophisticated extensions are welcome ;-)

Even more this is true for "processes" (you are quoting mutation, selection...) - provided the only "real things" are those observed/contemporary ones, only the "state A" or "state B" can have some "reality" but not the process of change A->B (say, mutation).

In such a way, we are coming to the conclusion that all we have are only perceptions and mental constructs based on them (classes, concepts, theories etc.). This is nothing bad - that's only old'n'good nominalism (in many flavours). I believe that this conclusion is even inevitable when one tries to consequently apply formal reasoning (logics, mathematics) to ""real"" world - that is, unavoidable path of the science (in its present form at least). We only should be consequent and either (1) develop another concept of "real thing" than observability/spatial configuration or (2) avoid the concept of "real things" at all.

Best regards!
Zdenek Skala
skala at

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