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Alfred Korzybski

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The only link between the verbal and objective world is exclusively structural, necessitating the conclusion that the only content of all 'knowledge' is structural. Now structure can be considered as a complex of relations, and ultimately as multi-dimensional order. From this point of view, all language can be considered as names for unspeakable entities on the objective level, be it things or feelings, or as names of relations. In fact... we find that an object represents an abstraction of a low order produced by our nervous system as the result of a sub-microscopic events acting as stimuli upon the nervous system.
p. 20.

Alfred Korzybski

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An internal combustion engine is 'clearly' a system ; we subscribe to this opinion because we know that the engine was designed precisely to be a system. It is, however, possible to envisage that someone (a Martian perhaps) totally devoid of engineering knowledge might at first regard the engine as a random collection of objects. If this someone is to draw the conclusion that the collection is coherent, forming a system, it will be necessary to begin by inspecting the relationships of the entities comprising the collection to each other. In declaring that a collection ought to be called a system, that is to say, we acknowledge relatedness. But everything is related to everything else. The philosopher Hegel enunciated a proposition called the Axiom of Internal Relations. This states that the relations by which terms are related are an integral part of the terms they relate. So the notion we have of any thing is enriched by the general connotation of the term which names it; and this connotation describes the relationship of the thing to other things... [There are three stages in the recognition of a system]... we acknowledge particular relationships which are obtrusive: this turns a mere collection into something that may be called an assemblage. Secondly, we detect a pattern in the set of relationships concerned: this turns an assemblage into a systematically arranged assemblage. Thirdly, we perceive a purpose served by this arrangement: and there is a system.

Anthony Stafford Beer

The very fact that the totality of our sense experience is such that by means of thinking (operations with concepts, and the creation and use of definite functional relations between them, and the coordination of sense experience to these concepts) it can be put in order, this fact is one which leaves us in awe, but which we shall never understand. One may say "the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility." . . . In speaking here concerning "comprehensibility," the expression is used in its most modest sense. It implies: the production of some sort of order among sense impressions, this order being produced by the creation of general concepts, relations between these concepts, and by relations between the concepts and sense experience, these relations being determined in any possible manner. It is in this sense that the world of our sense experience is comprehensible. The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.

Albert Einstein

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Judith Butler

All relations are either qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative relations can be considered by themselves without regard to quantity. The algebra of such enquiries may be called logical algebra, of which a fine example is given by Boole.
Quantitative relations may also be considered by themselves without regard to quality. They belong to arithmetic, and the corresponding algebra is the common or arithmetical algebra.
In all other algebras both relations must be combined, and the algebra must conform to the character of the relations.

Benjamin Peirce

Logical empiricism holds the view, notwithstanding some its assertions, that the forms of knowledge and consequently the relations of man to nature and to other men never change. According to rationalism, too, all subjective and objective potentialities are rooted in insights which the individual already possesses, but rationality uses existing objects as well as the active inner striving and ideas of man to construct standards for the future. In this regard, it is not so closely associated with the present order as is empiricism.

Max Horkheimer
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