chapter  9
29 Pages

Categorization: the vicissitudes of difference

Having abstracted states out of processes we are not only prone to the error previously discussed, of supposing that the abstracted elements can have an independent existence from each other, but also another error in which we perceive the abstracted states as being antagonistic to each other. For example, having abstracted an 'outside' and an 'inside' from a circle, one could say that the two are in direct conflict with each other - one gets bigger at the cost of the other getting smaller. However, in order to exist the thing called the inside needs its apparent opposite, the thing called the outside. Without one there cannot be the other. Whilst it is clearly nonsensical to talk about a circle's inside and outside being in conflict with each other, this is exactly the sort of thinking that leads one to imagine that biology and society are antithetical to each other and is also true of many of the great philosophical dichotomies: individual-society, body-mind, free will-determinism, death-life instincts, and so on.