ways of worldmaking
a book about the fact that there are always multiple worlds made from existing worlds, and about how to define which worlds are “true” or “good”, and which ones aren’t.
words, works, worlds
there is no one one world, and if there are multiple worlds, there can always be seen as a collection of one.
so how do we define them, if there is no perception without conception, and no conception without perception?
if we look at worldmaking in developmental sociology or anthropology, a universal or necessary beginning is best found in theology.
processes of worldmaking are:
- composition and decomposition (pp.7-9)
- taking apart, separating, analyzing complex components into simple features, etc.
- changing predicates (e.g. applying something usually related to taste to sight) -> changing metaphors (he calls that metaphorical transfer)
- the question isn’t “same or not the same” but “same what”? -> worlds aren’t different, but they differ
- taking apart also implies reassorting into kinds
- given things that are present in several worlds, some might be presented as very relevant, and others as completely irrelevant, through emphasis and accent
- these emphases are based on the departure from the relative prominence accorded to the several features in the current world of our everyday seeing.
- hierarchies rather than dichotomies
- what is first, and what is derived
- spatial order of a map vs. temporal sequence of a trip
- order is not found into the world but rather built into it (e.g. hours, seconds, millenia)
- deletion and supplementation
- supplementation is the whole from the fragments (gestalt)
- reshapings and deformation
- which can be considered either corrections or distortions, depending on the point of view
works of arts, though, characteristically illustrate, rather than name or describe relevant kinds. (p.11)
Exemplification and expression, though running in the opposite direction from denotation—that is, from the symbol to a literal or metaphorical feature of it instead of to something the symbol applies to—are no less symbolic referential functions and instruments of worldmaking.” (p.12)
criteria for success in making a world:
- when it offends none of its unyielding beliefs (e.g. laws of logic, laws of physics, morals, immediately preceding observations) own precepts (i.e. is not self-contradictory in its chosen frames of reference)
- it’s not so much about truth as it is about rightness
- and yet, while truth and reality might be relative, there is also the fact that some worlds are “false”, do not provide anything worth fighting for or against. (“a broad mind is no substitute for hard work”)
knowing is about finding a fit, about the advancement in understanding, and comprehension and creation go together
As meanings vanish in favor of certain relationships among terms, so fads vanish in favor of certain relationships among versions. (p. 93)
facts depend on habit
recognizable -> re-cognizable
The artist’s resources-modes of reference, literal and nonliteral. linguistic and nonlinguistic, denotational and non denotational, in many media-seem more varied and impressive than the scientist. But the scientist is also poetic.