[Fis] Book Presentation
stanowskimariusz at wp.pl
Sat Apr 2 16:13:46 CEST 2022
*“Theory and Practice of Contrast: Integrating Science, Art and
*Published June 10, 2021 by CRC Press (hardcover and eBook).*
Dear FIS list members,
Many thanks for the opportunity to present my recent book in this list.
Our dispersed knowledge needs an underlying structure that allows it to
be organised into a coherent and complex system.
I believe “Theory and Practice of Contrast” provides such a structure by
bringing the considerations to the most basic, general and abstract
level. At this level it is possible to define *contrast as a tension
between common and differentiating features of objects. It grows in
intensity as the number/strength of differentiating and common features
of contrasting structures/objects increases*. Contrast understood in
this way applies to any objects of reality (mental and physical) and is
also an impact (causal force) in the most general sense. Contrast as a
common principle organises (binds) our knowledge into a coherent system.
This is illustrated by a diagram of the connections between the key
Below are brief descriptions of these connections.
*Contrast—Development *When observing a contrast, we also observe the
connection between contrasting objects/structures (resulting from their
common features) and the emergence of a new, more complex structure
possessing the common and differentiating features of connected
structures. In the general sense, the emergence of a new structure is
tantamount to development. Therefore, it may be stated that contrast is
a perception of structures/objects connections, or experience of
development. The association of contrast with development brings a new
quality to the understanding of many other fundamental concepts, such as
beauty, value, creativity, emergence. (Similarly, /contrast as
development /is understood in Whitehead’s philosophy).
*Contrast—Complexity *In accordance with the proposed definition, when
we consider the contrast between two or more objects/structures, it
grows in intensity as the number/strength of differentiating and common
features of contrasting structures/objects increases. Such an
understanding of contrast remain an intuitive criterion of complexity
that can be formulated as follows: *a system becomes more complex the
greater is the number of distinguishable elements and the greater the
number of connections among them*/. /If in definition of contrast we
substitute “differentiating features” for “distinguishable elements” and
“common features” for “connections”, we will be able to conclude that
*contrast is the perception and measure of complexity.*
Note: Two types of contrasts can be distinguished: the sensual
(physical) contrast, which is determined only by the force of features
of contrasting objects and the mental (abstract) contrast which depends
primarily on the number of these features. (This contrast can be equated
with complexity). (The equation of contrast with complexity is an
important finding for the investigations in: cognitive sciences,
psychology, ontology, epistemology, aesthetics, axiology, biology,
information theory, complexity theory and indirectly in physics).
*Complexity—Information Compression *Intuition says that the more
complex object with the same number of components (e.g. words) has more
features/information (i.e. more common and differentiating features),
which proves its better organization (assuming that all components have
the same or similar complexity). We can also say that such an object has
a higher degree of complexity. The degree of complexity is in other
words the brevity of the form or the compression of information.
Complexity understood intuitively (as above) depends, however, not only
on the complexity degree (that could be defined as the ratio of the
number of features to the number of components) but also on the (total)
number of features, because it is more difficult to organize a larger
number of elements/features. In addition, the more features (with the
same degree of complexity), the greater the contrast. Therefore, in the
proposed /Abstract Definition of Complexity /(2011), we multiply the
degree of complexity by the number of features. This definition defines
the complexity (C) of the binary structure (general model of all
structures/objects) as the quotient of the square of features
(regularities/substructures) number (N) to the number of components or
the number of zeros and ones (n). It is expressed in a simple formula: C
= N²/n and should be considered the most general definition of
complexity, among the existing ones, which also fulfils the intuitive
criterion. (This relation explains what compression of information in
general is and what role it plays as a complexity factor. This allows to
generalize the notion of information compression and use it not only in
computer science, but also in other fields of knowledge, such as
aesthetics, axiology, cognitive science, biology, chemistry, physics).
*Information compression—Development *Our mind perceiving objects
(receiving information) more compressed, saves energy.
Compression/organization of information reduce energy of perception
while maintaining the same amount of information (in case of lossless
compression). Thanks to this, perception becomes easier (more
economical) and more enjoyable; for example, it can be compared to
faster and easier learning, acquiring knowledge (information), which
also contributes to our development. Compression of information as a
degree of complexity also affects its size. Complexity, in turn, is a
measure of contrast (and vice versa). Contrast, however, is identified
with development. Hence, complexity is also development. This sequence
of associations is the second way connecting the compression of
information with development. Similarly, one can trace all other
possibilities of connections in the diagram. (The association of
information compression with development brings a new, explanatory
knowledge to many fields including cognitive science, aesthetics,
axiology, information theory).
*Development—Value *Development is the essence of value, because all
values (ethical, material, intellectual, etc.) contribute to our
development which is their common feature. It follows that value is also
a contrast, complexity and compression of information because they are
synonymous with development. (The relation explains and defines the
notion of value fundamental to axiology).
*Value—Abstract Value *About all kinds of values (with the exception of
aesthetic values) we can say, what they are useful for. Only aesthetic
values can be said to serve the development or be the essence of values,
values in general or abstract values. This is a property of abstract
concepts to express the general idea of something (e.g. the concept of a
chair includes all kinds of chairs and not a specific one). It follows
that *what is specific to aesthetic value is that it is an abstract
value* (although it is difficult to imagine). (This is a new
understanding of aesthetic value, crucial for aesthetics and axiology).
*Contrast—Being *Contrast or interaction is a concept prior to the
concept of being because without interaction there is no existence. It
follows that the basic component of being must be two
objects/elements/components (creating a contrast) having common and
differentiating features. (Understanding of being as a contrast is
fundamental to ontology and metaphysics and worth considering in physics).
*Contrast—Cognition *The object of cognition and the subject (mind)
participate in the cognitive process. The object and the subject have
common and differentiating features, thus they create a contrast.
Cognition consists in attaching (through common features)
differentiating features of the object by the subject. In this way,
through the contrast, the subject develops. It can therefore be said
that cognition is a contrast of the object with the subject. (This is a
new definition of cognition important for epistemology and cognitive
*Cognition—Subjectivity *The above understanding of cognition agrees all
disputable issues (present, among others, in psychology, cognitive
science and aesthetics) regarding the objectivity and subjectivity of
assessments (e.g. whether the source of beauty is the observer's mind,
whether it is a specific quality from the observer independent), because
it shows that they depend on both the subject and the object, i.e.
depend on their relationship—contrast.
*Compression of information—Beauty *Beautiful are objects with high
information compression (a large degree of complexity/organization).
Thanks to the compression of information, perceiving beauty, we save
energy, the perception becomes more economical and pleasant which
favours our development and is therefore a value for us. The example is
golden division. Counting features (information) in all possible types
of divisions (asymmetrical, symmetrical and golden) showed that the
golden division contains the most features/information (an additional
feature is well known golden proportion) and therefore creates the
greatest contrast, complexity and aesthetic value.(This explains the
previously unknown reasons for aesthetic preferences, key to aesthetics,
art theory, psychology, cognitive science and neuroaesthetics).
*Development—Beauty *Beauty contributes to development thanks to the
economy of perception. Perception of beauty is accompanied by a sense of
development or ease and pleasure of perception. (This explains the
causes of aesthetic preferences).
*Abstract Value—Beauty, Art *Only beauty and art have no specific value
but they express/have value in general (an abstract value). The objects
that make up a work of art are not important, but their
contrast-interaction, which results from the complexity of the artwork.
(If we see a single object in the gallery, then the art is its contrast
with the context - as in the case of Duchamp's "Urinal" or Malevich's
"Black Square"). One can say that beauty and art are distinguished
(defined) by two elements: abstract value and a large contrast.(This is
a new and only definition of beauty/art that indicates the distinctive
common features of all aesthetic/artistic objects, it is crucial for the
theory of art, aesthetics, axiology and epistemology).
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