[Fis] Book Presentation

Mariusz Stanowski stanowskimariusz at wp.pl
Sat Apr 2 16:13:46 CEST 2022

*Book Presentation*

*“Theory and Practice of Contrast: Integrating Science, Art and 

*Mariusz Stanowski*

*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).
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/20220402/f2f4bd13/attachment-0001.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: oJExKqn4TA84gT0C.png
Type: image/png
Size: 18748 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/20220402/f2f4bd13/attachment-0001.png>

More information about the Fis mailing list