12 Sep 2018

Dupréel (1.6) La consistance et la probabilité constructive, sect 1.6, ‘Hiérarchie des êtres spatio-temporels’, summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is summary and not translation. Bracketed commentary is my own, as is any boldface. Proofreading is incomplete, so typos are present, including in the quotations. Please consult the original text to be sure about the contents. Also, I welcome corrections to my interpretations, because I am not especially good with French.]

 

 

 

Summary of

 

Eugène Dupréel

 

La consistance et la probabilité constructive

 

Part 1

“La consistance”

 

1.6

Hiérarchie des êtres spatio-temporels

 

 

 

Brief summary:

(1.6.1) At the middle stage of consistency of spatio-temporal objects is the solid stage. Solids are things that are directly perceivable and that are capable of enduring for some time all while undergoing slow degradations, for example: stones, tools, jewels, and even whole planets. (1.6.2) At the lower stage of consistency of spatio-temporal beings are inconsistent objects. They are inconsistent in that they lack consistency in Dupréel’s sense of being self-holding and independent (and not in the sense of having contradictory properties). Inconsistent objects have properties that vary in relation to the consistencies of other objects they relate to physically. For example, the shape that liquids and gasses take on is determined by the shapes of the more solid objects that contain them. (1.6.3) The highest beings are those that not only can resist and endure detrimental external influences but as well are able to repair themselves after undergoing such alterations, with the outcome of that self-repair often increasing their consistency to a higher degree than before the attack. Examples of the highest kind of beings (those with the greatest consistency) are living beings, with thinking beings as the highest among them. (1.6.4) While this consistency-building repair process may happen for simple solids, it would not be something we could easily observe; however, it is very easy for us to see it in humans and non-human animals. (1.6.5) When we examine and discuss the degrees of consistency of beings, we must give special attention to collective beings in general, which include assemblages of differents and also mixtures of similars and differents. Too often such collective beings or groups – especially with regard to how they can be distinguished from the mere sums of their parts – are ignored and neglected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

1.6.1

[Solids]

 

1.6.2

[Inconsistent (Not Very Self-Holding) Spatio-Temporal Beings]

 

1.6.3

[Living Beings at the Highest Level of Consistency]

 

1.6.4

[Humans and Non-Human Animals as Obvious Cases for Consistency-Building Self-Repair]

 

1.6.5

[The Importance of Consistent,  Heterogeneous Groupings]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

 

1.6.1

[Solids]

 

(p.13: “Sujet immense qui demanderait la compétence du savant ...”)

 

[At the middle stage of consistency of spatio-temporal objects is the solid stage. Solids are things that are directly perceivable and that are capable of enduring for some time all while undergoing slow degradations, for example: stones, tools, jewels, and even whole planets.]

 

[Recall from section 1.2.2 that the consistency of a being is its capacity to endure throughout a series of its vicissitudes. In section 1.3, we saw that sets of things often undergo a filtering process on the basis of shared powers of affection. We had for example the set of things first found together: sand, gravel, and large stones. They were all placed under the influence of wind. Each of these three things shares powers of affectivity, so the stones were largely unmoved and stayed in place, the gravel was pushed off a little bit away from the stones, and the sand was blown far away but deposited in the same depression in the ground some ways off. In section 1.4, we saw how such filtered groupings, under continued shared influences and vicissitudes, came to become more and more accommodated to one another. This causes the whole grouping they form to gain consistency all while its parts gain consistency too. However, there comes a point where there are two possible ways this group consistency-building can go. One way is toward solidification. Here the parts start to lose individuality and thus consistency as they fuse and homogenize all while the whole they form continues to gain consistency on account of that solidification of its parts. The other direction is toward increased consistency of both the parts and the whole. We see this in life-forms, for example, where the parts continue to diversify and maintain heterogeneity and relative individual independence  all while the whole living being they form also gains consistency on account of its internal heterogeneity that enables it to survive more vicissitudes and variational affections. In our current section, we will now discuss spatio-temporal beings, evaluated on a scale of more or less consistency. As we saw in section 1.4.2, many of the spatio-temporal beings around us tend toward the solidification process. There are three stages here, the middle one being that of the solid, where things are compact and inert. Examples of spatio-temporal things at this stage are stones, tools, jewels, and even a whole planet. They are any thing which is directly perceptible and capable of enduring for some time while also undergoing slow degradation.]

Sujet immense qui demanderait la compétence du savant jointe à l’expérience de l’homme d’action. Pour en marquer seulement la mise en place nous y relèverons trois étages. L’étage du milieu est celui du solide, compact et inerte ; tels sont une pierre, un outil, un bijou, même une planète!, toutes choses directement perceptibles, capables d’une longue durée tout en subissant une lente dégradation.

(13)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.6.2

[Inconsistent (Not Very Self-Holding) Spatio-Temporal Beings]

 

(p.13: “Au dessous de cet étage moyen on rangera tous les êtres ...”)

 

[At the lower stage of consistency of spatio-temporal beings are inconsistent objects. They are inconsistent in that they lack consistency in Dupréel’s sense of being self-holding and independent (and not in the sense of having contradictory properties). Inconsistent objects have properties that vary in relation to the consistencies of other objects they relate to physically. For example, the shape that liquids and gasses take on is determined by the shapes of the more solid objects that contain them.]

 

[Below this middle stage of solids are all the beings that we might call inconsistent beings. But here we should be careful it seems. We do not seem to mean inconsistent as lending to contradictions or heterogeneities. It seems rather to mean not consistent in Dupréel’s sense of “consistency”. So such inconsistent beings are ones that lack their own consistency, meaning that they do not hold well together on their own. Rather, they depend on beings at a higher level of consistency. I do not quite grasp the next point, but I will guess until we get to an example, which is much clearer. So such bodies with a low degree of self-consistency (meaning that they vary in accordance to variations with respect to the higher being they depend upon) will have certain qualities or properties that will undergo those variations, even though the whole body itself will maintain. Fox example, a liquid or a gas has among its properties its physical form in the sense of the shape it finds itself having at some moment. That shape will often depend on the shape of the container that is holding it. So its consistency is not null, because it remains as the liquid or gas that it happens to be, but its consistency is subject to the consistency of an external consistency of another object with its own greater consistency.]

Au dessous de cet étage moyen on rangera tous les êtres que l’on peut appeler les inconsistants en voulant marquer par là leur dépendance de quelque être du niveau supérieur, ainsi les qualités ou attributs des solides, comme la couleur ou une partie d’un corps, varieront comme variera le corps dont elles sont un complément ; un liquide, un gaz, incapables de se soutenir sont soumis au récipient qui les porte ou les retient et dont ils partageront plus ou moins la plupart des variations. Leur consistance n’est jamais nulle, mais toujours soumise à une consistance étrangère.

(13)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.6.3

[Living Beings at the Highest Level of Consistency]

 

(p.13-14: “Les Êtres supérieurs. – Il y a enfin au dessus ...”)

 

[The highest beings are those that not only can resist and endure detrimental external influences but as well are able to repair themselves after undergoing such alterations, with the outcome of that self-repair often increasing their consistency to a higher degree than before the attack. Examples of the highest kind of beings (those with the greatest consistency) are living beings, with thinking beings as the highest among them.]

 

[Beings at the highest level of consistency obtain their consistency on the basis of their own means of action. Such beings cannot only avoid or endure detrimental external influences that cause alterations to them, they can also repair themselves after having been detrimentally altered, sometimes even being stronger than before. (Perhaps we might here think about building immunities to pathogens or repairing damaged muscle material, which builds those muscles stronger.) Beings of this highest level of consistency are living beings, and highest among them are thinking beings. (I am guessing the next point is: So as we can see, we can order beings on the basis of consistency in this way where the higher ones are those that are most resistant to external attacks and that even increase in consistency as a result of them.)]

Les Êtres supérieurs. – Il y a enfin au dessus des solides et des inconsistants les êtres dont la consistance particulière repose sur des moyens d’action desquels ils sont intérieurement pourvus. Ceux-là ne sont pas seulement capables d’atténuer les altérations subies, ou d’éviter certains d’entre elles, mais il leur arrive même de restaurer les dégradations subies par le fait de l’extérieur, au point de se retrouver dans le même état qu’avant le détriment, voire dans un état plus avantageux. Ce troisième étage est celui des êtres vivants ; à leur sommet sont les êtres pensants. Notre analyse de la consistance en général nous permet d’y joindre les | êtres collectifs en voie de progression et qui doivent à la similitude de leurs éléments de riposter aux attaques du dehors par un progrès relatif de leur consistance.

(13-14)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.6.4

[Humans and Non-Human Animals as Obvious Cases for Consistency-Building Self-Repair]

 

(p.14: “Lorsqu’il s’agit de collections de solides simples, ...”)

 

[While this consistency-building repair process may happen for simple solids, it would not be something we could easily observe; however, it is very easy for us to see it in humans and non-human animals.]

 

[(I do not grasp the next idea. I am for now guessing it is the following. In section 1.6.3 above we saw that beings of the highest level of consistency can self-repair after detrimental external influences and even thereby attain yet a greater consistency as a result (perhaps like muscle-building or immunity-building). Maybe now Dupréel is saying that such processes could be found among simple solids, only these processes are too hard to detect by means of normal human observation; however, this process we very easily can observe among non-human animals and humans. See the quotation below.)]

Lorsqu’il s’agit de collections de solides simples, ce processus est toujours trop rare, ou plutôt trop peu accusé, trop partiel, interrompu ou trop lent pour tomber directement sous notre observation, mais il se confirme entièrement quand la collection est celle d’éléments déjà pourvus du plus haut degré de consistance, tels que les animaux et les hommes.

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.6.5

[The Importance of Consistent,  Heterogeneous Groupings]

 

(p.14: “Dans l’enquête sur le degré de consistance des êtres ...”)

 

[When we examine and discuss the degrees of consistency of beings, we must give special attention to collective beings in general, which include assemblages of differents and also mixtures of similars and differents. Too often such collective beings or groups – especially with regard to how they can be distinguished from the mere sums of their parts – are ignored and neglected.]

 

[(ditto)]

Dans l’enquête sur le degré de consistance des êtres une place importante est à réserver aux êtres collectifs en général (y compris les rassemblements de différents, et les mélanges de semblables et de différents). L’importance des être collectifs, des groupes en tant que tels, à distinguer de la simple somme de leurs éléments, a toujours été méconnue et négligée.

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dupréel, Eugène. (1961). La consistance et la probabilité constructive. (Classe des lettres et des sciences morales et politiques 55, no.2). Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique.

PDF at:

http://www.academieroyale.be/fr/les-publications-memoires-detail/oeuvres-2/la-consistance-et-la-probabilite-constructive/.\

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