THERE – Theory and Empiricism of Religious Evolution: Foundation of a Research Program

7. The Mutual Transcription of Metaphors in the Fields of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Cultural Studies

“Rosen limits the class of functors to hardware, and that of functions to software. This appears to be unnecessarily restrictive. Within the context of conventional computing, functors may be either hardware (as physical arrangements of gates) or software (as, e.g., virtual machines). Consequently, hardware or software may generate software (in Rosen’s terms). However, hardware is always generated by hardware, and never directly by software. The vital difference between inorganic machines and organisms is that organisms are capable in some way of generating hardware from software” (Cottam, Ranson, and Vounckx 2007, 2358–2359). In line with Howard Pattee (2007) it must be emphasized that the distinction between ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ (i.e. between physical and symbolic processes), is not an ontological dualism, but an epistemological difference. Between the components of this distinction, one must look for analogies and correspondences—however, within certain confines: “It is illegitimate to push the analogies beyond the limited sphere in which they are valid” (Prodi 1988, 241). Social system formation determines the boundaries with the help of internal differentiation.

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