Initial points of translation from formalism
Directories, hierarchies and set theory
- Translations between biology and
- Part I: initial points of
- Part II: What questions does sociology ask
- Part III: What are the roles of
calcium in the genotype - phenotype argument?
- Trees and graphs - Abstract -
5/7/99 - (1,200 words)
Graph theory can be used as a notation that allows descriptions of web-like
connections between objects. By translating the librarian's problem into
graph theory it is possible to distinguish four general cases of graphs.
When applied to translations between biology and sociology, these four
cases show that it is possible for biologists and sociologists to
mis-represent each other's arguments, thus allowing them to dismiss each
other's results. However, these general cases also allow some of the
limitative results of formal literary criticism to be expressed in
mathematical terms. A specific example, Derrida's Circle of Meaning, is
translated into graph theory. The form of this translation shows that
biological and sociological mis-representations are two extreme cases. It
also shows that cases exist for which biological and sociological
representations can agree. The sociologist Umberto Eco and the biologist
Ernst Mayr both agree that pluralist theories best represent their specific
fields of research. The translation problem then becomes: which specific
graph are we dealing with in each specific biological or sociological
example? Furthermore, is that graph one that allows agreement and therefore
is that graph one that allows translations to be made?
- Hierarchies in biology
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