Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Thoughts Of Galileo Vs Systemic Functional Linguistics

Kœstler (1979: 476-7, 535, 537):
Above all, Galileo outlines a principle which became of outstanding importance in the history of thought: the distinction between primary qualities in nature such as the position, number, shape and motion of bodies, and secondary qualities such as colours, odours and tastes, which are said to exist only in the observer's consciousness.
To excite in us tastes, odours, and sounds I believe that nothing is required in external bodies except shapes, numbers, and slow or rapid movements.  I think that if ears, tongues, and noses were removed, shapes and numbers and motions would remain, but not odours or tastes or sounds.  The latter, I believe, are nothing more than names when separated from living beings. …
Though anticipated by the Greek atomists, it is for the first time in the modern age that this distinction is made in such concise terms, the first formulation of the mechanistic view of the universe. …
Galileo takes the hyperstatisation of mathematics a decisive step further by reducing all nature to 'size, figure, number, and slow or rapid motion', and by relegating into the limbo of 'subjective' or 'secondary' qualities everything that cannot be reduced to these elements — including, by implication, ethical values, and the phenomena of the mind. … 
Galileo banished the qualities that are the very essence of the sensual world — colour and sound, heat, odour, and taste — from the realm of physics to that of subjective illusion.

Blogger Comment:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, all such qualities, primary and secondary, exist "only in the observer's consciousness" — since they are all meanings construed of experience.  It will be seen later in this blog that it is precisely the continued adoption of Galileo's viewpoint by scientists that makes the experimental findings of Quantum physics seem bizarre.

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