Posted by: dacalu | 8 August 2011

Two Notes on Cosmonomy

A couple thoughts occurred to me on the subject of cosmonomy, so I thought they were worth a brief mention.

In my last post on cosmonomy, I claimed the cosms all have a conceptual space, a field of action. In that post I mentioned a number of spatial metaphors – primarily because I think spatially. A game board and a canvas both represent a conceptual space. One can think of the field in other terms, however. I think many people have narrative cosms, in which the field is a story. The objects in the cosm have meaning in relation to a protagonist or a story arc. Alternatively, one could conceive of a field as relationships between a set of objects, where the set is the field. This type of field appears frequently in mathematics. I use spatial metaphors because those work for me, but the idea of a field applies across the board. It need not be so limited.

Second, I wanted to address more specifically the confusion between cosm and cosmos. Newton and Leibniz argued about whether space was an absolute and independent volume (Newton) or only had meaning in terms of relations between existent things (Leibniz). As a question of cosmology, one might argue that Leibniz has no field of reference (though, I suspect he thought in terms of sets). The cosmos may have no field. Cosms, on the other hand, must. A cosm cannot exist independently; rather it must be a model of a system within the system itself. This means all cosms must be bounded. It becomes meaningful to ask not only, what are the fields imposed on the cosmos, but what are the necessary limits of the cosm in which the cosmos is modeled?

Put another way, I could say that my writing represents an attempt at cosmonomy (or even cosmology) but, regardless of the ideal theory I wish to represent, the representation must be limited by the bounds of letters on a page and by words in English. The medium in which data are stored and the media by which data are communicated constrain the types of data that can be represented. I tend to think of minds as a storage device and language as media for cosms, but I’m not convinced the subject must work this way.

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