Move up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction

#strategy2 mentions

Since we want to Move up and down in the system hierarchy, a useful Strategy is to build epistemic connections between very abstract and very concrete Models, i.e. an easy-to-climb ladder of abstraction.

At the ends of this ladder, we do different things:Manual DeLanda’s reconceptualisation and use of Deleuze’s ontology (DeLanda 2002) is an example for such a strategy: an abstraction of the general ideas behind the most advanced scientific thinking that informs very concrete, materialist analyses and explanations.

Scale-free Abstractions help us on all the steps of the ladder and thus also reduce the cognitive cost of switching between them.

In addition to levels of description, there is a more fundamental difference between certain steps on the ladder: There are models of varying scope and generality on the different object-levels – and then there is the meta-level of theoretical reflection, on which, e.g., this note or Conceptual Engineering are operating. This reflection informs and critiques the work on the lower levels and should act as a constant check on it.

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