Free process theory: Towards a typology of occurrings

  • Seibt J
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Abstract

The paper presents some essential heuristic and constructional elements of Free Process Theory (FPT), a non-Whiteheadian, monocategoreal framework. I begin with an analysis of our common sense concept of activities, which plays a crucial heuristic role in the development of the notion of a free process. I argue that an activity is not a type but a mode of occurrence, defined in terms of a network of inferences. The inferential space characterizing our concept of an activity entails that anything which is conceived of as occurring in the activity mode is a concrete,dynamic, non-particular individual. Such individuals, which I call ‘free processes’, may be used for the interpretation of much more than just common sense activities. I introduce the formal theory FPT, a mereology with anon-transitive part-relation, which contains a typology of processes based on the following five parameters relating to: (a) patterns of possible spatial and temporal recurrence (automerity); (b) kinds of components (participant structure); (c) kinds of dynamic composition; (d) kinds of dynamic flow (dynamic shape); and (e) dynamic context. I show how these five evaluative dimensions for free processes can be used to define ontological correlates for various common sense categories,and to draw distinctions between various forms of agency(distributed, collective, reciprocal, entangled) and emergence (weak, strong,as ‘autonomous system’ (Bickhard/Christensen)).

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Authors

  • Johanna Seibt

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