5 Jun 2009

Bateson, Kant & Differences that Make a Difference, in Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity

by Corry Shores
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Kant & Differences that Make a Difference

Gregory Bateson

Mind and Nature:

A Necessary Unity

Ch. IV

Criteria of Mental Process

Criterion 2. The Interaction between Parts of Mind is Triggered by Difference

Kant argued long ago that this piece of chalk contains a million potential facts (Tatsachen) but that only a very few of these become truly facts by affecting the behavior of entities capable of responding to facts. For Kant’s Tatsachen, I would substitute differences and point out that the number of potential differences in this chalk is infinite but that very few of them become effective differences (i.e., items of information) in the mental process of any larger entity. Information consist of differences that make a difference. (110a, strong emphasis mine)

Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. London: Wildwood House, 1979.

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