[Fis] [External Email] Re: Book Presentation

Stanley N Salthe ssalthe at binghamton.edu
Sat Apr 9 20:59:37 CEST 2022


"The Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates the ultimate heat death of the

I happen to agree with this statement, but I do not know that it is
Accepted Fact in the field of cosmology.

On Sat, Apr 9, 2022 at 11:37 AM Daniel Boyd <daniel.boyd en live.nl> wrote:

> Dear Mariusz
> While (or perhaps because!) your work is a fair distance from my own field
> of expertise, I found your conceptual framework intriguing. Herewith some
> of the thoughts it elicited. While they may be unexpected because they come
> from a different angle, hopefully a cross-disciplinary interaction will be
> fruitful.
> The Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates the ultimate heat death of the
> universe (a state in which all 'contrasts' are erased). Its current state,
> fortunately for us, is teeming with differences (between entities,
> properties and interactions) which underlie all that is of importance to
> us. To take such contrasts as a unifying principle would therefore seem to
> be undeniable, if extremely ambitious! After all, the sheer diversity of
> contrasts takes us from the different spins of subatomic particles
> underlying the various elements to the masses of the celestial bodies
> determining their orbits around the sun; from the colours in a painting to
> the sounds of a symphony. Systemically, different patterns of contrasts
> underlie the distinctions between linear and complex systems. Contrasts
> also form the basis for the working of our sense organs, the perceptions
> derived from them, and the inner world of conscious experience. In each of
> these contexts very different classes of contrasts lead to different
> mechanisms and laws, leading me to wonder just what the 'underlying
> structure' is (beyond the observation that, ultimately, some type of
> contrast is always involved and that we tend to deal with such diverse
> contrasts in a similar way). Maybe your book provides an answer to this
> question that I am unable to find in this brief abstract: could you perhaps
> say something about this?
> Moving on to more specific topics, I see that you equate the complexity of
> a system to a relationship between binary values (C = N²/n). While such
> as approach may work for discontinuous contrasts (e.g. presence/absence,
> information in digital systems) many naturally occurring differences are
> continuous (e.g. the electromagnetic frequencies underlying the colours of
> the rainbow). In neuroscience, while the firing of a neuron may be a binary
> event, the charge underlying this event is a dynamic continuous variable.
> My question: how does the concept of abstract complexity deal with
> continuous variables ("contrasts")?
> I was also intrigued by your statement that "Beautiful are objects with
> high information compression" based on the reasoning "perceiving beauty,
> we save energy, the perception becomes more economical and pleasant".
> Intuitively, it seems odd to me to equate beauty to the lack of perceptive
> effort required. This would mean that the Pentagon (high
> regularity/compressibility) is more beautiful than the Sagrada Familia (low
> regularity/compressibility); and a single-instrument midi rendition of Bach
> is more beautiful than a symphonic performance. It seems to me that beauty
> often stimulates (gives energy) rather than just costing minimal
> energy. Much research has been done on the universal and culture-dependent
> perception of beauty: does this support your statement? see e.g.
> https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01229.x which
> describes factors other than simplicity as necessary characteristics.
> <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01229.x>
> Musings About Beauty - Kintsch - 2012 - Cognitive Science - Wiley Online
> Library
> <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01229.x>
> Aesthetics has been a human concern throughout history. Cognitive science
> is a relatively new development and its implications for a theory of
> aesthetics have been largely unexplored.
> onlinelibrary.wiley.com
> By defining contrast as a distinction between entities or properties, it
> seems to come close as a definition to the type of information underlying
> physical entropy. That being the case, your approach would seem to resemble
> those who would give such information a comparable fundamental significance
> (e.g. Wheeler's "it from bit"). Could you say something about how you see
> the relationship between 'contrast' and 'information? Are they effectively
> synonyms?
> Thankyou, in any case, for your contribution which certainly demonstrates
> the relationship between Value and Development 😉
> Regards, Daniel Boyd
> *Van: *Mariusz Stanowski <stanowskimariusz en wp.pl>
> *Verzonden: *zaterdag 2 april 2022 19:23
> *Aan: *fis en listas.unizar.es
> *Onderwerp: *[Fis] Book Presentation
> *Book Presentation*
> *“Theory and Practice of Contrast: Integrating Science, Art and
> Philosophy.”*
> *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 concepts:
> 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 science).
> *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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