17 Jul 2018

Dupréel (1.3) La consistance et la probabilité constructive, sect 1.3, ‘La similitude’, summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

[Search Blog Here. Index tabs are found at the bottom of the left column.]

 

[Central Entry Directory]

[Eugène Dupréel, entry directory]

[Dupréel, La consistance et la probabilité constructive, entry directory]

 

[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”

 

1.3

La similitude

 

 

 

Brief summary:

(1.3.1) Beings’ vicissitudes can be analogously affected by shared influences, like wind blowing all the different things on a plain. We notice here that beings with analogous vicissitudes have features in common but also distinct ones too. We wonder, do differences in their fates result from differences in their features? To perform our analysis on this matter, we will begin with beings that share more common traits than differences, and we call such beings: similars. (1.3.2) When a variety of things are haphazardly mixed together, that mass can be easily disassembled by one common influence, like wind blowing on a mass of sand, gravel, and large stones. The sand will blow far away but in the same direction and probably all deposit in the same place, while the gravel will move only slightly and the large stones not at all. There groupings were sorted on account of shared powers of affection (of affecting and being affected), and elements with different powers were filtered out from one another. So while they were still their haphazard mixture (sand-gravel-stones), they had little consistency, because their various powers of affection made it such that the identity of the mass was easily disrupted. But after that sorting influence, the parts held together more readily, because they were not contaminated by other elements that would split-off from the group and thereby break the collection apart when a common influence affects the whole conglomerate. (1.3.3) We can thus observe the following. Outside influences affecting a plurality of similars probably result in {1} the similarity of the similars maintaining throughout the affective influences, and {2} the elements coming closer together on account of the separation of the different things and the increase of the consistency of the collective being that constitutes their whole, or otherwise to give rise to this collective being on account of their increased capacity to conserve under the altering factors. (1.3.4) We turn now to the effects on the interrelations between members of a sorted group of similars. External influences will cause the individuals of the group to interact more with each other. And as the group becomes more consistent, the relations between the individuals become more intimate and constant, and exterior influences tend to translate into a proliferation of mutual relations. (1.3.5) Exterior influences transfer collisional energy internally to the members, which disruptively collide into one another, now continually transferring that once external energy among each other internally as they jostle each other about. Thus the internal effect of external influences on collections is an elementary antagonism among the collection’s members. (In collections with a low degree of consistency, like the stones-gravel-sand collection being struck by wind, the members affect one another differently, causing the collection to eventually break apart. But) in collections with high degrees of consistency, like the sorted sand collection, the members affect each other similarly, and for that reason their movements come to mutually accommodate one another. Thereby, the elementary antagonism in collections with high degrees of similarity and consistency gradually decreases and eventually dissipates often without breaking the collection apart. (1.3.6) The exterior influences imposed upon collections of similars thus tend to bring about an increase in the individuals’ compatibilities, and their mutual accommodations will make them more immune to disruptive external and internal influences. This increased compatibility of the elements is a main factor in what allows the collection to endure and maintain consistency. Consider for example stones that have fallen from a seaside cliff. At first they were jagged and malformed. But by being  constantly “tumbled” around by the tides, they take on a rounded form that, on account of its increased hydrodynamic shape, is less influenced by the water currents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

1.3.1

[Studying the Role of Similarity and Difference in Beings’ Vicissitudes]

 

1.3.2

[Similarity and Increased Consistency]

 

1.3.3

[The Results of Common Influence on Similars]

 

1.3.4

[The Increased Interactivity of Individuals in a Consistent Grouping]

 

1.3.5

[Internal Elementary Antagonisms from External Influences and Their Dissipation through Consistency]

 

1.3.6

[Increased Immunity and Consistency through Mutual Accommodations]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

 

1.3.1

[Studying the Role of Similarity and Difference in Beings’ Vicissitudes]

 

(p.9: “Tous les êtres suffisamment rapprochés ...”)

 

[Beings’ vicissitudes can be analogously affected by shared influences, like wind blowing all the different things on a plain. We notice here that beings with analogous vicissitudes have features in common but also distinct ones too. We wonder, do differences in their fates result from differences in their features? To perform our analysis on this matter, we will begin with beings that share more common traits than differences, and we call such beings: similars.]

 

[Recall some basic ideas from the previous section 1.2.2: We defined the consistency of a being as its capacity to maintain its identity throughout the variations or “vicissitudes” it undergoes as a result of its interactions and relations with other beings (p.7, section 1.2.2). Dupréel now notes that when beings are close enough to be modified similarly by the same influence, like the wind blowing equally on all things in the plain, then we can see that the things have common properties (that allow for their common modification by a common influence) and also particularities that distinguish them (perhaps seen in the different sorts of modifications, like the grass bending with the wind, or the rock  remaining still but very slightly eroded.) We now wonder if the differences in the beings result in differences in their fates, despite their shared or analogous vicissitudes. Normally it is a mixture of the two contraries such that it is difficult to assess what about their fates results from their differences and what from their similarities. So it would aid our analysis if we worked with beings that either have more similarities than differences or more differences than similarities. Thus we will begin by focusing on beings with strongly similar characteristics, and we will call these resembling beings: similars.]

Tous les êtres suffisamment rapprochés pour connaître des vicissitudes analogues, tel un vent qui souffle également sur tous les objets épars dans une plaine, ne manquent pas d’avoir entre eux à la fois des qualités ou propriétés communes et des particularités par lesquelles ils diffèrent les uns des autres. Nous nous demanderons si les conséquences des vicissitudes éprouvées en commun influent sur le destin de ces êtres différemment selon que domine chez eux les similitudes ou les différences. Le cas normal étant un mélange de ces deux contraires, il peut être difficile de discerner quelles conséquences sont dues à de la différence, et quelles résultent de la similitude. On les ditinguera mieux si les êtres considérés, en même temps qu’assez voisins, sont semblables par un nombre de caractères communs qui l’emporte nettement sur les différences, ou dans le cas contraire. C’est pourquoi nous fixons notre attention – au moins pour commencer – sur les êtres qui se distinguent immédiatement par une forte majorité de caractères semblables, et que nous appellerons, pour faire court, les semblables.

(9)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.3.2

[Similarity and Increased Consistency]

 

(p.9-10: “Que peut-il résulter de particulier ... ”)

 

[When a variety of things are haphazardly mixed together, that mass can be easily disassembled by one common influence, like wind blowing on a mass of sand, gravel, and large stones. The sand will blow far away but in the same direction and probably all deposit in the same place, while the gravel will move only slightly and the large stones not at all. There groupings were sorted on account of shared powers of affection (of affecting and being affected), and elements with different powers were filtered out from one another. So while they were still their haphazard mixture (sand-gravel-stones), they had little consistency, because their various powers of affection made it such that the identity of the mass was easily disrupted. But after that sorting influence, the parts held together more readily, because they were not contaminated by other elements that would split-off from the group and thereby break the collection apart when a common influence affects the whole conglomerate.]

 

[We wonder, what in particular could result from these similars when they undergo altering factors that are continually imposed on them by the environment? (Recall again from section 1.2.2 that the consistency of a being as its capacity to maintain its identity throughout the variations or “vicissitudes” it undergoes as a result of its interactions and relations with other beings ((p.7, section 1.2.2)).) There is a good chance that the consistencies of the similar things under common influence will remain more or less equal (that is to say, their capacity to maintain their identity will remain about the same for all of them, perhaps on account of their similar constitution and powers of affection. Thus we should expect that the beings will be altered in the same way at the same times. The next point I am not grasping so well, so I am guessing it is the following. His example is that we have masses of large stones, of gravel, and of sand. All are submitted to the same desert winds. The wind blows all the sand the furthest, all in the same direction, most likely depositing in the same depression of in front of the same obstacle. The gravel, which is heavier, moves much less than the sand, and the heavy stones remain in place. Thus there are three types of similars that began intertwined, and in that state they do not form much of a unified whole. But at the end of the wind events, they have undergone a sorting process that isolates them into groupings where each one has a higher degree of consistency than they had in their original mixture. (The idea might be the following. When they were mixed together, they had a low degree of consistency, because wind was able to alter its identity drastically by dividing it into homogenized parts that it initially was lacking. And, each part is now grouped together in a way that will more likely keep them together. Thus the sorting process increased the consistencies of the components. It would seem to be that what puts them into the common groups is their common powers of affection. And with those common powers, they will usually stand together or break apart under the same influences at the same time. Now, since the powers of affection are what define the consistency, we can say that the consistency’s identity is this shared power of affection. And since by them sharing it in common, they are naturally grouped together, and also, since they have been purified of elements with different powers of affection, they now have more consistency, because there is less chance of influences extracting parts of it with distinct powers of affection).]

Que peut-il résulter de particulier à ces semblables du fait de leur commune soumission aux facteurs altérants que leur inflige perpétuellement le milieu ? Étant très analogues du fait de leurs communes propriétés, il y a toutes chances que leur consistance soit sensiblement égale ; dès lors les altérations éprouvées par l’influence du dehors seront plus ou moins les mêmes, de même sorte ou d’égale gravité ; ils seront changés, mais en même temps et de la même manière. Retenons ici que quelque chose de spécifique se produit ainsi qui ne provient pas de telle qualité particulière, mais qui est uniquement le fait de l’égalité dans le changement subi. Soit un amas de grosses pierres, de gravier et de sable, exposé aux souffles du désert. Le vent chasse le sable au loin, dans une même direction, avec toutes chances de le déposer enfin dans quelque dépression ou devant un même obstacle ; le gravier, plus pesant, n’est écarté que de peu, tandis que les pierres lourdes sont demeurées sur place. Il y aurait donc là trois espèces de semblables qui s’entremêlaient, empêchant pour chacune un rapprochement plus complet. A la fin de l’aventure les trois espèces ont subi un triage qui en les isolant, en rapprochant les éléments de même sorte, procure à l’être collectif que constitue chacune des trois espèces, un plus haut degré de consistance. Brouillées ensemble, la consistance de ces trois sommes étant pratiquement nulle ; il est permis de considérer que c’est l’opération survenue qui leur a donné la valeur d’une existence propre et discernable.

(9-10)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.3.3

[The Results of Common Influence on Similars]

 

(p.10: “On dira donc que les influences ... ”)

 

[We can thus observe the following. Outside influences affecting a plurality of similars probably result in {1} the similarity of the similars maintaining throughout the affective influences, and {2} the elements coming closer together on account of the separation of the different things and the increase of the consistency of the collective being that constitutes their whole, or otherwise to give rise to this collective being on account of their increased capacity to conserve under the altering factors.]

 

[(ditto)]

On dira donc que les influences du dehors exercées sur une pluralité de semblables ont pour effet probable 1° de maintenir la similitude à travers le changement produit, 2° de rapprocher les éléments les uns des autres par l’éloignement relatif des différents et d’accroître de ce fait la consistance de l’être collectif que constitue leur ensemble, ou pratiquement de donner naissance à cet être en le rendant capable à son tour, de se conserver en dépit des facteurs altérants.

(10)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

Effets sur les rapports entre semblables, à l’intérieur du groupe.

 

 

 

1.3.4

[The Increased Interactivity of Individuals in a Consistent Grouping]

 

(p.10: “Plus remarquable encore est la conséquence ... ”)

 

[We turn now to the effects on the interrelations between members of a sorted group of similars. External influences will cause the individuals of the group to interact more with each other. And as the group becomes more consistent, the relations between the individuals become more intimate and constant, and exterior influences tend to translate into a proliferation of mutual relations.]

 

[(ditto)]

Effets sur les rapports entre semblables, à l’intérieur du groupe.

 

Plus remarquable encore est la conséquence des vicissitudes quelconques sur les rapports mutuels des éléments eux-mêmes (nous dirons désormais des individus, puisque les semblables évolués sont membres d’une collectivité, d’un groupe). Les influences extérieures ont pour effet normal d’ébranler plus ou moins les individus et de les précipiter les uns vers les autres. En fait, à mesure que l’être collectif devient plus consistant, plus étroits et plus constants sont les rapports entre les éléments, et l’influence du dehors tend à se traduire par un foisonnement de rapports mutuels.

(10)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.3.5

[Internal Elementary Antagonisms from External Influences and Their Dissipation through Consistency]

 

(p.10-11: “Il serait long de détailler les conséquences ... ”)

 

[Exterior influences transfer collisional energy internally to the members, which disruptively collide into one another, now continually transferring that once external energy among each other internally as they jostle each other about. Thus the internal effect of external influences on collections is an elementary antagonism among the collection’s members. (In collections with a low degree of consistency, like the stones-gravel-sand collection being struck by wind, the members affect one another differently, causing the collection to eventually break apart. But) in collections with high degrees of consistency, like the sorted sand collection, the members affect each other similarly, and for that reason their movements come to mutually accommodate one another. Thereby, the elementary antagonism in collections with high degrees of similarity and consistency gradually decreases and eventually dissipates often without breaking the collection apart.]

 

[When an exterior influence affects a collection of elements, the impact at first will often take the form of elementary antagonisms between the elements. The received blow disperses throughout as internal collisions, each exchanging their movement energies with each impact and reaction. But these multiple antagonisms are gradually attenuated and eventually eliminated on account of the consistency and similarity. (Consider if the collection had low consistency, like the stones-gravel-sand collection from the example. The wind is an external influence that causes the individuals to move about internally in the collection, impacting one another. Here the collisions have a noted effect, namely, to break the collection apart. But think instead of the sifted sand collection, which has greater consistency. When the wind blows it, the antagonisms between the grains will eventually dissipate without causing it to break apart as much. This seems to have something to do with the fact that the way each individual affects the others is largely the same for each, so the antagonisms over time have little notable effect.) For, the affections of each member upon the other are restrained and mostly equivalent on account of the sameness and consistency of the members, which facilitates their common mutual accommodations of one another’s influences.]

Il serait long de détailler les conséquences de l’action du dehors sur le dedans d’une collection aux éléments rapprochés les uns des autres ; on retiendra que ce retentissement prend d’abord assez régulièrement la forme d’un antagonisme élémentaire. Le coup éprouvé devient entrechoquement général, le premier bousculé recule sur un autre auquel il impose une partie de l’impulsion reçue, et le fait va se généralisant, combiné avec les inerties et les ripostes. Mais ces antagonismes multipliés ont chances de demeurer provisoires, et toujours atténués, finalement éliminés, pour cette raison que étant semblables et de consistance analogue, les lésions communiquées sont restreintes et assez exactement équivalentes, finalement éliminées dans un aménagement géné­ral, dans une commune accommodation au détriment survenu.

(10-11)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.3.6

[Increased Immunity and Consistency through Mutual Accommodations]

 

(p.11: “Ainsi le changement qu’impose à la collection ... ”)

 

[The exterior influences imposed upon collections of similars thus tend to bring about an increase in the individuals’ compatibilities, and their mutual accommodations will make them more immune to disruptive external and internal influences. This increased compatibility of the elements is a main factor in what allows the collection to endure and maintain consistency. Consider for example stones that have fallen from a seaside cliff. At first they were jagged and malformed. But by being  constantly “tumbled” around by the tides, they take on a rounded form that, on account of its increased hydrodynamic shape, is less influenced by the water currents.]

 

[(ditto)]

Ainsi le changement qu’impose à la collection des semblables une suite d’influences extérieures tend à se traduire par un perfectionnement de la compatibilité des individus. Leurs accommodements feront qu’ils résistent avec moins de dommage aux contacts répétés de leurs associés. Cette compatibilité acquise de ses éléments est une condition de la durée d’une collectivité, en même temps qu’elle constitue pour chaque individu un progrès de sa consistance propre. Ainsi des cailloux tombés de la falaise, incessamment « roulés » par les marées, d’anguleux et difformes qu’ils étaient d’abords, prennent une forme arrondie qui rend moins dommageables les entrechoquements et moins graves et moins durables les pressions subies.

(11)

[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/.\

.

.

No comments:

Post a comment