{adjustment} and alignment
Allowing and disallowing
Assuming a linkage
Atypical linkage
Close linkage and close contrast
Common interface
Constraints on linkage
Context-sensitive term
Contrasts of contrast
Deleted linkage
Evaluative linguistics
Factors and Factorization
Genus and species
Homoiolinkage and heterolinkage
Incommensurable linkage
Linkage diagrams

Linkage lines
Linkage schemata

Central terms in {theme} theory in the list above are in italics


Not the shortening of a word of phrase by omission of letters or words but the illegitimate shortening of an argument by omission of sufficient supporting evidence or supporting arguments. Abbreviation very often allows the writer or speaker sufficient time to give the impression of superiority to the object of the criticism, sometimes by using a single word,. The speaker or writer is spared the effort of thorough, responsible discussion which might support the original criticism or might not.

((surveys)) can also be abbreviated. A proper ((survey)), unlike an abbreviated ((survey)), involves the attempt to describe relevant factors and to omit nothing which is relevant to the issue.

{adjustment} and alignment

{adjustment} is modification to meet a change. Examples: New experiments make demands of a scientific theory. The theory may be capable of meeting them, with {adjustments}, alterations, to the theory. Or the theory may be completely incapable of meeting them and may need to be completely replaced, so that {adjustment} is more radical: {replacement}. Whatever the case, good science is in continual need of {adjustment}. Pseudo-science illustrates failure of {adjustment}. Karl Popper's criterion of falsifiability demands, in effect, {adjustment} of a scientific hypothesis if a scientific experiment provides evidence which contradicts the hypothesis. Pseudo-science evades this demand, in some cases by adjustment} of the evidence instead of {adjustment} of the hypothesis.

Recognizing commercial pressures and conceding defeat to these pressures or adapting to them, may not be, but often is, an indefensible implementation of {adjustment}. If such commercial monsters as Wal-mart are driving small businesses to extinction, if the mass media seem to be making marginal intelligent thought and comment, there is more than one way of practising {adjustment}. We can practise {adjustment} by active resistance, by intelligent action.

I refer to some unjustifiable uses of {adjustment}, that is {adjustment}ev- as alignment. Alignment achieves a false consistency or 'neatness.' Examples from bullfighting, which I strongly oppose - see bullfighting: arguments against and action against. A campaigner against bullfighting may deny to bullfighters and their apologists any virtues. Matadors must be cowardly, Goya, who approved of bullfighting, cannot be a great artist. The {separation} between virtuous and non-virtuous is made complete or very nearly complete, with no recognition of any cross-linkages. Cross-linkages could be described as 'inconvenient linkages,' ones which are more easily recognized if an ideology does not impose distortion. Unfortunately, humane feelings may also introduce distortion.

See {adjustment} for further illustrative examples.

Allowing and disallowing

I use these terms in connection with the {restriction}of diversification. An example: Kant allowed the contrast between analytic and synthetic statements. Quine disallowed the contrast, imposing a {restriction} on diversification. There are separate contrasts analytic-synthetic and a posteriori-a priori, giving, by {diversification}, four theoretical forms. Kant disallowed one of these, the analytic-a posteriori form. He allowed the synthetic-a posteriori and the analytic-a priori forms, although he believed that they were without interest. The synthetic-a priori form, of course, he regarded as very significant.

Assuming a linkage

Taking a linkage for granted, neglecting to argue for a linkage, failing to recognize or to practise limitation: a pervasive habit. By not assuming a linkage we are more likely to see through and to undermine all those powerful forces which promote a deadening, dishonest attitude to life. Some examples of assuming a linkage:

Assuming that something which has powerful backing, which is financially successful, must be of great worth.

Assuming that expending a great deal of time and effort on a task must give proportionate results.

Assuming that a process which involves high technology must produce better results than a process which involves simple techniques. If someone uses a digital camera and computer software without making inflated claims for the results, then well and good, but there is sometimes the unthinking assumption that high technology confers aesthetic value, leading to a dismissive view of artistic geniuses who had the misfortune to live before the digital era.

Assuming that works which are new, talked about, that 'everybody' is reading or watching or listening to must be worth reading or watching or listening to.

In all these cases, the linkage can be denied.

Atypical linkage

The violin is an instrument which, unlike the piano, has only a limited ability to play polyphonically. However, Bach's partitas and sonatas for solo violin contain polyphonic passages and demonstrate atypical linkage, an important extension of technique for the violin. In fact, the second movements of the sonatas are fugues, in which the linkage with true polyphonic instruments is particularly clear.

Close linkage and close contrast

The contrast between close linkage and close contrast is a continuum contrast not an exclusive contrast, i.e. there are gradations of contrast.

The reference may be to measurable distance. For example, the linked works which make up a Set may be relatively close together or distant. If two relatively distant objects which make up the Set are very emphatic and closely similar in tone and treatment then there is likely to be tension between distance (they are far apart) and the linkage of style.

Opposing viewpoints, together with the evidence and arguments of their proponents, may be brought into close contrast in order to examine the differences more easily. When this is done, it may well be obvious that one of the two viewpoints is erroneous or less securely grounded than the other. Campaigning organizations would do well to use the technique of close contrast more often. Too often, they allow good arguments (for example, arguments against the execution of juvenile offenders) to go unanswered. The two sides simply go their separate ways and the two sets of arguments are not brought into close juxtaposition. (But I would maintain that often, one side makes no attempt to answer the arguments of the other side - where are the reasoned arguments in favour of executing juvenile offenders? In this case, what has to be brought into close contrast are a set of powerful arguments and a complete lack of arguments, a kind of void.) The vivid contrast brought about when contrast is close can also be described as clashing.

Common interface

A well-designed group of software products uses, so far as possible, a common interface. Although a graphics program will need icons and commands which are different from those used in a word-processing program or a spreadsheet, the same or similar icons and commands should be used for the same or similar operations. In the same way, the terms used in Linkage theory are used consistently so far as possible and are applicable to many different fields of study, whilst there is full recognition of significant differences. A consistent set of terms makes it easier to detect similarities and differences - linkages and contrasts.

Constraints on linkage and content

Here, the notation is used which is explained in linkage schemata. A linkage constrains content, imposes {restriction} on content - certain possibilities are excluded. Content constrains linkage. For example, if the linkage is <gravitational attraction> then this is a possible linkage schema: [earth] <gravitational attraction> [moon] but not [love] <gravitational attraction> [joy]

We may also choose to constrain linkage or content. For example, we may choose to exclude purely verbal linkages of this kind, [cat] <words of three letters in English> [joy].

Context-sensitive term

A term whose use varies with the context. As an analogy, there are the context-sensitive property bars in various computer programs which display changing information or options depending upon the context.

Contrasts of contrast

Just as elements may be contrasted, so may contrasts themselves. For example, contrast may be exclusive (there are distinct categories) or there may be the gradations of continuum contrast, which may be shown by placing elements on a continuum line or continuum graph.

Deleted linkage

This may be deletion of a linkage which is no longer fruitful or possible. One example is the linkage between bee-keeping and a didactic poem which is about the subject. Another is the writing today of a poem which links a certain poem length and a certain subject to produce an epic poem about the exploits of a king. Yet another is a linkage between eclipses and disasters such as the fall of kings. A linkage may be deleted for some people but not for others, for example the linkages claimed by astrologers. Alternatively, the linkages may have been tentatively proposed but found to be untenable, for example by falsification following scientific experiments.


Deliberate distortion is necessary for the cartoonist and understandable in many situations. We cannot always consider situations very thoroughly, from many points of view. The aim in using Linkage theory, however, is to eliminate distortion so far as possible. The techniques which should make this possible are varied, but one of the most important methods of reducing bias is to make as complete a ((survey)) as possible.


The primary linkage is with the diversification of living things in the course of evolution, in the course of which living things have become adapted to new environments and have undergone progressive contrast. Diversification, in fact, is the successive production of contrast, with innumerable instances. Another biological process, the differentiation of cells, has a linkage with diversification as I use the term. The cells which are formed by mitosis are to begin with generalized, and then acquire contrasting structures so that they can perform a particular function. So, cells become changed in structure as they become nerve cells or muscle cells.

In the evolution of human knowledge, which has a linkage with biological evolution but which is contrasted with it in many ways, the new science of Chemistry began its independent existence, to be followed by Biology. Later, linkages were formed between the contrasted sciences, leading, for example, to Physical Chemistry, Biophysics and Biochemistry.

Emergence - opposed to reductionism - can be regarded as an instance of differentiation. The most problematic aspect of emergence, as I see it, is the emergence of the evaluative, including moral issues.

Diversification may be closed or open in a certain context. For example, a completed truth table is closed under diversification if the context is classical logic, which uses the principle of bivalence: every proposition has exactly one of two logical values, truth or falsity. This involves the law of the excluded middle and the law of non-contradiction. Logic as a whole is open under diversification. Classical logic can be diversified by rejecting the principle of bivalence or by rejecting the classical laws which concern sentence connectives and introducing non-two-valued connectives. This process of diversification began in 1920 with the work of Lukasiewicz and Post. Lukasiewitz introduced a third logical value after considering such issues as modality and the paradoxes of set theory.

To ask whether diversification is possible in a given case, I occasionally use for convenience a very simple and concise notation which involves the established logical term for disjunction, OR, together with my own symbol the Question indicator, Qn, which allows for contrasts of Question. To ask what linkages follow from the process of diversification, I use the Question Indicator after the established logical term for conjunction, AND.

As a detail, I distinguish in the system (A B) between external extension which diversifies the system beyond (A B) and internal extension which diversifies the system between A and B.

Consider the buttons ordinarily used in Web Sites, including my own, for example the Contact Button for email messages, the Home Button to reach the Home Page and the Next Button to reach the next page in a linear sequence of pages. These buttons do not differ appreciably in x-length and y-length. The rectangles which I use for the Home Button and the the Contact Button are broader than they are long but not significantly so. We can ask in connection with these dimensions, OR Qn, in other words, how can we diversify these dimensions? One possibility is to introduce a button where the x-length is very small compared with the y-length, in other words, a button which is very long and thin. A button of this kind turns out to be very useful. I call it the rail and it is described and demonstrated in the page on Web design.

Alternatively, by diversification, I devised buttons can have a much larger x- and y-length than is usual. These buttons I call expanses or expanse-buttons.

An understanding of the principle of diversification is likely to make someone more sensitive to the gaps waiting to be filled, the extensions to knowledge in any field which can still be made, the possibilities still to be realized. An understanding of diversification is an aid to innovation.


The things which are linked or contrasted. A context-sensitive term. Obviously, elements may be of the most varied kinds. For example, the opposing requirements of a moral dilemma are the elements which are contrasted. In a mathematical equation, the elements which are linked are the left hand side of the equation and the right hand side. In composite poetry, the elements which are linked and contrasted at the same time may be text and image, or, within a non-composite poem, the elements may be lines linked by sound or meaning.

Elements may be simpler or more complex. More complex elements are compound elements if elements are first linked or contrasted and then sub-divisions of the elements are then linked or contrasted. The term 'element' has a linkage with Set theory, not with the elements of Chemistry.


The process by which elements are linked by being bounded, as when they are enclosed in a frame, for example in Venn diagrams or inside a space in an art gallery.


The need for evaluation is commonly understood, but is capable of extension. For example, it's recognized that a performance of a work may be more or less adequate. In Linkage theory, the sphere of what may be corrected, improved, of what is open to criticism, is as wide as possible. Whole areas of study, such as psychology and linguistics, are subject to contrast: the contrast between what is the case and what could be the case or should be the case. Of the last two, only evaluative linguistics is considered, below.

Evaluative linguistics

Linguists generally study actual speech and writing, ignoring matters such as the vitality of language or the superficiality and debasement of language. They engage in descriptive linguistics. George Steiner wrote about the debasement of German during the Third Reich in 'Language and Silence' but such brief, penetrating essays are not a substitute for the methodical study which linguists have carried out, with very substantial results, in the non-evaluative sphere. These are some examples of studies which an evaluative linguistics could carry out:

Cliche word. It can be claimed that 'cliche phrases' were often used in the past but that now it is cliche words which are overused on a vast scale, for example, 'great.' This word, of course, does not have at all the connotations which were dominant in past usage, for example, a 'great thinker' or a 'great writer.' A word like 'great' does have a function in language, as an all-purpose expression of approval. In the past, this function was carried out to a large extent in English by 'splendid.' When the use of words impoverish language - or are symptoms of the impoverishment of language - then there must be concern.

Missing word. This marks a gap in a language. For example, in a totalitarian society, everyone is expected to speak in a certain way and act in a certain way, and there are likely to be severe penalties for non-conformity - a dissident may be arrested and shot. In modern society, there are immense pressures to conform, and people who refuse to conform may feel like dissidents, but the word 'totalitarian' would convey meanings which are not at all appropriate. Non-conformity requires strength of will and much else, but not the heroism needed of a dissident in a truly totalitarian society, and modern democratic societies do not exact the same dire punishments for non-conformity as in a totalitarian society, although individuals may have their lives ruined. Even so, the parallels are clear, and a word is needed to convey the parallel. In general, a language may lack many words which are needed to express not just nuances of thought and feeling but main categories of thought and feeling.

Opposition language

In limited but important areas we can shape language ourselves so as to oppose harmful tendencies in society. We are not powerless as language-users. If, for example, by the practice of isolation financial measures of worth are becoming far too powerful, we can deliberately use 'costing' in a new way. We can include non-financial values, such as moral values or aesthetic values, in the equation. We can include the cost to the animal when discussing factory farming - this is a wider use of costing. We can include aesthetic values when discussing the costing of a building development. We can 'promote' the use of words without necessarily emphasizing a new or less usual meaning. If someone argues that a minority viewpoint is wrong or not worth considering (or, which is more likely, unthinkingly assumes this without arguing the case) then the reply can be given, "Do you want everybody to be clones?" The word 'clone' is a devastating indictment of a certain point of view. Of course, there's no necessary linkage between the fact that a viewpoint is a minority one and the rightness of the viewpoint. This would be an example of assuming a linkage:

[minority viewpoint] <> [rightness]

Semantic force

For this term, an important term as I see it in Evaluative Linguistics, see the entry in the Glossary of Literary Linkage Terms.

Simplification word

A simplification word is also a cliche word. Using a simplification word gives the person who uses it the illusion of making a very important point and even of winning an argument simply by using it. Using a simplification word is a substitute for thinking. An example is the word 'elitism.' Using the word does not clarify or explain or dispose of a whole set of complex issues. It may be that in a particular situation, the person who uses a simplification word is in the right, but using it is a sign of mental laziness.

There are obviously legitimate uses for words which capture a complex situation - that is one of the main functions of language. "For Heidegger a vocabulary, or the kind of metaphors one uses, can name things into being and change the sensibility of an age...Language is a marvellously powerful way to preserve and extend practices by focusing them. For Heidegger it is the poets and thinkers, not the priests or scientists, who are receptive to, and use, new language and so promote and stabilize new ways of being." (Hubert Dreyfus, discussing Husserl, Heidegger and Modern Existentialism with Bryan Magee in 'The Great Philosophers.')

Template language

As the name implies, language in which the user simply inserts a few particular words into pre-existing templates, language without any distinctiveness or individuality at all. Template language corresponds to template thoughts.


Claiming exemption or assuming exemption concerns exemption from scrutiny which is fair - and exemption from ridicule, when it can be justified. In the Socratic dialogues, there was philosophical enquiry into such concepts as the concept of justice but the institution of slavery was granted exemption: it was not examined. 'The unexamined life is not worth living' had, then, restricted scope, but this does not diminish the lasting importance of the philosophical enquiries of Plato and Socrates, of the significant cases where they did not grant exemption. Scope is necessarily restricted to a greater or lesser extent: the task is to extend scope so far as possible. Other, radical examples, of taking away exemption are the systematic doubt of Descartes and the idealist examination of our knowledge of the external world.

Exemption, - far more often than not assumed rather than claimed, is sometimes linked with the 'totalitarian' assumption that everyone should think in similar ways and act in similar ways. (But see the remarks on missing words in the entry for evaluative linguistics for comments on 'totalitarian.')

Exemption often gives strong contrast and often extreme contrast. The Nazi era provides examples. Poisonous thinking about 'subhumanity,' the so-called subhumanity of Jew, Slavs and others' was given exemption, whilst many aspects of cultural and intellectual life continued in a way that could be described as 'horrifyingly normal' (a high-tension term). "Gravity and fun, truth and appearance, lies and deception, are illumined by a magical glow that transfigures them all." So, writing of Mozart's 'Cosi fan tutte,' in the Preface to his edition of the score, Georg Schunemann, in Berlin in the summer of 1941.

In the last decades of the twentieth century, philosophers and other thinkers, activists and ordinary members of the public, began to criticize the notion of exemption for animals, the assumption that animals are not entitled to consideration, that matters of animal welfare are unimportant.

The application of Linkage theory uncovers contradictions and uncritical thinking, and the animal rights movement, like all such movements, has never been 'pure,' beyond criticism. To name one example, the low-tension assumption that there is never a genuine ethical dilemma, that an apparent ethical dilemma can be 'thought away.' So, there is the assumption that there is no such thing as an experiment involving living animals which produces genuinely useful information, which can be used to decrease human and animal suffering. (Compare the low-tension assumption that all wars are useless and never achieve anything, a way of 'thinking away' the high-tension dilemma of the evil of war on the one hand and on the other the absolute necessity of armed force on occasions - rare occasions - to avoid worse evils. (The Second World War is the prime example.)

Exemption has been taken away from the death penalty to an increasing extent in the modern world. The case against the death penalty is devastatingly complete.

Factors and factorization

The factors are the aspects which have to be considered for an adequate ((survey)) and factorization is the listing of these factors. Obviously, there may be disagreement about these factors. For human diet, there would be wide agreement but not universal agreement that these are factors:

(1) Nutritional adequacy. A diet should provide all the components needed for health (such as vitamin B12) in adequate amounts.
(2) Taste. Eating is, or should be, one of the pleasurable activities of life. It can provide richer, more interesting, more complex or more interesting experiences or ones which are bland or even unpleasant. Vitamins can be obtained by means of supplements, which are devoid of pleasure, or obtained in full as part of an enjoyable experience.
(3) Sustainability. Eating should not make excessive demands on fossil fuels and other resources which are limited in supply.
(4) Cost. This is a factor which is crucial for many people, less so or of no account to others.
(5) Human welfare. Eating should not cause avoidable suffering to humans, such as slavery or child labour.
(6) Animal welfare. Eating should not cause avoidable suffering to animals.

In some cuisines, (6) would not be regarded as a factor, or a factor of negligible importance.

Scientific method has a very restricted list of factors ('restricted' is intended to be non-evaluated, ev0. I myself strongly support the restricted list.) A factor such as 'accordance with human spiritual needs' is excluded.

Environmentalists often fail to factorize adequately alternative energy sources, it can be claimed. Avoiding pollution is a factor, but not others which determine the practicality and feasibility of the energy source.

Genus and species

[Note: the introductory paragraphs, which are very accessible, are followed by some rather more technical paragraphs, and then some concrete, numbered examples of 'genus' and 'species.' The technical paragraphs can be omitted if necessary.]

The dictionary definition of genus includes biological and non-biological examples. In Collins English Dictionary, genus is: '1. Biology, any of the taxonomic groups into which a family is divided and which contains one or more species...2. Logic. a class of objects or individuals that can be divided into two or more groups or species. 3. a class, group, etc, with common characteristics.' Species is '1. Biology. any of the taxonomic groups into which a genus is divided, the members of which are capable of interbreeding...2. Logic. a group of objects or individuals, all sharing at least one common attribute, that forms a subdivision of a genus.'

Using a biological example, the genus 'Canis,' there's a linkage between, for example, 'wolf,' and 'dog' which enables them to be placed in the same genus, 'Canis' and there are contrasts between them which enable them to be placed in different species groups, 'Canis lupus' and 'Canis familiaris.'

I use curly brackets to indicate genus and species, the species being distinguished with / So, {genus} and {/species} Compare the distinction between file and directory in the hierarchic organization of files.

There may be an implied imperative and interrogative when these brackets are used. {genus} may mean: 'give the species which make up this genus,' or 'What are the species which make up this genus?' {/species} may have the implication 'Give the genus which includes these and other species' or 'What is the genus which includes these and other species?' as well as 'Give other species which belong with this species, or these species,' and 'What other species belong with this species, or these species?' To make clear that a question is implied, the Question Indicator can be used, Qn and to make clear the interrogation the Interrogation Indicator, In: {/species Qn} and {/species In}

The brackets { } show the need to indicate differentiation, to show linkages and contrasts, either in an 'upward' or 'downward' direction. It may be possible, or easy, to interpose other categories between genus and species, corresponding to the complexity of biological taxa: families, orders and so on, but in this scheme, for simplicity, there is the basic distinction between higher and lower taxa.

Thinking in terms of genus and species is the practice of local diversification. More often than not, it's not necessary, or not important, to construct a wide ranging diversification scheme, extending through many levels. If our starting point is a particular concept, it's useful to consider it as a species and then to think of other species, and the genus which includes these species, or to think of the concept as a genus and to think of some of the species which fall within the genus.

This notation using brackets is convenient but annotation is required. The notation is a shorthand one and can be expanded using the linkage notation I explain in linkage schemata. This allows further information to be given in the linkage brackets:

For species A and species B which are linked as members of genus X:

[{/A}] <{X}> [{/B}]

There are many possible linkages between genus and species. The linkages between genus and species also form a genus: {linkages} the species being, for example, {/an instance of}, {derived from}

A species can be regarded as the genus for the formation of further species. If {genus A} has as one species {/A1} then if {/A1} is regarded as a genus, with, as one species, {/B} then {/B} has this linkage with {genus A}: {//B} I use, then, /, //, ///...n/ to show the successive degrees of resolution.

The linkage between genus and species is a one-many linkage: one genus has linkages with many species (two or more.) There's a linkage between this linkage and the one-many functions or mapping of established Mathematics, which link a single member of the domain with more than one member of the range of a set-valued function. The established mathematical one-many linkage is a species of the genus {one-many linkage}.

Many-one and one-to-one mathematical mappings and functions are species of many-one and one-to-one linkages. A many-one mapping or function can associate the same element of the range of a function with more than one member of the domain.

An example of a many-one linkage comes from Colour theory. The hue 'turquoise' can be regarded as a one-many linkage with the hues green and blue.

'Genus' is a compound term. We can choose to concentrate upon synthesis or analysis, upon building up the compound term from its simpler elements or breaking down the compound term into its simpler elements.

Some examples of genus and species:

(1) Resolution is, amongst other things, 'the act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements' (again, from Collins English Dictionary) but resolution itself forms an interesting genus: {resolution} What are the species which make up 'resolution?' (understood as above, not as 'firmness' or 'determination' or 'a formal expression of opinion by a meeting.') They include the term in optics, 'resolving power' for which 'resolution' is a synonym. This is 'the ability of a microscope, telescope or other optical instrument to produce separate images of closely placed objects.' When the power of a microscope is insufficient, two closely spaced dots will be seen as one dot. {resolution} includes many other species, some of which are established and included in dictionary definitions but some of which will not be. To find established usage incomplete is, here, an instance of evaluation.

(2) Diversification can itself be thought of as a species which falls under the genus {resolution.}

(3) {/falsification in science} Popper's view of falsification in science is well known. Scientific theories differ from metaphysical or ideological positions in that they are subject to falsification. They can never be 'proved' but can be falsified by contrary evidence. Are there other species of falsification, outside the scientific context, which can be placed together with scientific falsification in {falsification}? I would claim that there are. Ideologists and others (they include people with generally high reputations such as orthodox professors of theology) often hold views which are falsified by the problem of evil, discrepancies and difficulties in sacred scriptures, the fact that the particular group they oppose is not at all what they claim them to be, if an attempt is made to view the group without distortion. Falsification of this kind is very different in many ways from Popper's scientific falsification - if it were otherwise, they could belong to the same species, but the linkages between them justify the placing in the same genus.

(4) {prediction} includes {/prediction as a result of a scientific hypothesis} and {/prediction of a person's action}

(5) {ambiguity} which includes as species {/ambiguity of words} and {/ambiguity of objects} Ambiguity of words has been discussed fully in such works as William Empson's 'Seven Types of Ambiguity.' The ambiguity of objects includes such striking instances as ropes and their uses - for saving lives - a rope tied around a climber's waist - and for ending lives - a rope tied around a condemned man's neck.

(6) Although human goodness, supreme mathematical ability and the supreme gifts of a performer may seem unlinked, they are linked as species of {excellence} or what the ancient Greeks called {/arete}.

(6) {Evaluation} includes evaluation of works of art, of performances, of the performance of people, finding them excellent, satisfactory, poor, or whatever may be the case, but, also, evaluation of the 'conditions of life.' The fact that in a state of nature, living things tend to produce far more young than can survive, so that many necessarily die of hunger, disease, or by predation, we can and should evaluate. In general, whenever modern medicine intervenes, it's as a result of an evaluation and with the intention of improving on nature.

(7) {/Limitation} and {/limit} are species of a genus which can be described as {setting a constraint on activity}. {/Limitation} is under our con troll and {/limit} is not under our control. We may decide to use our cars far less, if we have a car, so as to conserve non-renewable resources: this is to practice limitation. The fact that non-renewable resources will eventually be exhausted is an instance of a limit.

(8) A related example is that of {variables] in Science. We can control {/independent variables}, for example, we can control the temperature in an experiment on photosynthesis. {/dependent variables} aren't under our control, for example, the volume of oxygen released by the photosynthesizing plant in the same experiment.

Two species may be contrasted by a positive and a negative evaluation. {Exclusive attention}, a filtering activity, an activity which involves singling out has as species {/concentration} and {/isolation} Someone who is not a dilettante but gives full attention to a thing - a tree in Autumn leaf, for example- is showing {/concentration} which is positive, whilst {/isolation} involves the wilful ignoring of things which are relevant. The stress is upon a particular act of {/concentration} and people who spend so much time contemplating Autumn trees that they neglect important duties are showing {/isolation}. (But please see also the instances of change of concentration discussed in the entry mutation.)

Homoiolinkage and heterolinkage

A context-sensitive term. In homoiolinkage the same elements are linked, in heterolinkage different elements are linked, but the meaning of 'same' and 'different' will vary according to the context. For example, in a linkage diagram which shows the linkage between atoms in an organic molecule, the focus may be the kinds of atoms which are linked. A bond between two carbon atoms (which is obviously a kind of linkage) will be an example of a homoiolinkage and a bond between a carbon atom and a hydrogen atom will be an example of a heterolinkage. If, however, the focus is covalent bonding, then both the C-C and the C-H linkage are homoiolinkages.

Incommensurable linkage

Linkage between things which are so different from each other that the nature of the linkage is very unclear. For example, the linkage between body and mind or the linkage when deductive mathematical methods are applied in science. These are always debatable linkages and give rise to a number of alternative views. For example, the linkage between mind and body may be viewed as identity, parallelism or interaction.


Indeterminacy has many instances, for example the indeterminacy of physical theories and philosophical indeterminacy. Bertrand Russell gives a very good introduction to 'Vagueness,' an instance of philosophical indeterminacy (1923).  Here, I fully recognize  that not all linkages are clear-cut, not all application-spheres are clear cut, and in general that not all applications of Linkage and {{theme}} theory are clear-cut. 

It is essential to accept unmodifiable vagueness and very desirable to carry out {/reduction} of modifiable vagueness. As a preliminary, it is often essential to practise ú. This is often neglected,  as if vagueness is monolithic.  It may not be possible to reduce vagueness of one kind  but perfectly possible to reduce vagueness of another kind. .  

In 'Literary theory and its Discontents,' John Searle writes (1994), ' ... most concepts and distinctions are rough at the edges and do not have sharp boundaries. The distinctions between fat and thin, rich and poor, democracy and authoritarianism, for example, do not have sharp boundaries. More important for our present discussion, the distinctions between literal and metaphorical, serious and nonserious, fiction and nonfiction, and , yes, even true and false, admit of degrees and all apply more or less. It is, in short, generally accepted that many, perhaps most, concepts do not have sharp boundaries...' He goes on to criticize Derrida, who 'seemed to be unaware of these well-known facts, and that he seemed to be making the mistaken assumption that unless a distinction can be made rigorous and precise, with no marginal cases, it is not a distinction at all...' I am sure that this is overstated. Certainly, the factual basis of the 'well-known facts' should be subjected to close examination. A far superior way of examining the matter is by the application of linkage and contrast. For example, I discuss Nazi and Stalinist abuses below. These examples of authoritarianism, supposedly only vaguely distinct from democratic practices,  constitute a very clear-cut contrast. At the same time there are linkages, such as abuse and misuse of power by politicians, bureaucrats and others.  


Focussing attention on one aspect or some aspects to the exclusion of others: a denial of contrast. The recognition that animals reared for food - confining the argument to vertebrates - are sentient beings, capable of suffering, involves criticism of any treatment of animals which ignores their sentience and is only interested in their economic aspects, or as the part they play in haute cuisine. Isolation allowed birds which were being fattened to be blinded, in the belief that they would concentrate on their food all the better. Isolation allows factory farming, which is spreading its ruthless and indefensible practices throughout the world, to flourish. Isolation allows people to devote great time and effort to addressing minor injustices, things which are pin-pricks in the scale of suffering, whilst ignoring such issues as these.

Isolation is also responsible for the naive or deluded beliefs to be found amongst vegetarians and lovers of animals. For example, that whether or not someone is a vegetarian is the most important thing about them (as a reductio ad absurdam, this might give involve approval of Hitler, who was almost entirely a vegetarian.) A person may be right about one thing and wrong about many others.

Vegans use isolation when they focus attention upon the dairy industry or what could be called, when it's practised on a small scale, the 'dairy crafts.' They point out that to produce milk, the cow has to become repeatedly pregnant, the calf is not allowed to suckle for long, and the calf is taken away from the mother at an early stage. Dairy products, they conclude, are the cause of suffering. This is true enough, but I would say that the loss of the world's immensely varied cheeses would be insupportable. There are severe objections to veganism which do not involve an appeal to intense and varied flavours, for example, the denial of the linkage between plants and animals in maintaining soil fertility. When vegans point out the availability of soya products as a substitute for dairy products, they are advocating a system of food production which environmentalists would find very flawed. In this country, dairy products can be produced very near to or comparatively near to the consumer. Soya products have to be imported from farms thousands of miles away. The environmental cost can be compared: 'food miles' which are few in number or very large in number. Although soya is a renewable resource, far greater demands are made on the non-renewable resources needed to import it.

Another instance of isolation, of denial of contrast, is to focus attention on a person's tastes and cultural interests, find them lacking and ignore the person's strengths. There are people, many people, with what are perhaps abysmal tastes in furnishings, in books and television programmes who are capable of delicacy of feeling, a penetrating view of people, or other strengths. Using the techniques of Linkage theory involves the attempt to be fair and measured - and leads repeatedly to paradoxical and striking results, revealing the unexpectedness and contradictions of reality.


Layers 1, 2, 3, 4. Layers 1, 2 and 3 are equivalent to Popper's useful terms World 1, World 2 and World 3. In Popper's terminology, World 1 is the world of "things," of physical objects. World 2 is the world of subjective experiences, such as thought processes. World 3 contains statements, theories, problems, arguments, especially critical arguments. The body-mind problem (except for realists and idealists) concerns the linkage between a World 1 entity, the body, and a World 2 entity, the mind. World 3 entities, such as a scientific theory, or an ideology, can only have an effect upon World 1 indirectly, by influencing World 2. (See Popper's 'Unended Quest' for more detailed information about these terms.)

I use the term 'layer' instead of Popper's 'world' because layers can be shown diagrammatically far more easily than worlds - although this is not the most important of considerations - and because I prefer to reserve the more inclusive term 'world' for the strikingly different worlds of philosophy, science, art, amongst others.

Layer 4, in my terminology, is concerned with values, such as ethical and aesthetic values. Values are not specifically identified in Popper's scheme. Evaluative linguistics, then, is concerned with Layer 4.

The x-y layer is concerned with linkages horizontally and vertically as shown by partitioned Linkage Schemata. Linkage with the z-layer is shown by the z-partition of a partitioned Linkage Schema. See Linkage Schemata.


For convenience, I give non-systematic names to certain instances of {themes}. To practise limitation is to practise free {restriction} on oneself. Limitation is distinguished from limits, instances of bound {restriction}.

People practise limitation when they decide that one thing should not be linked with another thing or that one thing should be contrasted with another thing. Limitation is often opposed to a false consistency.

(1) If someone hates waste and hates wasting money, then this is a virtue. If the person decides to spend a little more and buy free-range eggs instead of battery chicken eggs, then the person is practising limitation. This is the recognition that consistency which extends economy to every single purchase would be ethically wrong.

(2) Another example: democracy is the least flawed method for distributing and transferring power. The exercise of limitation wouldn't prevent people from voting on all sorts of other issues, such as the best... and the greatest ... but it would involve treating the results with a healthy skepticism. There's nothing sacrosanct or infallible about a majority view.

(3) An advanced technological society needs advanced systems of distribution, computerized records, for many of its needs - but not for all of them. Spare parts for cars have to be made available in this way - leaving aside the issue of reducing car use - but wherever possible, food should be locally produced and not transported in massive lorries from distant distribution centres, ignoring the environmental cost of 'food miles.' Exact record-keeping and very close monitoring may be a necessity in one sphere and may tend to stifle initiative and every creative impulse in another, such as education.

(4) For many years, I've been involved in the struggle to end the death penalty. I would argue that limitation has to be applied even here, to a cause which is so much a part of my life. The crimes of the Nazis were such that the death penalty for the worst offenders could be justified. After the Second World War, various states did, in effect, practise limitation in this way. Before the war, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark had abolished the death penalty. In the post-war years, all these countries executed people who had collaborated with the Nazi regime. At its inception, the State of Israel abolished the death penalty, but made an exception for Adolf Eichmann, who was executed in 1962.

(5) War is one of the most terrible of evils. Pacifists refuse to practise limitation but limitation is surely essential: to do everything possible to avoid war but to go to war when (and only when) it's the lesser of two evils. The most compelling case is, surely, the Second World War. The work of the extermination camps couldn't be halted by reason and argument but only by force of arms. An absolutist opposition to the arms trade would have been a fatal error. Bertrand Russell was a pacifist during the First World War but applied limitation, in effect, and supported the allied cause during the Second World War.

Linkage diagrams

Diagrams which indicate a linkage are in very common use. For example, in organic chemistry, diagrams show the way in which atoms are linked together in organic molecules. In ecology, food chains and food webs are shown by means of diagrams, with arrows showing the flow of energy from producer to consumers.

I make use of simple diagrams to show, for example, the linkage of lines of poetry by sound (using round brackets) or by meaning (using square brackets). More generally, for simple purposes, I show linkage between elements by lines. When the elements are similar, the end-points are round and when they are dissimilar, one end-point is round and the other is square. Closer and more distant linkages are shown by using lines which are comparatively shorter and longer.

One linkage diagram may give more information about linkages than another. For example, in organic chemistry, a diagram may indicate comparative bond distances as well as the atoms which are linked by bonding. I refer to a diagram which gives more than limited information as a 'synoptic diagram.'

See also linkage schemata, which can be considered as the most useful single way to convey information about linkages.


Linkage lines, like linkage arrows, are examples of linkage-indicators. Linkage can be shown by linking the elements with a line in a diagram. For ease and convenience, the start-points and end-points may be shown with asterisks * and the line is drawn in imagination or added by the reader. Different lines may be distinguished by adding a number after the asterisk, so that the linkage line *1 ...*1 is different from the linkage line *2 ... *2 The horizontal and vertical scope lines of symbolic logic are examples of the use of linkage lines.

Linkage schemata

Linkage schemata allow comparisons to be made and contrasts to be shown clearly and concisely. Just as the tabular method of presenting information, such as a table of results or table of contents, allows facts to be shown clearly, side by side, without the distraction of superfluous text, linkage schemata are similarly useful, but with many other applications and many other advantages. Linkage schemata take these forms for the purposes of this discussion:

[A] <> [B] when [A] is linked with [B]

When the linkage brackets are reversed >< then there is lack of linkage:

[A] >< [B] when [A] is not linked with [B]

[A] ( ) [B] when [A] is contrasted with [B.]

[A] )( [B] when [A] is not contrasted with [B].

The contents of the square brackets or content brackets [ ] are ontologically general. They are made specific by being given content. The first set of content brackets can be referred to as [1] and the second set of content brackets as [2]. Similarly, content may be inserted into the angle brackets <> or linkage brackets and the rounded brackets ( ) or contrast brackets to indicate the nature of the linkage, lack of linkage, contrast or lack of contrast. A citation may be given for the nature of the linkage or contrast, in citation brackets, which are rounded, as in some of the examples explained below. Whether or not there is linkage, lack of linkage or contrast is context-sensitive.

So, event 1 may be the cause of event 2 if one assumes Kant's view of causation. This would be expressed as:

[event1] <causation (Kant)> [event2] The foregoing is a single linkage statement, where the rounded brackets within the angle brackets give the citation 'Kant.'

This can be regarded as a more general and less particular claim than Hume's view, that we cannot find causation but only constant conjunction:

[event1] <constant conjunction (Hume)> [event2]

According to Hume's view, event 1 is linked with event 2 if the context is 'constant conjunction' but not if the context is causation.

The default reading of a linkage statement is forwards and in the active voice, rather than backwards and in the passive voice. So, [event1] <causation> [event2] is read as 'event 1 causes event 2' rather than 'event 1 is caused by event 2' or 'event 2 causes event 1.'

Linkage brackets can also be used to show clearly and concisely the ethical views of Hume, Kant and others and allows comparisons to be made easily.

['ought'] <implication (Kant)> ['can'] the default reading giving 'ought' implies 'can' and not 'ought is implied by 'can.'

'[ought'] <implication (Hare)> [the corresponding imperative]

Since Hume denied that 'is' can be deduced from 'ought:'

['is'] >deduction (Hume)< ['ought']

At any level below the most general, there may be generalization or particularization. In scientific enquiry, an important stage is the degree of particularization needed for a linkage statement to be empirically testable, and falsifiable, according to Popper. (But although Popper may be the most influential twentieth century philosopher of science, he has been opposed, for example by the philosopher David Stove.)

So far, I have considered two-place linkage statements with a single main connective, shown by linkage brackets, but I have also compared linkage statements, as in the comparison between Hume's and Kant's view of causation. Linkages within the single linkage statement are intra-linkages and linkages between linkage statements - for example, that statement1 is more general than statement2 or that statement 1 is more particular than statement2 - are inter-linkages, in this context. Other examples of inter-linked statements are:

Question followed by

and, an example from logic,
Premise 2

There are many benefits in a common schema which shows linkages of this kind. I refer to the linkage within a single linkage statement as x-linkages (the reference - or linkage - being to the x-axis of a graph.) They are 'read along.' I refer to linkages between statements as y-linkages, which are 'read down.' To distinguish x-linkages within linkage or contrast brackets from y-linkages, in cases where y-linkages are being demonstrated, the two are clearly separated. The vertical y-linkage is shown inside linkage brackets at the end of the linkage statement. Linkage brackets may be divided into two or more partitions by one or more partition lines | to separate different content-classes.

The y-brackets will often contain, in this order:

(1) the number of the linkage statement.

(2) A reference to another linkage statement.

(3) the statement type, which establishes a y-linkage between this statement and one or more other statements. The statement type may be qualified, in the direction of more general to more particular. For example, the Question Indicator Q.n may be followed by information about the kind of question, such as 'rhetorical.' The Answer Indicator A.n (the dot is inserted to distinguish 'A.n' from the word 'An' may be followed by information about the kind of answer, such as probable answer, hypothetical answer, logically certain answer, and many others.In most cases, of course, it's unnecessary to think in terms of different types of question and answer but there are situations which justify more or less precise discriminations.

(4) Other information, such as the conjunction introduction or conjunction elimination of symbolic logic.

I provide only a little information here, but in my notation there is clear separation between x-linkages and y-linkages. As an alternative to enclosing each of the x-linkage statements between angle brackets, angle brackets are opened by *< and closed by *> showing that each of the statements is spanned. y-linkage statements are enclosed separately by angle brackets on the left. The start and end points of primary, secondary and tertiary scope lines are shown by *1...*1, *2...*2 and *3...*3, an easier way of showing vertical scope lines than by the usual notation. The y-linkage statements are sub-partitioned: The first sub-partition gives the statement number, the next gives scope information. The last sub-partition gives references to other statements and the information about such operations as conjunction introduction. Empty sub-partitions are shown as containing empty space.

Applications of y-linkage, as of x-linkage, are obviously not restricted to linguistics or symbolic linkage. As these linkages are general, and I follow the principle of the common interface, y-linkages include the linkage of lines of poetry by sound and by meaning. In this case, (1) above is the line number in the poem and (3) above indicates linkage by sound or linkage by meaning, or one of the other forms of linkage which I discuss, such as linkage by line length, linkage by unit number or linkage by sentence function.

Another example of y-linkage is linkage between the two lines of two-part harmony in music, or linkage between the four lines of four-part harmony, or the linkages which arise in fugal writing.

Determination of the content brackets may also determine the linkage or contrast brackets. This is a generalization of the use of independent and dependent variables in an empirical enquiry. Determination of the content brackets has a linkage with the setting of an independent variable. In the same way, determination of the linkage or contrast brackets also determines the content brackets. If, for example, membership of a mathematical set is placed in the linkage brackets, then the null set may be placed in [1] but if so, 2 cannot be placed in [1].

An evaluative term, referring to elements which are not equal or interchangeable in value or significance: for example, the linkage between the original paintings or photographs in an art gallery and the reproductions in a book or a virtual art-gallery on a web-site. An elementary mistake is to suppose that a visit to a virtual art gallery is 'just as good' as a visit to an actual art gallery, overlooking the vast differences between the original and the linked reproduction, differences, for example, of size and surface.

Obverse linkages

Linkages which are encountered often in human personality and in societies, used of characteristics which may well be 'found together' and seem to 'go together.' For example, a person who has a very good sense of humour may lack the tragic sense of life, or at least the capacity for empathy. Someone who is meticulous and very conscientious may lack spontaneity. These linkages are not invariable - there are many exceptions - and cannot be assumed.

Opposites linkage

One example would be the linkage - this is not an original observation - between the Nazi party and the Stalinist Communist Party, similar in their ruthlessness and in other ways.

Orwell's search

An example of grotesque contrast. The name comes from the Spanish Search described by George Orwell, in which there was a grotesque contrast between the thoroughness and stupidity of the operation. It comes from 'Homage to Catalonia:'

"In the small hours of the morning there was a pounding on the door and six men marched in, switched on the light and immediately took up various positions about the room, obviously agreed upon beforehand. They then searched both rooms (there was a bathroom attached) with inconceivable thoroughness. They sounded the walls, took up the mats, examined the floor, felt the curtains, probed under the bath and the radiator, emptied every drawer and suitcase and felt every garment and held it up to the light. They impounded all papers, including the contents of the waste-paper basket, and all our books into the bargain...In one drawer there was a number of packets of cigarette papers. They picked each packet to pieces and examined each paper separately, in case there should be messages written on them. Altogether they were on the job for nearly two hours. Yet all this time they never searched the bed. My wife was lying in bed all the while; obviously there might have been half a dozen sub-machine guns under the mattress, not to mention a library of Trotskyist documents under the pillow. Yet the detectives made no move to touch the bed, never even looked underneath it...This part of the job was silently dropped, making the whole search meaningless."

Parnassian contrast

Comparative weakness in something which is predominantly strong or of high quality. The name comes from the discussion of Parnassian elements in poetry in the letter of Gerard Manley Hopkins to A W M Baillie, September 10, 1864. I would claim as an example of Parnassian contrast from Beethoven's string quartets (surely an instance of supreme achievement in art) the coda from the Quartet in F minor Opus 95. Basil Lam, a very impressive commentator on Beethoven's music, describes the coda as "a comic-opera coda, absurdly and deliberately unrelated to this 'quartet serioso.'" The contrast is real, but unfortunately, I would claim, there is a contrast of quality as well as tone, and Lam's comment that the coda provides "the Shakespearian touch that provides the final confirmation of the truth of the rest" seems to me to be baseless. As another example from the Beethoven quartets, I would claim that the celebrated Cavatina from the Quartet in B flat major Opus 130 is Parnassian, a striking example of contrast because it is so deeply felt and at the same time relatively (and only relatively) poorer as music. Using a linkage schema to show the contrast,

[depth of feeling] ( ) [artistic quality]

Examples of Parnassian contrast from Hopkins' own work are easy to find. In this case, I refer to Parnassian contrast not within a single work but in a writer's work as a whole. I take the view that when Hopkins is at his most distinctive, most 'angular,' then the poetry is (relatively, and only relatively) unsuccessful. I agree with F R Leavis, in 'The Common Pursuit' that "his supreme triumphs...are the last sonnets ... These, in their achieved 'smoother style', triumphantly justify the oddest extravagances of his experimenting."

Philosophy and linkage

If such enquiries as Physics, Chemistry, Psychology and Mathematics are first-order enquiries, Philosophy is describable as a second-order enquiry. If first-order philosophical enquiry is regarded as including subjects such as epistemology, ontology and ethics, then the higher order enquiry is metaphilosophy. In the same way, there are such meta-enquiries as metalogic and metamathematics. I regard Linkage theory as treating its objects of study, the object-enquiries, as para-enquiries. Para-enquiries as ones in which as a starting point all object-enquiries are regarded 'as if' they were of the same order. (Using 'as if' in one of the ways described in Vaihinger's 'Die Philosophie des Als Ob,' 'The 'The Philosophy of "As if."') So, the analysis of a heterolinkage in the philosophy of mind and in Organic Chemistry involves similar, but not the same, concepts.

I regard Semiotics as another example of a field which studies para-enquiries. In the introduction to 'A theory of Semiotics' Umberto Eco describes the scope of Semiotics, including musical codes, formalized languages from algebra to chemistry, natural languages, visual communication, aesthetic texts and mass communication. However, Linkage theory is a much broader field than Semiotics. Semiotics can be regarded as the study of a particular group of linkages.

I hope that Linkage theory will play an important part in changing the nature of philosophical enquiry, in accordance with the view expressed by John Cottingham, in the General Introduction to Descartes, 'Meditations on First Philosophy' (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy): " is plausible to think that the anti-Cartesian thrust of contemporary philosophizing is destined, in some areas at least, to overreach itself. As far as Descartes' general conception of philosophy is concerned, philosophers nowadays live in a cautiously specialized world which is wary of grand systems; but just as the dominant Scholasticism prior to Descartes ran out of energy, so it is conceivable that today's compartmentalized approach to philosophy may lose its appeal, and give way to a faintly recognisable successor to the Cartesian vision of a comprehensive philosophy that strives to integrate the disparate areas of human cognition."

A Cartesian who is engaged in Reconstruction after Skepticism is able to employ contrast and linkage: a generalization of the procedure of intuitionist mathematics. The entry for 'mathematical intuitionism' in 'The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy,' Second Edition, describes mathematical intuitionism as a development 'that reconstructs mathematics in accordance with an epistemological idealism and a Kantian metaphysics...According to Brouwer, [the founder of mathematical intuitionism] the simplest mathematical act is to distinguish between two diverse elements in the flow of consciousness.[ie to establish a contrast, in the terminology of Linkage theory] By repeating and concatenating such acts [concatenation is a form of linkage] we generate each of the natural numbers, the standard arithmetical operations, and thus the rational numbers with their operations as well." The square brackets are mine. The difficulty that "these simple, terminating processes cannot produce the convergent infinite sequences of rational numbers that are needed to generate the continuum (the non-denumerable set of real numbers, or of points on the line)" was eventually addressed by Brouwer with the concept of an infinite choice sequence. He proved that "every function that is fully defined over an interval of real numbers is uniformly corollary of this theorem is that the set of real numbers cannot be divided into mutually exclusive subsets, a property that rigorously recovers the Aristotelian picture of the continuum." There is the contrast here between exclusive contrast and continuum contrast.

Primary and secondary elements

An element is secondary if it is derived from the primary element in some way. A few examples:

A poem by Rilke in German is the primary element. A translation into English is a secondary element.

A painting by Vermeer is primary, the reproduction is secondary.

The criterion of derivability may not be easy to apply in all cases but very often it is straightforward enough. By using the criterion, it's more likely that gross errors can be avoided, errors which it should be perfectly easy to avoid but which are often overlooked or excused. An error of this kind is to treat a reproduction of a painting in a book or on a computer screen as a satisfactory equivalent for the actual painting. Works created for the computer are a different matter, of course.

Prior linkages

Prior linkages are more fundamental and more important linkages than non-prior linkages. Whether a linkage is regarded as prior or not depends upon weighting. In human affairs, I give particular weighting to human goodness and intellect, in general, to 'excellence' (an inadequate term) in character or mind. These have priority if other linkages, such as gender, seem to have other claims. For example, the linkage between Sophie Scholl, the 'White Rose' resister during the Third Reich, and Kurt Huber, or her brother Hans Scholl, were prior to the linkage between Sophie Scholl and, by way of example, the wife of Dr Goebbels, as women, or the linkage between Kurt Huber and Hans Scholl on the one hand and Dr Goebbels, as men.

The account here is given in the sober terms appropriate to the discussion of Linkage theory, but the humanity and courage, the human goodness, of the resisters is uppermost in my mind. I quote from the account given in William L Shirer's 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:'

'The University of Munich, the city that had given birth to Nazism, became the hotbed of student revolt. It was led by a twenty-five year-old medical student, Hans Scholl, and his twenty-one-year-old sister Sophie, who was studying biology. Their mentor was Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy. By means of what became known as the 'White Rose Letters' they carried out their anti-Nazi propaganda in other universities; they were also in touch with the plotters in Berlin.'

'...the students, led by the Scholls, began to distribute pamphlets calling on German youth to rise. On February 19 a building superintendent observed Hans and Sophie Scholl hurling their leaflets from the balcony of the university and betrayed them to the Gestapo.'

'Their end was quick and barbaric. Haled before the dreaded People's Court, which was presided over by its president, Roland Freisler...they were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. Sophie Scholl was handled so roughly during her interrogation by the Gestapo that she appeared in court with a broken leg. But her spirit was undimmed. To Freisler's savage browbeating she answered calmly, 'You know as well as we do that the war is lost. Why are you so cowardly that you won't admit it?'

She hobbled on her crutches to the scaffold and died with sublime courage, as did her brother. Professor Huber and several other students were executed a few days later.'

Redeeming contrast

Where there is some strength to be found in something which is comparatively weak.


Changing a view, its linkages and contrasts, in order to accommodate some new development. For example, someone may become convinced that there is no God, perhaps as a result of reading Nietzsche's account of the death of God, by thinking about the implications of evolution, or by considering the implications of the problem of evil. His or her world will now need to be redrawn. An idyllic and beautiful country church is now seen in a different way. Probably, it will continue to seem idyllic and beautiful, but there is now tension between these qualities and others. This redrawing may be accompanied by a large number of linked insights.

Such a redrawing as this has been widely recognized. Far less widely recognized is the need for redrawing as a result of the humanitarian movement, or more accurately, the various humanitarian movements. I argue that some thinkers and writers have been increased in stature as a result and some have been diminished. One writer who is very much increased in stature is Cesare Beccaria (1738 - 1794) the author of Dei delitti e delle pene, which exercised such an enormous influence for the good on the brutal penal systems of Europe and beyond - but had no influence, or negligible influence, on the brutal penal systems of England at the time. Victor Hugo's and Albert Camus' writings on capital punishment, in which they made clear their detestation of capital punishment, are also noteworthy. Quite apart from their literary achievement, their contribution to this particular humanitarian movement

Hemingway's stature has not been lessened as a result of the growth of humanitarian feeling but should be lessened. (We don't have to wait until a trend emerges which lessens his stature, we can be more active than this.) His prose style remains as distinct and distinguished as before but his accounts of the spearing of dolphins, shooting 'big game,' the gouging out of a bull's eyes, the disembowelling of horses in the bull ring, and of the bulls thrashing around in agony when, as is usual, they aren't killed immediately should cause revulsion.

Reduction of contrast and increase in contrast

In the process of diversification, increase in contrast is often beneficial, the result of striving for new possibilities. However, reduction of contrast is desirable in many cases. A world with a greater degree of contrast is not to be preferred to a world with less contrast in every case. A teeming city with the rich flaunting their wealth and starving beggars at their gate is not preferable to a city which does not have these gross inequalities. Contrast-reduction cannot be mechanical. Evaluation, which in Linkage theory is applied wherever possible and necessary - in other words, to the maximum possible extent - is needed here. Some examples of reduction of contrast:

(1) In this country, as in others, rural distinctiveness is threatened by the proliferation of out-of-town shopping centres, by advertizing bill-boards along roads, by litter, by light pollution, and other things. This is a reduction of contrast which is an unqualified loss.

(2) Mobile phones can be considered as reducing contrast in a way that can be evaluated as harmful. They reduce local distinctiveness. Italians in Saint Mark's Square, Venice, Londoners in Trafalgar Square and Poles in Krakow are more similar to each other than they would be otherwise - mobile phones accentuate these linkages.


More often than not, when evaluation is carried out, the context is not made clear. A ((survey)) which is complete, ((((survey)) items)) , would include, for the evaluation of novels and the evaluation of different human characteristics, an enormously wide span, from 'supreme' to 'lacking any merits at all.'

In review sections of newspapers, it's common for novels which have recently been published, like film and theatre performances and other things evaluated by the newspaper's critics, to be given stars. If a novel is given 5 stars, the maximum, then what is meant by this isn't usually that the novel is a 'supreme' example. The basis for evaluation is usually more modest than that. To go from a higher level to this more modest level is an instance of re-scaling.


Restating a statement using the terms and notation of Linkage theory and Thematic theory. For example, the statement of Roberto Simanowski, '...concrete poetry seems to be useless in terms of political interventions' (here he's not necessarily stating his own view but putting forward an influential view can be restated in terms of {modification}of political interventions, P: ~ P

The term has wider applicability, as when various sentences are restated to give the same philosophical proposition.

Scaling - primary, secondary and tertiary

use the sub-terms primary scaling, secondary scaling and tertiary scaling, but although there is a linkage with primary education, secondary education and tertiary education, the linkage is a restricted one: a primary linkage is not the kind of linkage that a child at the primary level of education should be expected to understand. Primary linkages are basic and fundamental and are not superseded by later knowledge and insights. In ethics, the recognition that genocide is the worst of crimes would be an example. The ethical examples which involve secondary and tertiary scaling are not nearly so 'serious,' and the practice of scaling should serve to protect against grossly disproportionate responses, so that a person is as outraged by smoking in public places as by genocide. (However, it is essential to consider the contrast between 'near' and 'distant' issues. 'Near issues' include ones which concern us personally, and about which we can sometimes take action.

To say that tertiary scaling is concerned with nuances would not do justice to the concept. Growth in knowledge, in insight and experience, should make a person less easily satisfied and more able to detect contrasts. Someone may become interested in classical music. It may be quite some time before they can distinguish between a great performance of a symphony and one which is ruined by momentary hesitations on the part of the conductor, lessening the impact of the music, or one which is marred by relatively poor tone production by some of the woodwind. Innumerable examples could be given from other fields.

Someone who has developed the kind of musical sensitivity which is an aspect of tertiary scaling may at the same time have gross insensitivity towards other people, or may be a political innocent, who cannot detect even the most obvious political attempts at manipulation: tertiary scaling is not one thing.

Semi-precise linkage

A linkage which apparently gives a precise specification but where the elements cannot be measured with precision, for example the temperatures of isotherms, the pressures of isobars.

Separate worlds

Worlds which exhibit very strong contrast. Separate worlds are linked by the fact that they are part of our one world, but the linkages are tenuous. Compare Wittgenstein: 'The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.' (Tractatus 6.43)


I discuss ((survey))s, their importance and the notation I use on the page Surveys.


Tension occurs when the elements which are contrasted are comparable in force.

One example of tension is a moral dilemma: a situation where an agent has a requirement to to carry out each of two acts but cannot do both. A well-known example is the case of the student described by Sartre who morally ought to care for his mother in Paris but at the same time morally ought to go to England to join the Free French and fight the Nazis. The elements which are contrasted are the two requirements.

Tension may occur when the intrinsic rightness or wrongness of the act clashes with the consequences of the act, and there may be tension between a deontological view and a utilitarian view.

Tension is perceived most forcefully when the elements are brought into close contrast and there is clashing. A person may seize upon one aspect and state it forcefully. Another person may seize upon a contradictory aspect and state it forcefully. The two views may need to be brought by others into close contrast. In such a case, each of the two is expressing a low-tension view. When a view is stated and later an opposing view is stated, then the process is obviously dialectical. Using the distinction between synchrony and diachrony of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, I would refer to this dialectical process in time as 'diachronic dialectics.' A thinker who can state very different views at the same time is using synchronic dialectics. Synchronic dialectics is a high-tension view.


A {theme} can be regarded as an organizing principle but is far more than that. This thematic approach is ambitious - an attempt to remap knowledge, as well as the arguments and opinions which don't amount to knowledge. {themes} very often include the most diverse items. The items are linked in the {theme} and I claim that the linkage isn't 'loose,' but 'real.' To be more exact, there is homoiolinkage not heterolinkage. *

Often, then, knowledge, and the arguments and opinions which don't amount to knowledge, are included in the same {theme}. I often include in a {theme} scientific and evaluative elements. The elements which are linked in a {theme} are contrasting, and the contrasts are sometimes very marked. A priori and a posteriori examples may belong to the same {theme}. I argue that addition in number belongs to the same {theme} as increase in biomass. This is a radical claim.

The name of a {theme} is given in curly brackets, for example {distortion}, a {theme} which includes as sub-{themes} {distortion in optics} and the evaluative distortion produced, I claim, when a person's estimate of someone else is affected by focussing attention, not on the core personality, but on, for example, smoking. {resolution} or {resolving power} again has an optical sub-{theme}, measuring the ability of an optical instrument to form separable images of close objects, and an evaluative sub-{theme}, for example, the ability to distinguish real and apparent goodness.

Whereas {resolving power} is an example here of a root {theme}, {/optical resolving power} is an example of a sub-{theme}. I use the term{{theme}} has {/sub{theme}} but the order is immaterial: {/sub{theme}} has {{theme}} has the same meaning. The stroke identifies the sub-{theme}.

A sub-{theme} may in turn have sub-{themes}, which are written as {//sub-{theme}}

When the sub-{theme} is the focus of attention, and not at all the root {theme}, then the sub-{theme} is regarded as a root {theme} and the stroke is omitted.

Examples of a {theme} or sub-{theme} are instances and can be given in a list. Whereas an attempt can be made to make a ((survey)) exhaustive, as complete as possible, this is rarely the case with a list. A list is almost always incomplete, a selection.

{themes} have a sphere of application, shown by a colon - {{theme}}: sphere of application. Alternatively, a slightly less concise notation, {{theme}} has: sphere of application. If a sphere of application is not applicable, then this is shown by two colons. {{theme}}:: sphere of application.

Other instances of one {theme} having another {theme} within its sphere of application:

{restriction} is regarded as not inherently changing. It does not include, as it is, progressive restriction, for example. However, {modification} has: {restriction}. {modification} has {increase} and {decrease}, both of which have: {restriction}. Further, {diversification} has {/{{decrease}:-{restriction}}} This illustrates more complex use of bracketing.

There are two thematic modes: free and bound. (These have no connection with the use of 'free' and 'bound' to refer to variables within the scope of a universal or existential quantifier.) I refer to the free mode as one in which an agent is apparently free to implement a {theme}, for example lifting up a hand, or arranging the independent variable in a scientific experiment. I very much believe myself that free will exists, but use of the term is compatible with a deterministic viewpoint - the agent is not actually free. In the bound mode, the {theme} isn't implemented by the agent, for example, a change in dependent variables in a scientific experiment. For a mathematical example, consider the simple equation a + b = c If the agent decides to move b to the other side of the equation, to give the equation a = c - b, then {/movement}, which has {modification} is in free mode and the change of sign is in bound mode.

I use the terms 'free' and 'bound' more widely than in connection with {themes}. For example, 'directed reading' is bound. Paul Duro, in 'Containment and Transgression,' an essay in the volume edited by him, 'The Rhetoric of the Frame,' writes, of instances where "...the idea of the frame (if not its literal presence) is necessary to maintain a directed reading of the image."

Very many {themes} have an evaluative interpretation, as well as non-evaluative interpretations. Often, evaluations are difficult or disputed. There are evaluative claims. Wherever necessary, {resolution} is used to make a clear-cut evaluation possible. ev+ is appended to a {theme} for positive evaluation and ev- is appended to a {theme} for a negative evaluation. I think that again and again, this form of interpretation leads to useful results - or useful claims.

As an example of evaluative interpretation, consider a sub-{theme} of {modification}, which of course is a very comprehensive {theme} indeed: {instituting reforms} This may be {instituting reforms}ev+ or {instituting reforms}ev- The Australian philosopher David Stove claimed that more often than not, reforms were inadvisable, not to be recommended. There were many more ways to ruin an institution, a political system, or whatever, than to improve it. Conservative thinkers and others often advocate {reversal} in these cases. I believe that David Stove was mechanical in his general opposition to reform, not stressing nearly enough the need for judgement.

Thematic and other symbols and their use

Some {themes} can be shown symbolically. I use

for {modification}In symbolic notation 'to modify.' (The use of capital delta is suggested by its use in science for 'change of,' as in 'change of enthalpy.)
// for {separation}In symbolic notation 'to separate.' This symbol will not be confused with the symbol to indicate a sub-{theme} of a sub-{theme}, since in this case // appears immediately after { So, {/sub{theme} X} has {//Y}.
== for {restriction}. In symbolic notation 'to restrict.'

These, and other {themes}, may be used together with established connectives of symbolic logic and the symbols of modal logic:

for 'possibility.' (It's necessary to give its sphere of application. and its sense, such as logically possible or contingently possible.)
Conjunction: 'and.'
Disjunction: 'or.'
~ Negation.
The conditional: 'if...then.'

Examples of their use:

P 'to modify P,' {modification} of P. The thematic symbol is written before the variable, except in the case of //, written between the variables to be separated.

P // Q 'to separate P and Q.'

P // Q // R 'to separate P, Q and R'

P // Q 'possible to separate P and Q ' or 'P and Q are separable.'

~ P 'not possible to modify P,' or 'P is not modifiable.'

== P == Q 'to restrict P is to restrict Q.' If P is restricted then Q is restricted.

( P Q) 'it's not possible to modify P and also to modify Q.'

P // Q R // S 'if it's possible to separate P and Q then it's possible to separate R and S.'

This notation is intended simply as a concise formulation of thematic linkages and contrasts. The notation doesn't extend formal logic.

{themes} can be applied to other {{themes}}, to [entities, inside content brackets], to <linkages>

*Kant's 'homogeneous' in this extract from the Critique of Pure Reason is included in my 'homoiolinked: 'In all subsumptions of an object under a concept the representations of the former must be homogeneous with the latter, i.e. the concept must contain that which is represented in the object that is to be subsumed under it, for that is just what is meant by the expression "an object is subsumed under a concept." Thus the empirical concept of a plate has homogeneity with the pure geometrical concept of a circle, for the roundness that is thought in the former can be intuited in the latter.' (The Transcendental Doctrine of the Power of Judgment (or Analytic of Principles), First Chapter, On the schematism of the pure concepts of the understanding. Tranlation of Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood.)

In the linkage schema [A] <> [B] 'A' is shown as linked with 'B.' [ ] are the contents brackets and <> are the linkage brackets. If these are reversed, >< then 'A' is not linked with B.

The contents of the linkage brackets are ontologically general but will be restricted, the restrictions being determined by ontological views and arguments. For example, they may be restricted to the common-sense physical objects of the world, such as tables and chairs. The contents of the content-brackets then restrict the contents of the linkage brackets. For example, the schema [table] <gravitational attraction> [table] is possible, but not [table] <numerical succession> [table].

The contents of the contents brackets may be restricted to the common-sense physical objects of the world and to common-sense mental particulars. There are other metaphysical views which would give widely differing contents: the forms of Plato, the possible non-existents of Meinong, the monads of Leibniz, for example. There are simple and composite contents, atomic and molecular contents.


I use {substitution} most often in connection with evaluation. {substitution} is often evasion and misplaced emphasis: the human tendency to settle for the easier and simpler, but often {substitution} is carried out for idealistic reasons, for creditable reasons. Even so, to evaluate should involve examining and estimating the thing-itself - the primary level - not matters which surely belong to the secondary level. I include in the secondary level matters which vary very much in importance, ones which are important as well as ones which are negligible.


To give examples from Physics, James Clerk Maxwell was able to formulate equations which linked the previously separate phenomena of electricity and magnetism: the electromagnetic theory. In the last decades of his life, Einstein tried, unsuccessfully, to arrive at a theory which would link gravitation and electromagnetic phenomena, the Unified Field theory.


In mathematics, a notable example was the forming of a linkage between algebra and geometry, when Descartes realized that by using his coordinate system, points in space could be defined in terms of an ordered system of two numbers.

These were successful or attempted linkages between elements of relatively close span. Linkage theory also concerns wider spans.


The meaning of this term has a linkage with 'volume of sales' and 'loudness.' The best-selling is not necessarily the best. Stressing volume is assuming a linkage. As a botanical illustration, nettles and dandelions are very common plants - they have volume - but this does not mean that the far rarer plants, which may be known only to a minority, are of negligible importance.


A few general remarks to begin with, followed by a number of concrete examples. In statistics, weighting is a technique used to represent the relative importance of different items. In Linkage theory, weighting is a declaration of the relative importance of contrasting elements. Weighting is an instance of {ordering}. What is weighted is given prior-ordering. Weighting can be applied to issues and to values: issue-weighting and value-weighting. The values are fundamental, and influence the weighting of issues. I would claim that the values which should be given greatest weighting include human goodness, the attempt to reduce intense human (and animal suffering), intellectual achievement and I'd also claim that many common value-weightings are inflated: not unimportant, but of secondary importance.

Isolation is exclusive weighting: a complete failure to carry out a ((survey)).

I give some examples of weighting, chosen to illustrate their great variety. I claim that weighting is not purely subjective but is subject to evaluation. Some weightings are flawed, grotesque, inadequate.

(1) In a country where infectious disease is not a major cause of mortality, the most effective public health measure which can be taken is to drastically reduce smoking in the population. It's understandable if people whose job it is to attack smoking, public health professionals, and many others, give high weighting to the need to reduce smoking. As soon as we take a wider perspective, however, we can see that it does not even have even minor importance. Staying alive for longer cannot possibly have greater weighting, or equal weighting, or anything like the same weighting, as human goodness or skill or intellect, when we come to judge a person. We cannot possibly give higher weighting to an abstemious, non-smoking Nazi than to a smoking, heroic resistant, or higher weighting to a non-smoking mediocrity than to a towering intellect who happens to smoke. It may be in the future that almost all the people with goodness, who have great skill or have a great intellect, will be non-smokers, but any who are still smokers will not be reduced below the level of the mediocre non-smokers. Some of the posters which anti-smoking organizations produce are offensive in the extreme, treating smokers as pariahs, as almost unfit for civilized society - a grotesque distortion. (I, personally, have never smoked, not even once.)

(2) Varieties of vegetable and fruit show separation. Of the various characteristics which are revealed by a thorough ((survey)), such as flavour, shelf-life, ability to withstand transportation over long distances on the one hand and flavour and the minimizing of environmental damage on the other, it's obvious that poor supermarkets give particular weighting to the first three characteristics. Of the senses, it's the sense of taste which is particularly important for vegetables and fruit, so to give a lower weighting to taste than to appearance is grotesque.

(3) Of the senses, it's the sense of hearing which is particularly important in the case of music, so to give as much weighting, or more weighting, to the appearance of the performer is grotesque. In this country, it increasingly seems that only very decorative, beautiful or handsome performers can possibly hope to have a career in classical music, ignoring the possibility that there may be {separation}, and that the performers who are the most attractive are not necessarily the ones who can play or sing with the greatest beauty of tone, or with the greatest expression, or with the most insight into the music, or with the highest degree of spirituality.

(4) To give most weighting to the cost of an item which is bought is very common but indefensible, unless the person is completely impoverished. Buying fair-trade tea, coffee and other goods is a recognition of the alternative, moral weighting. Buying battery chicken eggs rather than free-range eggs is to give higher weighting to the avoidance of cruelty than to cost. Of the senses, it's the sense of taste which is particularly important for food, but this weighting of taste may be outweighed by other considerations, such as the avoidance of cruelty. I'm ready to believe that foie gras has a delicious taste (I've no personal experience at all) but the cruelty which is involved in producing it should surely make it unacceptable to anyone with humanity: an illustration of the need to evaluate each and every instance, of the need to avoid a mechanical response.

(5) Vegans give particular weighting to animal welfare in their attitude to food. They point out, correctly, that to produce milk, cheese, dairy products in general, a cow or other animal has to be made pregnant and to give birth to young, which will be taken away so that the milk is not used for the benefit of the young but to produce dairy products. The young are surplus to requirements, then, and they generally end up in the slaughterhouse. This weighting leads to great difficulties, it can be claimed. Instead of butter, a product of cruelty, or so it is claimed, there is recourse to vegan margarine, which to most people is drastically inferior to butter in taste. If this is agreed, there is still the objection that vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient and that the vitamin is only found in the animal products which vegans reject. It does seem as if nature, very inconveniently, refuses to accept the benefits of vegan nutrition. (I would claim that this is the case.) Whatever the strengths of the vegan attitude to animal welfare, vegans generally fail to carry out a ((survey)) and so they generally ignore all the other factors which it's necessary to take into account in an undistorted account of food. One is the matter of food miles. Vegans very often rely heavily upon soya products. In this country, the soya products used to make the substitutes for animal products are imported over a great distance, with environmental costs which are rarely recognized by vegans.

(7) Apologists for bullfighting will give particular weighting to such matters as artistry - the artistic spectacle of the bullfight - and courage, the courage of the matador and others, including the courage of the bull. (Opponents of the bullfight sometimes try to evade dispersion by alignment, eliminating tension by denying the bullfighters any virtues at all: so, the matador is sometimes described as a coward, and there may be misleading use of the facts and figures which do show that death in the ring - for humans - is rare, ignoring the injuries which are far from rare and which only the very brave would willingly face.)

Hemingway, in 'Death in the Afternoon' gives no weighting at all to the suffering of the horses which are used in the Spanish bullfight, suffering which has not been eliminated at all by the use of 'protection.' To Hemingway, their disembowelling, goring and terror are comic rather than tragic. I, on the other hand, give particular weighting to the suffering of horses in the bull-ring. Humanity's debt to horses is incalculable. Before the age of machines, humanity was almost completely dependent on horses for long-distance transportation and the heaviest work on the land. Even now, there are many parts of the world where this continues to be true. In war, horses have suffered alongside people, in vast numbers, up to the time of the Second World War, which was far from complete mechanization. Untold numbers of horses lay dead or injured after strafing or artillery bombardment. To subject this species, which should have a privileged place in human affections, to the cruelties of the bullring, seems to me to be beyond the pale.

Whatever may be the virtues which bullfighting cultivates, there are so many alternatives that bullfighting is reduced to insignificance Mountaineering is a far more potent example of human courage than bullfighting - the mortality rate in Himalayan mountaineering approaches one in ten, many times higher than in bullfighting. Its artistry may be real but is surely very limited: there are incomparably more intense and more interesting examples of artistry.

(8) From time to time, misguided people announce the 'best' place to live. All these announcements are based on weightings which can easily be questioned. In one of these 'official' rankings, Norway was given first place. A weighting based on freedom from crime, social harmony, social welfare, low pollution, may well produce this ranking. I, myself, give high ranking to all these things, as well as to cold, snowy winters, which are also a feature of Norway, but there are other weightings which would leave Norway trailing.

(9) A cultural critic or cultural historian may not need to take account of engineering and its practical benefits, but a ((survey)) has to take account of this field and to give it its proper weighting. Welding, nuts and bolts, pipe-work, measuring instruments, all the other practical and theoretical aspects of engineering are needed to ensure that drinking water and sewage continue to flow, without being mixed. They are needed, too, for hospitals to be built and to operate. An existence which is not at the mercy of primitive threats to life depends upon technology, upon the conquest of nature. It's delusion to pretend otherwise.

(10) Even in science, there is weighting. We may give greater weighting to particles, in order, for example, to explain the photo-electric effect, or greater weighting to waves, in order, for example, to explain diffraction.

(11) I give great weighting to the absence of the death penalty in a jurisdiction. The writer and journalist Philip Hensher, whose writings are very varied but who has practically never mentioned the death penalty, has written, even so, that he won't visit the United States, because it retains the death penalty. I'm in full agreement. If a country is fascinating, important, rich in natural beauty and human interest, but retains the death penalty - if there are people waiting to be put to death - then this, for me, is an overwhelming reason for not living there, or not visiting the country. This is one of the consequences of this particular weighting, but there are many others, these being only a very few: a diminished respect for the post-war labour party, which despite all its important reforms retained the death penalty, an enhanced respect for countries which abolished the death penalty a very long time ago, diminished respect for Wittgenstein, who, despite all his moral agonizing never thought to address the issue, an enhanced respect for Arthur Koestler, a very flawed man who nevertheless vigorously opposed the death penalty.

(12) I regard my response to the death penalty to be proportionate and not at all excessive (it's based upon very extensive knowledge of the field and involvement in the field.) If anyone thinks otherwise, what weighting is to be attached to the kinds of protracted, deliberately prolonged and deliberately painful executions which were once common? One example, but an extreme example, is the execution of Damien in Paris in the middle of the eighteenth century.Are not executions of this barbarity to be put into the scales when we consider the achievements of a civilization? They are, surely, and given a very great deal of weight. The fact that these barbaric executions are not practised today in most countries has surely to be given great weighting. Those who disregard these facts have not ((survey))ed at all adequately, in my evaluation.

(13) Stylistic excellence is something which may easily be given undue weighting and which may lead to distortion. Stylistic excellence can never be the only factor to be evaluated and a ((survey)) will find many others. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason has been described as stylistically poor. At the least, the style is unremarkable. The analysis which Kant offers, however, is truly remarkable and its value is unaffected by the style. Even in literary works, particularly prose works, style should not be over-weighted. Dostoevsky's style can also be described as poor, or at least unremarkable, but if greater weighting is given, as it should be, to his psychological penetration and to other strengths, then he has to be regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists. The 'other strengths' include the 'polyphonic' attributes which Mikhail Bakhtin describes in 'Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics,' a valuable addition to any ((survey)) of Dostoevsky. It may be that the high reputation of the American critic Randall Jarrell is undeserved to some extent. His prose style is often outstanding but, as Dan Schneider points out, he lacked some of the attributes of a great critic, such as the ability to read closely and to attend to the writer he's considering, rather than to display his own qualities.

(14) Very often, people will necessarily - will very willingly choose to - give particular weighting to the wishes and needs and welfare of relatives and friends, rather than to those of people who are not relatives or friends, who are not known to them personally. Anyone who gives no weighting at all to those of people they do not know is morally at fault. Similarly, to give weighting only to the needs of members of our species and to give no weighting at all to any members of other species is to ignore an important moral advance: to do so is to be morally at fault. It's necessary to practise limitation in showing exclusive concern for those nearest to us.







For information about these {themes},
click on the link:

{adjustment} Â
{contrast} ( )
{distance} D
{linkage} < >
{ordering} Ô
{resolution} ®
{restriction} ==
{reversal} «
{separation} //
{substitution} S

In the list, the name of each {theme} is followed by the symbol for the {theme}. Each {theme} is highlighted. Clicking on the {theme} gives access to a page which gives instances of the {theme}. These instances show something of the range of {theme} theory, which includes the most diverse areas of human experience and knowledge.


Obverse linkages
Opposites linkage
Orwell's search
Parnassian contrast
Philosophy and linkage
Primary and secondary elements
Prior linkages
Redeeming contrast
Reduction of contrast
Scaling - primary, secondary and tertiary
Separate worlds
Semi-precise linkage

Other glossaries:

Glossary: poetry
Glossary: Large Page Design