Page 193 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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to be in a different logical type that does not belong in the discussion. Science not so much
discovers and explains what happens; it rather discovers when a new logical type is needed –
that is, when a new level of discourse pertains. Logical types fix the level of analysis that is
in use.
Different logical types are not simply different, they must relate to each other in
general terms. Roughly the same situation applies, but at a new level of inclusion. For
instance, left versus right distinction belongs to a logical type different from the contrast of
up versus down. Left and right sides are possessed by the individual in question. The up
versus down distinction is shared, not owned by individuals. So up versus down belongs to a
different discourse in a larger universe relative to left and right, even though the distinctions
may only be at right angles to each other. That is whence comes the quandary of “How come
a mirror switches you left and right but not up and down.” There are different logical types
involved, so the two polarities can switch independently, so there is no quandary. In biology
cat and dog share a logical type that is different from the logical type of “carnivore.” Cat and
dog can be different forms in the order Carnivora: both lines are carnivorous, but that does
not make the set or class carnivore the same logical type as cat and dog. Cat and dog are in
the same logical type, but carnivore is a different logical type that defines an animal by what
it eats. Accordingly, carnivore and herbivore are the same logical type. Things may indeed
exist in the external world, but they do not exist there as things belonging to logical types.
Too Much Credit for Models
Almost everyone knows not to commit the error of which Korzybski (1994: 750) warned:
“The map is not the territory.” Nevertheless, the two are confounded all the time, precisely
because there is insufficient focus on what the observer or model builder decides. For
instance, most biologists would say that the genetic distinction between dominant and
recessive genes is a material issue; that is, dominant genes form a class of phenomenon that
has a material basis. They do, but only once a normative value judgment has been made that a
given trait is dominant at the outset. “Dominant” as opposed to “recessive” is a normative
decision, not a materially justified verity. In sickle cell, a genetically caused blood disease,
the gene is not expressed as the disease in the heterozygote (only one copy of the gene exists
in the genome, its complement being the normal type). As a wrinkle in all this, the
heterozygote is resistant to malaria. We never say that sickle cell is dominant with regard to
malarial resistance, although it clearly is. The reason for the oversight is that sickle cell is a
killer and so cannot become the common gene. Dominant usually means some version of
“normal,” “desirable,” or “functional,” and that is an observer decision. Sickle cell is
functional for malaria resistance, but is never more common than the normal.
All genes are dominant for the protein they make; all genes are recessive relative to
what all other genes make. This is how a rare mutant is nearly always recessive, because of
the situation in which it is judged. Should a recessive mutant become useful (a value
judgment), it becomes dominant in the mind and experience of the biologist. Nothing has
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