Plastir Number 57

THE RHYTHM AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE MOVEMENTS OF MAN AND THE MOVEMENTS OF NATURE

Bernard GUY is civil mining engineer (Mines Paris), Doctor of Science (Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris), emeritus research director at the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, Institut Mines Télécom. Former director of the geology department of the Ecole des Mines, he conducts research and teaches in earth sciences, physics and philosophy of science. He has organized and co-organized international conferences in thermodynamics (Joint European Thermodynamics Conference), and philosophy of science (Workshops on contradiction). In the present paper, he puts the notion of rhythm to the test of his understanding of the fundamental link between space and time, captured in the primacy of movement. A composition of the usual substantial rationality with a relational rationality is necessary for this. A certain number of points are set out in a preliminary way: – rhythm articulates space and time (or spatiality and temporality) : the trace in space (which is memory) makes it possible to express the (possibly periodic) structure of the rhythm by comparison with the development of the temporal process in progress; – one merely appreciates the rhythms in relation to each other; – to stabilize these comparisons one needs to choose a standard rhythm in a conventional way; – if one wants to see this need for convention, the question of the periodicity of the rhythm at the limit does not arise; – relational thinking functions in two stages and one can oppose the rhythm in its first apprehension by perception on the one hand, with its analysis and modelling in a discourse on the other. We thus find ourselves at a crossroads: – the rhythms of nature influence the rhythms of man (and the time and space of nature provide measures of general validity); and, conversely, if we may say so, – understanding the rhythms of nature does not avoid human conventions, or choices. In the natural and human sciences respectively, rhythm appears first – as a regular or periodic phenomenon, in time, space, or both, in relation to the propagation of a wave; and – as the perceived/transcribed structure, through the succession in space and/or time, of more or less remarkable events based on human activity s.l.  Bernard Guy now insists on the interplay of relative movements as a support for rhythms (and marking the limits between spatiality and associated temporalities), and the hypothesis of assumed/decided equal increments dividing the movement; these points allow the definition of rhythm to converge on both sides (natural sciences/human sciences). A few examples are given, borrowed from both the human and social sciences and the natural sciences (earth sciences in particular).

LEMOIGNE’S ANTI-REDUCTIONISM ENLIGHTENED BY MORIN’S THOUGHT

Abdelkader BACHTA is professor of philosophy at the University of Tunis (Tunisia). These areas of interest focus primarily on methodological approaches and epistemological relationships maintained by scientific theories, particularly in physics, information science and mathematics. In this context, he published in our review several essays on reductionism, cartesianism (Plastir 46, 06/2017), positivism (Plastir 41, 03/2016) as well as on the comparative work of researchers like Thom (the author published several papers in Plastir and a book on his modeling thought in 2016 (MtL Eds., Tunis), Waddington, Tarski, Kuhn (Plastir 26, 03/2012), Comte or Lemoigne (Plastir 32, 09 / 2013) which is discussed in this article in relation to Morin’s thought. In this essay, Abdelkader Bachta is engaged in a critical study of Lemoigne’s anti-reductionist approach to « the ontological trio » (dialogic, complexity-reliance) by Morin. More precisely, he confronts these two systemists with the opposite profile and yet so close: the author of « The Theory of the General System » (Lemoigne) and the author of  » The Complex Thought » and « The Method » (Morin), trying show their respective positioning with regard to Cartesian reductionism and how the thought of one (Morin) enlightens the thought of the other (Lemoigne). And Abdelkader Bachta to show how this Morinian influence on the pure systemicist that is Lemoigne essentially concerns the ontological and/or metaphysical level, without this really hurting the French systemic.

VARIATIONS ON THE CONCEPT OF FORM IN BIOLOGY

Roger BUIS is Professor Emeritus of the National Polytechnic Institute at the University of Toulouse (France). He has taught various courses in Statistics and Biomathematics in the Faculty of Science and in Engineering Schools (Agronomy). His research first focused on the applications of factor analyzes to plant growth and development (vascular plants and filamentous systems). He then extended them to the analysis of dynamic systems in plant morphogenesis. His participation in the annual Theoretical Biology seminars (CNRS) made him introduce various epistemological considerations into his teaching-research activity. In this article, he discusses the concept of form as one of the most common transversal notions. Biology has been interested in it for a very long time. Initially considered from a signage point of view to describe and recognize an object or a species, the word gradually gained momentum to concern in fact any variable or any living process. Two features are highlighted in this brief review. On the one hand, the general use of the word translates a great diversity of its meaning which calls, to enlighten us, to the development of appropriate mathematical models, not only to simulate but especially to understand. On the other hand, one can only understand what the word form implies by considering its own variations. There is always a dynamic of the form whose properties are to be linked to the multiplicity and the spatiotemporal evolution of the elementary processes at stake. We see there the expression of a major characteristic of the living being which is its capacity to adaptation, result of its morphogenetic plasticity.

OF THE LIMINARITY OF ARTS-SCIENCES COLLABORATIONS

Vanessa OLTRA is a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Bordeaux (France), a specialist in questions of innovation and creativity, but also in the thinking of Adam Smith. Also a director and playwright, she writes performance lectures bringing into play the philosophical foundations of liberal capitalism, around the texts of Adam Smith. His play Adam Smith Le Grand Tour, published in 2016 by Bord de l’Eau Eds. and now presented in the form of a lecture-performance, shows how Smith’s philosophical thought was diverted and recovered for political purposes going to against the humanist thought of the great philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment. This experience of theatrical exploration of a subject of philosophy and political economy led her to take an interest in the relationship between arts and sciences and to create at the University of Bordeaux a program of artist residencies, as well as the FACTS arts and sciences festival, which she directed for four years. This gave him the opportunity to observe and accompany some forty-artist residences in the university’s research laboratories. It is from this experience that she analyzes in this article the arts-science collaborations that she proposes to approach as preliminary spaces of creation, capable of lastingly transforming research practices and exploring frontiers and limits of dominant scientific paradigms.

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