Fourfold World Hypotheses Model of Stephen Pepper

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= also called 'root metaphor theory'.


From the Wikipedia:

"World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence, by Stephen C. Pepper (1942), presents four relatively adequate world hypotheses (or world views or conceptual systems) in terms of their root metaphors: formism (similarity), mechanism (machine), contextualism (historical act), and organicism (living system).

In World Hypotheses, Pepper demonstrates the error of logical positivism, that there is no such thing as data free from interpretation, and that root metaphors are necessary in epistemology. In other words, objectivity is a myth because there is no such thing as pure, objective fact. Consequently, an analysis is necessary to understand how to interpret these 'facts.' Pepper does so by developing the "[root metaphor method, ...] and outlines what he considers to be four basically adequate world hypotheses (world views or conceptual systems): formism, mechanism, contextualism, and organicism." He identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each of the world hypotheses as well as the paradoxical and sometimes mystifying effects of the effort to synthesize them."


From the Wikipedia:

Formism (similarity)

"Why does an orange look and taste like an orange? It's in the nature of an orange to be orange in color and round in shape and to taste like an orange. These are an orange's distinguishing properties, attributes, traits, or features—in short, its essence. The root metaphor for formism is identification of similarities and differences for phenomena. In short, things that appear to go together do in fact go together. Plato and Aristotle are examples of formist philosophers.

Mechanism (machine)

Given 19th and 20th century technologies—steam engines, gas engines, electric motors, and computers—the machine is frequently adopted as a metaphor for understanding phenomena. Machines are described according to the parts from which they are assembled—for example, gears, wires, or chips. Machines remain at rest until energy is supplied from outside. The root metaphor of mechanism (philosophy) is identification of the parts and processes and their response to stimulation from the environment. Mechanistic philosophers include Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and David Hume.

Contextualism (historical act)

Historical events—an election, revolution, or war—have no significance when considered in isolation. The significance of an historical act depends on its context: its relationship with events that precede and follow and the interpretations of these acts. The historical-context, or contextualist, metaphor, is selection among events, contexts, and interpretations and weaving these into coherent and meaningful histories. Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, Henri Bergson, and John Dewey are examples of contextualism philosophers.

Organicism (living system)

We are immersed in a biological world of living organisms, both plants and animals, including ourselves. Living organisms are organized, self-regulating, and actively functioning systems. A seed planted in favorable conditions, unfolding and maturing into a tree, is an example of an organismic system. The root metaphor for organicism is inquiring how living systems maintain adaptive balances between acting on the environment and being acted on and supported by the environment. Organismic philosophers include Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel."


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