Metarepresentations and Paradigms1,
workshop “Meta-representation and (Self-) Consciousness” of
27.–29. September 2006 was looking inter alia for the “place
of metarepresentation in semiotic evolution”.
there are two fundamental ways to arrive at empirical basics:
the analytical (Descartes, 1997) and the constructivist (Lorenzen,
2000). Our paradigmatic approach to the concept of
meta-representation is based on the constructivism of Hugo
Dingler’s “Protophysics” (Dingler, 1911) and his followers
Paul Lorenzen, Peter Janich, and others.
between the paradigmatic approach and the classical
paradigmatic approach uses as basics not only the
geometrical and metrological structures, but constructs the
most general forms of qualities, features, feature-complexes,
feature-spaces, processes, relationships, mappings,
attractors, self-organizing entities as both structures and
processes in abstract feature-spaces.
paradigmatic approach uses as basics not only concepts valid
only in the boundaries of logic, but also paradigms which
are strong and non-trivial generalizations of concepts and
allow consistent and rational operational activities both
within and outside logical restrictions. In general,
paradigms generate both concepts and paradigms.
Bremen workshop it became clear that most scientists
understand meta-representation as a self-referential dealing
with items, e.g. following Wolfgang Wildgen “Images
representing images, language about language and
language-use, thoughts about thoughts” (Wildgen, 2006). In
this sense, it
This text is a
short version. The full version: B.Schapiro, H.Schapiro,
asked whether consciousness, (self-consciousness), art,
ideology, science, culture, etc. are also
In our opinion,
the concept of meta-representation is necessary but
insufficient for understanding consciousness, (self-consciousness),
language, art, ideology, science, culture, etc. We consider
paradigms potentially sufficient behavioral instruments for
four types of paradigms: the minimal, the small, the big,
and the complete or a technology. It will be shown that
meta-representations correspond to small paradigms (see the
matrix of paradigmatic archetypes below in the section 2).
Platonic terminology of ideas includes paradigms, defined as
example, archetype, ideal, pattern. Thomas S. Kuhn (Kuhn,
1962) understood paradigms as models of scientific evolution.
According to Kuhn, scientific paradigms are neither purely
cognitive nor pure social formations. They are matrices of
subjects containing: first, symbolic generalizations (e.g.
scientific laws); second, ontological models; third,
methodical and other valuations; and fourth, examples (e.g.,
solving of problems).
examples are used frequently now and are, in fact, identical
with the Platonic notion. The most pressing problem of both
the Platonic and Kuhn’s construction of the concept of
paradigms is that the concept has never been defined with
understand paradigms as behavioral ideals, as operational
norm setting or educating examples of the ur-entity of a
paradigm. However, we show that paradigms are not reducible
to concepts and therefore demand a separate definition.
intuitive protophysics paradigm of Hugo Dingler and Paul
Lorenzen, we construct a paradigm of paradigms and provide
arguments for the concept of protosemiotics.
we understand it deals (interpreting Charles S. Peirce,
1958) with three basic phenomena: sign as the image of a
thing or act (mappings), operating with signs as indirect
control of operation with things (pragmatics), and the
meaning of all of them as a reference to other things or
Morris tried to develop an understanding of signs "on a
biological basis and specifically with the framework of the
science of behavior" (Morris, 1946). Following Morris’s
intention, we develop the full framework of concepts and
paradigms as a system of behavioral instruments, used by
some intelligent entity and influencing that entity itself.
We use the term “sumject”2
to refer to such a cognitively acting entity
and its interactions with itself and its world.
most humanist scientists ascribe behavior only to humans and
animals. We understand behavior within the tradition of
physics. In this sense, behavior means any activity
generating a trajectory in an abstract feature-space in
which the behavioral entity can be represented with a single
point. Such spaces are called Liouville-spaces. Thus, it
becomes possible to speak about behavior of things, thoughts,
important to differentiate between “act, operate” and “behave”.
Behavior is the most general term. Behavior can be the
result of external determination, individual will, or a mix
of these. Acting and operation are special cases of behavior
involving internal determination or will.
We develop and
generalize Thomas S. Kuhn’s initial concept of paradigm
as an implicit process of behavioral generation. Based
on our generalized paradigms we try to understand all four:
sign, operating with signs, phenomena of meaning, and the
paradigms themselves. In the following, we omit the word
“generalized” when speaking about paradigms in this sense.
that we work with features like green, red, hot, stupid,
visionary, cold, big, little, mild, hard, brutal, old,
young, existing, not-existing3,
here, there, above, under, between, within, inside, outside,
single, bounded, restricted, limited, unlimited, open,
closed, connected, matched, whole, empty, destroyed, solid,
fluid, understandable, known, forgotten, loved, dead, born,
yours, hers and so on in every activity.
interpreting our perceptions, we find
• A set of
qualities, which are names4
or signs of features;
2 The word
“sumject” is a neologism. We built it from Latin “sum” = “I
am” and the word
“sum” like “summa”.
This construction emphasizes the aspect of generic wholeness.
Depending on the context, sumject can be seen as sub
ject or as
object, but it is never reducible to either one. For the
definition of sumject and
examples of its use see
Schapiro, Schapiro, 2007 and further bibliography there. In
eral, we call paradigms the
operational deep-processes of the behavior of sumjects. 3
Some features are features only in a specific context. 4
Features are measurable, qualities are not.
something who/which shows behavioral activities. We
associate him/it with sumject, observer;
of these activities which we associate with objects;
understanding clearly what we are doing, why are we doing
it and how good is our activity;
understanding clearly what is good, what is will, why and
how we want to be good and to do well.
such questions or explanations of such analyses can not be
deduced. We alone are responsible for the answers.
What can we do?
We generate special forms of behavior and we decide
that these forms of behavior are the answers to our
questions. These forms of behavior influence the
consequences for us and affect the conditions of our
experience dealing with such questions and answers forces us
to discover the phenomenon of the consequences of our
activities. For instance, if we saw off the branch on which
we are sitting, we fall down. If we do not use words in
proper order, we make a sentence incomprehensible for others.
How we can
realize our responsibility for the answers and thus respond
to the consequences of our behavior? We create and manage
the special behavioral instruments for the
realization of our activities. Such instruments are, for
instance: decisions, features, comparisons, processes,
categories, names, labels, qualities, operators, maps and
mapping, concepts, strategies, structures, rules in general
and logics in special cases, representations,
metarepresentations, paradigms… This list is necessarily
cognitive and mental instruments are intimately interrelated
and may not be used arbitrarily. They are neither defined a
priori nor can they be deduced. In this sense, they build
systems of instruments. The system could be
significantly different if one of the instruments operates
in different way.
instruments – as categories, concepts, features, complexes
of features, and paradigms – build systems. Each system of
instruments, displays a hierarchy, operating rules, values,
and manner of representation, believability rules and more.
We interpret the term “representation” in section 2.
of behavioral instruments seem incompatible with others.
Each originates in history and each was proficient in its
time and its cultural context.
discern between different systems of behavioral instruments.
Mental behavior plays especially important role for humans
and animals. Mentality (see Schapiro and Schapiro, 1998 for
a specific definition) is a special kind of behavior.
Mentality is phenomena and forms of self-determination of
individuals, groups, and of sumjects in general. The
preference for or selection of a particular system of
behavioral or mental instruments is a decision. This
decision creates the primary context for operating
with the recognized phenomena of being. Decisions concerning
oneself are basic elements of mentality.
To actualize a
decision one must be able to represent it to oneself. One
must also be able to evaluate how good a representation
inherently is and how useful a representation is for a
the consistent feature-complexes of knowledge generated by
paradigms. We introduce the concept of paradigm as
well as its subspecies as specific feature-complexes of the
behavior of sumjects.
We attempt to
generalize the gnoseological tool of concepts with the
instrument of paradigms in such a way that the new
instruments, the paradigms, allow the rational
representation of phenomena, particularly in situations
where the classical framework of concepts looses its
us recognize the boundaries of concept applicability. Within
the valid boundaries of a concept, paradigms should produce
equivalent descriptions of the reality of that concept and,
in the best case, they should generate corresponding
paradigms as deep processes (or implicit processes)
of the behavior of observers (of respective sumjects), who
generate the respective feature-spaces and act within
them. Elements of observer behavior are processes. We also
introduce concepts as deep structures (or implicit
structures) of observer behavior. We call systems of
behavioral instruments paradigms. Paradigms should be
able to generate concepts together with their contexts. In
general, paradigms generate behavior.
A system of
behavioral instruments by which an entity can be
differentiated unambiguously from all other things of the
world we call the minimal paradigm of this entity.
representations of entities by differentiating them from all
other worldly things, real or imagined. Indeed the minimal
paradigm produces not only separations, but also the whole
class (= the equivalence class) of separations corresponding
to this one entity. This whole equivalence class represents
of the entity. The minimal paradigm also
actualizes a special instrument of observer behavior for
providing concepts with names and representing these
names as addresses in the feature-space of observer
A system of
behavioral instruments by which an entity can be
differentiated unambiguously from all other things of the
world, and ranked within the corresponding class of
such entities (their equivalence class) we call the small
paradigm of this entity.
does all the
minimal paradigm does and then ranks the entity within its
Now we see
that if the minimal paradigm generates qualities, then the
small paradigm generates features.
entities of the sumject’s behavior. … The exercise of
paradigms is possible only through paradigms, because
paradigms are not reducible to the concepts of paradigms.
A system of
behavioral instruments by which an entity can be created
unambiguously we call the big paradigm of this entity.
paradigm or technology:
A system of
behavioral instruments by which an entity can be created
unambiguously with a priori planned features, we call a
complete paradigm or technology of this entity.
Thus, we see
four types of paradigms:
The big, and
paradigm or the technology
More about qualities from
paradigmatic point of view see in Schapiro, Schapiro, 2007,
paradigm is a dependent paradigm. Because the difference
between big and complete paradigms is only gradual, we have
essentially three independent types of paradigms.
In addition to
defining paradigms, we classified processes into three types.
It seems that all real processes are one of these three
types or either some combination of at least two of these
types or some nesting of these types.
There are also three types
(Saussure, 1967): All processes involving one
or more entities, seen by an observer within fixed
feature-complexes under given cause-and-effect relations, we
call synchronic processes.
All processes involving an unpredictable number or kind (especially
new kind) of entities, or qualities, or features we
call diachronic processes.
processes of entity integration (also including the absence
of an entity) in an existing ensemble of other entities we
call synagonic processes.7
displays the four types of paradigms. However, only three
types of paradigms are independent.
there are a total of nine in the basic collection of
independent types of paradigms (in the central part of the
matrix). These nine paradigm archetypes form the
complete set of basic generators of behavior.
between big and complete paradigms is gradual. Technology
is the extremum of a big paradigm in which the realization
of the paradigm’s entity corresponds exactly to the
The terms “synchronic” and “diachronic” we adopt from
Ferdinand de Saussure and use them for generalizing process
Synagonic processes, for instance, are technological
innovation and reformation of society, administrative tasks
and change management. They are the integration of a new
child into the old family. They are persuading your
colleagues that your new idea is right. They are education
and solving of conflicts, peace making and perpetuation of
love. They are religious conversion, social rehabilitation
after prison or long hospital stay. They are all the things
of being or doing together, which create problems but are
also extremely important for our everyday life, humanity,
The matrix of paradigmatic
archetypes is in turn the representation of a
classification paradigm of paradigms.
perception and action can be generated by combinations,
superposition, embedding, complementation, union, recursive
procedure, and other operations with the paradigmatic
archetypes in the corresponding context of the sumject.
The relation between
observable behavior and corresponding paradigm is non-unique.
Eventually certain paradigms in different contexts generate
the same form of viewed behavior and some paradigm can
generate different forms of behavior within different
contexts or different sumjects.
The Cartesian paradigm of
science formulates the definition of rationality entirely
within the boundaries of logic and strictly separates
subject and object. This separation excludes the observer
from rational worldview including but not limited by logic
of concepts. Several holistic approaches attempted to
resolve this dilemma (either human or rational).
The philosophers Hegel and
Schelling, the semioticists Peirce and Morris, the
biologists Varela and Maturana, the physicists Schroedinger,
Prigogine, Eigen, Haken (and this list is far from complete)
all developed approaches for resolution. However, their
approaches were either inadequately procedural or
insufficiently developed or inconsistently evolved, or
ideologically predestined to failure. All probably could
have benefited from adequate and sufficiently powerful
representing instruments like paradigms.
Protophysics (Dingler, 1911;
Janich, 1985) is the operational philosophical program for
developing the methodical underpinnings of physics. It is
operational enough, but excludes observers’ free will and
Semiotics researches human
and animal competence in dealing with signs. However, also
semiotics does not focus on individual decision-making.
Semiotics also excludes observer’s free will and individual
decision-making. In this sense semiotics is the science. For
integration of individual human being, including the free
will semiotics also needs its philosophical program for
methodical foundation of semiotics. We would call it “Protosemiotics”.
The Theory of Paradigms
should contribute to consistent integration of the human
being into rational operational research and a holistic
worldview. Paradigms are a powerful generalization of
concepts and, together with concepts, constitute a new
standard of rationality beyond the classical paradigm of
science, but excluding occult and esoteric abuse.
In answer to the Bremen
workshop’s question, “whether consciousness, (selfconsciousness),
art, ideology, science, culture, etc. are
meta-representations?” we should say, No, they are not.
But meta-representations are necessary for competent action
in and with all of them for valuation and judgment of
artistic, ideological, scientific, cultural, etc.,
activities and results.
Authors thank Karl Sittler
for his self-sacrificing help in English.
Descartes, R., 1997. Discours
de la methode. Franz.-dt., ubers. u. hrsg. v. Luder Gabe, 2.
Aufl. Meiner, Hamburg.
Dingler, H., 1911. Die
Grundlagen der Angewandten Geometrie. Eine Untersuchung uber
den Zusammenhang zwischen Theorie und Erfahrung in den
exakten Wissenschaften. Leipzig.
Janich, P., 1985.
Protophysics of Time. Constructive Foundation and History of
Time Measurement. Series: Boston Studies in the Philosophy
of Science, Vol. 30.
Kuhn, T. S., 1962. The
Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago
Lorenzen, P., 2000. Lehrbuch
der konstruktiven Wissenschaftstheorie. J. B. Metzler Verlag,
W., 1946. Signs, Language and Behavior. Prentice-Hall, New
Peirce, C. S., 1958.
Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vols. 1–6,
Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (eds.), vols. 7–8, Arthur
W. Burks (ed.). Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
1931–1935, 1958. Volume 7, Science and Philosophy.
Saussure, de, F., 1967.
Grundfragen der allgemeinen Sprachwissenschaft. Walter de
Gruyter & Co., Berlin.
Schapiro, B., 1994. An
Approach to the Physics of Complexity. Chaos, Solitons &
Fractals Vol. 4, No.1, pp.115–123.
Schapiro, B., Schapiro H.,
1998. Begriff der Mentalitat und Konzeption des Menschen.
Neue Lernverfahren, Ed.: Hans G. Klinzing, DGVT-Verlag,
Tuebingen, pp. 41–48.
Schapiro, B., Schapiro, H.,
2007. Metarepresentations and Paradigms. Berlin 2007,
Wildgen, W., 2006.
Meta-representation and (Self-) Consciousness: Emergence of
Higher Levels of Self-organization in Biological and
Semiotic Systems. Expose to Bremen workshop, Bremen, 27.–29.
of September 2006, University of Bremen, www.arthist.lu.se/kultsem/Ais/sem-bull/c0609bremen.html.
Борис (Барух) Израилевич родился 21 апреля 1944 года в Москве.
Окончил физический факультет МГУ (1968). Женившись на немке, эмигрировал
(декабрь 1975) в ФРГ, где защитил докторскую диссертацию по физике в
Тюбингенском университете (1979). В 1981–1987 годах работал в
Регенсбургском университете, занимаясь исследованиями в области
теоретической физики и математической динамики языка, затем был
начальником теоретического отдела в Институте медицинских и
естественно-научных исследований в Ройтлингене, директором
координационного штаба по научной и технологической кооперации Германии
со странами СНГ.
В 1964–1965 годах создал на физфаке МГУ поэтический
семинар «Кленовый лист», участники которого выпускали настенные отчеты в
стихах, устраивали чтения, дважды (1964 и 1965) организовали поэтические
фестивали, пытались создать поэтический театр. В Регенсбурге стал
организатором «Регенсбургских поэтических чтений» (1982–1986) – прошло
29 поэтических представлений с немецкоязычными лириками, переводчиками и
литературоведами из Германии, Франции, Австрии и Швейцарии. В 1990 году
создал немецкое общество WTK (Wissenschaft-Technologie-Kultur e. V.),
которое поддерживает литераторов, художников, устраивает чтения,
выставки, публикует поэтические сборники, проводит семинары и
конференции, организует научную деятельность (прежде всего для изучения
ментальности), деньги на это общество пытается зарабатывать с помощью
трансфера технологий из науки в промышленность. Первая книга стихов
Шапиро вышла на немецком языке: Metamorphosenkorn (Tubingen, 1981). Его
русские стихи опубликованы в сборниках: Соло на флейте (Мюнхен, 1984);
то же (СПб.: Петрополь, 1991); Две луны (М.: Ной, 1995), Предрассудок
(СПб: Алетейя, 2008); Тринадцать: Поэмы и эссе о поэзии (СПб: Алетейя,
2008), включены в антологию «Освобожденный Улисс».(М.:
НЛО, 2004). По оценке Данилы Давыдова, «Борис Шапиро работает на
столкновении двух вроде бы сильно расходящихся традиций: лирической
пронзительной простоты „парижской ноты“ и лианозовского конкретизма»
(«Книжное обозрение», 2008, № 12). Шапиро – член Европейского
Физического общества (European Physical Society, EPS), Немецкого
Физического общества (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft e. V., DPG),
Немецкого общества языковедения (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur
Sprachwissenschaften e. V., DGfS); Международного ПЕН-клуба, Союза
литераторов России (1991). Он отмечен немецкими литературными премиями –
фонда искусств Плаас (1984), Международного ПЕН-клуба (1998), Гильдии
искусств Германии (1999), фонда К. Аденауэра (2000).