[Fis] Book Presentation

Mariusz Stanowski stanowskimariusz at wp.pl
Sun Apr 10 08:35:21 CEST 2022

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your questions. Below are the highlighted answers (of 
course they are more complete in the book).

Best regards

W dniu 2022-04-09 o 17:37, Daniel Boyd pisze:
> 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). (The heat 
> death of the universe is just a popular view and not a scientific 
> truth)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? (The answer to this question is 
> contained in the contrast-being relation: "Contrast-Being Contrast, or 
> interaction, is a prior concept to the concept of being, because 
> without interaction there is no being. It follows that the basic 
> ingredient of being must be two objects/elements/components (forming a 
> contrast) that have common and differentiating features.").
> 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")?(What seems to us to be continuous in reality 
> may be discrete, e.g. a picture or a sound on a computer is continuous 
> and in reality it is a binary structure of electric impulses; a 
> continuous color is a vibration of an electromagnetic wave. Besides it 
> is already known that using binary structures it is possible to 
> simulate any processes and objects of reality).
> 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 is not about "no effort" but 
> about "saving effort". If we have a beautiful and an ugly object with 
> the same information content, the perception of the beautiful object 
> will require less energy. The measure of beauty is not the amount of 
> effort/energy, but the amount of energy saved, which in the case of 
> the Sagrada Familia will be greater). 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. 
> (This article is based on faulty assumptions e.g. misunderstanding 
> Kolmogorov's definition of complexity, which is not applicable here).

> <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?Contrast and information 
> are different concepts. Information is a feature or form of energy. 
> Contrast is the tension/force/energy created by the interaction of 
> common features (attraction) and different features (repulsion) of 
> contrasting objects).
> Thankyou, in any case, for your contribution which certainly 
> demonstrates the relationship between Value and Development 😉
> Regards, Daniel Boyd
> *Van: *Mariusz Stanowski <mailto:stanowskimariusz at wp.pl>
> *Verzonden: *zaterdag 2 april 2022 19:23
> *Aan: *fis at 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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