The Problem of Order

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 53)


From the venerable problem of the relation between qualities and the concrete, we turn now to a problem that is very young. The problems of abstraction and concretion, though they may appear in modern logical guise, have a clear genealogy running back to the Greeks. The problem of order inherits no such claim to philosophical respect. Only recently have writers like Poincaré, Lewis, and Prall come to emphasize the importance of quality orders, regarding them as integral factors in knowledge. For Lewis, the order of qualities is a necessary condition for the intelligibility of experience; for Prall, it is the basis of aesthetic judgment. The constructionalist’s interest is somewhat different, arising in large part from the fact that if the order of qualia in each category can be successfully constructed upon an acceptable basis, a long stride will have been made toward the definition of predicates pertaining to shape and measure.


Proper Part Relative Likeness Quale Part Aesthetic Judgment Relative Nearness 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1977

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