Quantitative and Qualitative Multiplicities

Communication: Reflections on Niklas Luhmann's Social Systems Theory

I’ve written previously about spatial and temporal integration. Luhmann argued that in modern society temporal integration becomes more powerful than spatial integration. Here is an excerpt from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Bergson. It illustrates the concept of quantitative multiplicity:

When we look at a flock of sheep, what we notice is that they all look alike. We sense no qualitative change as we move from one to another. We also notice that we can enumerate the sheep. We are able to enumerate them because each sheep is spatially separated from or juxtaposed to the others; in other words, each occupies a discernable spatial location. Therefore, quantitative multiplicities, as Bergson says, are homogeneous and spatial. Moreover, because a quantitative multiplicity is homogeneous, we can represent it with a symbol, for instance, a sum: ‘25’.

This is basically a spatial orientation, where objects observed as belonging to the same…

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