|Order, philosophy: order is the division of a subject area by distinctions or the highlighting of certain differences as opposed to other differences. The resulting order can be one-dimensional or multi-dimensional, i.e. linear or spatial. Examples are family trees, lexicons, lists, alphabets. It may be that only an order makes certain characteristics visible, e.g. contour lines. Ordering spaces may be more than three-dimensional, e.g. in the attribution of temperatures to color-determined objects. See also conceptual space, hierarchies, distinctness, indistinguishability, stratification, identification, individuation, specification.|
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|Foucault I, 85ff
Order/Descartes/Foucault: I recognize the order between A and B by looking at nothing else than the end-point on both sides. It is impossible to recognize the order of things "in their essentials in detail," but by discovering the simplest being, and after it the next being and the next.
The comparison, on the other hand, requires, first of all, a division with the help of a measure, then the application of a common unity.
Order: Comparison and measure form the same thing here: progress without interruption.
This produces series whose first point is a being of which one can have an attitude independently of any other and where the other point is created with growing differences.
The distinction of identity and difference dissolves similarity.
The absolute character, which is attributed to what is simple, does not concern the being of things, but only the way in which they can be recognized.
New: The comparison only has the role to reveal the order of the world.
Old view: The game of similarity used to be unlimited. It was always possible to discover new similarities.
New: Now a finite list will become possible.
The activity of the mind will no longer consist in separating things, but rather to distinguish, i.e. determine identities and then the need for the transition to all degrees that are moving away from it.
The last consequence, since recognizing means distinguishing: history and science are separated.
Descartes: even if we had read all the arguments of Plato and Aristotle, we would apparently not have learned science, but history.
Foucault: The language withdraws from the midst of beings to enter its era of transparency and neutrality.
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