Function laws and type laws-a significant link between philosophy and the special sciences
MetadataShow full item record
The difference between function concepts and entity concepts is found in all the special sciences. Philosophy initially, in ancient Greece and during the Middle Ages, gave primacy to the substance concept. Since the Renaissance function concepts (relational concepts) obtained acknowledgement. What is designated as modal universality and entitary typicality are illustrated by a number of examples. Kant and the neo-Kantian schools of thought wanted to resolve all thing concepts into concepts of relations. In this article it is argued that modal laws hold for all classes of entities, while type laws hold for a limited class of entities only. When attention is given to the typicality of entities an alternative understanding of the wave-particle duality is made possible. In addition it has been pointed out that living entities have typical functions within various aspects of reality. Attention is given to thermodynamical open systems and to the growth pattern and classification of mammals into Nesthocker (nest-squatters) and Nestflüchter (nest-leavers) - evinced in the typically distinct ways in which animals and humans are functioning within the biotic aspect. Although animals and humans share functioning within the universal structure of the biotic aspect of reality, reflected in the function concepts of biology, their ontogeny at the same time specifies this biotic functioning in a typical way through their distinct ontogenetic developmental types. By comparing opposing views (Simpson and Coyne) it has also been shown that the classical controversy between realism and nominalism is still alive today. The article concludes with an example from the humanities. In the final analysis the difference between modalities and entities constitutes two pillars of a Christian philosophy aiming at the development of a non-reductionist ontology.
- Faculty of Humanities