Boundaries: an Interdisciplinary (Hi)Story
Koers 81(2) - Boundaries: an Interdisciplinary (Hi)Story D.F.M. Strauss
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Keywords

boundaries
analogical contexts
irreducibility
uniqueness (primitive terms)
non-reductionist ontology

Abstract

Abstract

The experience and awareness of boundaries form an integral part of being human. This article investigates the systematic philosophical underpinnings of our understanding of the nature of boundaries, in some instances supported by historical considerations. It stands to reason that boundaries are related to our awareness of spatial relationships, even though this awareness cannot avoid incorporating the distinction between entities and properties, reflected in the distinction between the concrete what and the how of reality. Differences between the original (mathematical) meaning of space and other contexts within which we encounter analogies of spatial boundaries are considered by paying attention to the problem of accounting for physical space (which is neither continuous nor infinitely divisible), biotic and sensory space (compare notions such as Umwelt, ambient and environment) as well as the significance of closed and open systems also for inter-human relationships displaying a solidary unitary character, analogous to thermodynamic open systems. Boundaries between different modes of explanation finally underscore the typical on-going task of philosophy, namely to investigate boundary questions. It will be argued that the problem of the multivocal nature of the term boundary only finds a satisfactory solution if it is embedded in a non-reductionist ontology.

Key concepts: boundaries, analogical contexts, irreducibility, uniqueness (primitive terms), non-reductionist ontology

Grense: 'n Inter-Dissiplinêre Verhaal

Die ervaring van grense vorm 'n integrale deel van menswees. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die sistematies-wysgerige onderbou van ons verstaan van die aard van grense. In sommige gevalle word hierdie ondersoek ondersteun deur oorwegings uit die geskiedenis van die filosofie en die vakwetenskappe. Dit spreek vanself dat grense verband hou met ons besef van ruimteverhoudinge, selfs al kan hierdie besef nie ontkom aan die onderskeiding tussen entiteite en hul eienskappe, soos wat dit gereflekteer word in die onderskeid tussen die konkrete wat en die hoe van die werklikheid nie. Verskille tussen die oorspronklike (wiskundige) sin van ruimte en ander kontekste waarin analogieë van die aard van ruimtelike grense ter sprake kom, word in oënskou geneem deur die problem aan die orde te stel van hoe ons rekenskap moet gee byvoorbeeld van fisieke ruimte (wat nie kontinu en oneindig verdeelbaar is nie), biotiese en sensitiewe ruimte (bedink terme oos Umwelt, “ambient” en omgewing), asook die betekenis van geslote en oop sisteme, ook vir die aard van inter-menslike relasies wat oor 'n solidêre eenheidskarakter beskik, analoog aan termodinamiese oop sisteme. Die grense tussen verskillende verklaringsmodi belig die voortgaande taak van die filosofie om rekenskap van grensvrae te gee. Die argument wat gevoer word loop uit op die gevolgtrekking dat die probleem van 'n meersinnige gebruik van terme soos grense slegs tot 'n bevredigende oplossing gebring kan word indien hierdie probleem in 'n nie-reduksionistiese ontologie ingebed word.

Kernbegrippe: grense, analogiese kontekste, onherleibaarheid, uniekheid (primitiewe terme), nie-reduksionistiese ontologie

 

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.81.2.2273

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.81.2.2273
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