Monthly Archives: June 2022

Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy

It is worth mentioning a form of dialectical monism in the ancient Aztec philosophy and especially in the concept of ” Teotl “, which is at the center of Aztec metaphysics and cosmology. Teotl is the expression of an endless alternation of continuous and cyclical oscillation between opposite poles. Teotl is thus characterized by a dual prominent structure, which results from the union of opposites , themselves characterized by complementarity. The dual pairs involved include : the masculine and the feminine, dark and light, order and disorder, hot and cold, life and death, being and non-being etc. The interdependence and higher union of the principles of life and death in Teotl, for example, was represented by Aztec artists of Tlatilco and Oaxaca in masks where one half is alive while the other half died, revealing the skull bones.


James Maffie, Aztec Philosophy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Dichotomous analysis applied to paradox resolution

The dichotomous analysis as a methodology that can be used to search for solutions to some paradoxes and philosophical problems, results from the statement of the principle of dialectical indifference. The general idea underlying the dichotomous approach to paradox analysis is that two versions, corresponding to one and the other pole of a given duality, can be untangled within a philosophical paradox. The corresponding approach then is to find a reference class which is associated with the given paradox and the corresponding duality A/Ā, as well as the two resulting variations of the paradox that apply to each pole of this duality.

However, every duality is not well-suited to this approach, as for many dualities, the corresponding version of the paradox remains unchanged, regardless of the duality under consideration. In the dichotomous method, one focuses on finding a reference class and a relevant associated duality, such that the viewpoint of each of its poles actually lead to two structurally different versions of the paradox , or the disappearance of paradox from the point of view of one of the poles. Thus, when considering the paradox in terms of two poles A and Ā, and if it has no effect on the paradox itself, the corresponding duality A/Ā reveals itself therefore, from this point of view, irrelevant.


Franceschi, P., “Éléments d’un contextualisme dialectique (in english), in Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel, J. Dutant, G. Fassio & A. Meylan (éd.), Université de Genève, 2014, p. 581-608.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Dialectical monism in Heraclitus

In the antique Western world, dialectical monism appears not much widespread. But we notably find an elaborate form of dialectical monism in Heraclitus. Several fragments of the philosophy of Heraclitus reflect the expression of this unity that results from the joint presence of two dual principles. For example, the Eigth Fragment:

What opposes unites, and the finest attunement stems from things bearing in opposite directions, and all things come about by strife.

and also the Tenth Fragment:

Things grasped together: things whole, things not whole; being brought together, being separated; consonant, dissonant. Out of all things one thing, out of one thing all things.

Here we find the expression of dialectical monism , through the union of opposites . We see how the dialectic proceeds from the union of opposites : the consonant and dissonant . This dialectical approach that underpins the philosophy of Heraclitus is also illustrated in Fragment 51:

They do not understand how, while differing from it is in agreement with itself. There is a back turning connection, like that of a bow or a lyre.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

One-sided viewpoint

When only the pole A (respectively the pole Ā) of a given duality is considered, it consists of a one-sided viewpoint. Things are seen exclusively from the perspective of one pole. It contrasts with the two-sided viewpoint, with takes into account both poles of a given duality.

The consequence of taking only into account one pole is that the other pole is ignored, or disqualified. In cognitive psychology, the resulting cognitive distortion applied to the positive/negative duality is termed ‘disqualifying the positive’.


Franceschi, P., “Une classe de concepts” (in english), Semiotica, vol. 139 (1-4), 2002, pages 211-226.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

One-sidedness bias

The one-sided bias consists in focusing on a given standpoint when considering a given object, and of neglecting the opposite view. In our framework, such fallacious reasoning consists, when considering an object o and the reference class associated with it, of taking into account the viewpoint of the A pole (respectively Ā), while completely ignoring the viewpoint corresponding to its dual pole Ā (respectively A) to define the reference class. We shall term one-sidedness bias such type of fallacy.
The conditions of this type of bias, in violation of the principle of dialectical indifference, needs however to be clarified. Indeed, in this context, we can consider that there are some cases where the two-sidedness with respect to a given duality A/Ā is not required. Such is the case when the elements of the context do not presuppose conditions of objectivity and exhaustiveness of views. Thus, a lawyer who would only emphasise the evidence in defence of his/her client, while completely ignoring the evidence against him/her does not commit the above-mentioned type of error of reasoning. In such a circumstance, in fact, the lawyer would not commit a faulty one-sidedness bias, since it is his/her inherent role. The same would go in a trial for the prosecutor, who conversely, would only focus on the evidence against the same person, by completely ignoring the exculpatory elements. In such a situation also the resulting one-sidedeness bias would not be inappropriate, because it follows well from the context that it consists well of the limited role assigned to the prosecutor. By contrast, a judge who would only take into account the evidence against the accused, or who would commit the opposite error, namely of only considering the exculpatory against the latter, would well commit an inappropriate one-sidedness bias because the mere role of the judge implies that he/she takes into account the two types of elements, and that his/her judgement is the result of the synthesis which is made.


Franceschi, P., “Une classe de concepts” (in english), Semiotica, vol. 139 (1-4), 2002, pages 211-226.

Franceschi, P., “Éléments d’un contextualisme dialectique (in english), in Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel, J. Dutant, G. Fassio & A. Meylan (éd.), Université de Genève, 2014, p. 581-608.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Bistable perception

Bistable perception is a phenomenon caused by a visual stimulus, which generates two different perceptions in the subject who sees it. Bistable perception instances result in particular from:

  • The Necker cube
  • the Rubin’s vase
  • the duck / rabbit illusion

Cases of bistable perception attract the interest because they raise questions about the causes that lead to the bistable phenomenon of perception, but also because there are individual differences in this type of sensitive perception. In particular, the frequency changes or the duration of one of the alternative perceptions vary considerably among individuals. This raises questions about the factors that induce this or that particular response with regard to this phenomenon, in a given individual.

The bistable perception can also be regarded as a special case of multi-stable perception, where only two different views are possible from the same stimulus.

One can also consider the two types of resulting alternative perceptions as two interpretations of the same visual stimulus. The bistable perception most commonly studied are visual ones, but there also exists instances of bistable perception in other sensory modalities: auditory, olfactory, etc.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Requalification into the other pole

The requalification into the other pole is a general type of cognitive distortion. It is characterized by a reasoning which consists in re-qualifying an event belonging to a given duality A, in the other duality Ā.

The requalification into the other pole is part of the general cognitive distortions, as well as the disqualification of one of the poles, the omission of the neutral, the arbitrary focus, the minimization, the maximization.

A characteristic instance of requalification in the other pole consists in the specific cognitive distortion which applies to the class of the events of the subject’s life and to the Positive/Negative duality. This consists typically in re-describing as negative an event which should be objectively considered as positive.

By requalifying positive events in a negative way, the person can reach the conclusion that all events of his/her life are of a negative nature. For instance, by considering the past events of his/her life, the subject notes that he/she made no act of violence. He/she considers this to be “suspect”.

Another instance of requalification in the other pole consists in the specific cognitive distortion which applies to the class of the parts of the person’s body and to the Nice+/Ugly- duality. Typically, the subject re-qualifies as “ugly” a part of his/her body which is objectively “nice”.


Franceschi P., Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives (in english), Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007, 17, 2, 84-88.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Omission of the neutral

The omission of the neutral is a type of general cognitive distortion. It results from the absence, in the patient’s system of taxa, of the neutral taxon. It follows that the elements of the reference class which can objectively be defined as neutral with regard to a given duality A/Ā, are not taken into account by the patient.

The omission of the neutral sometimes plays an important role, notably when there is a gaussian distribution of the elements of the reference class, where the elements objectively corresponding to the neutral taxon are precisely those which are the most numerous.

The omission of the neutral is part of the general cognitive distortions, as well as the disqualification of one of the poles, the requalification in the other pole, the arbitrary focus, the minimization, the maximization.


Franceschi P., Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives (in english), Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007, 17, 2, 84-88.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Dual pole

A dual pole is one of the components of a pair of concepts that make up a given duality. Among the dualities, we can mention: quantitative/qualitative, static/dynamic, external/internal, unique/multiple, etc.
Thus, quantitative, quantitative, static, dynamic,… are dual poles. It should be noted that their nature is neutral, that is, they do not carry a positive or negative connotation. Thus, concepts that have a positive connotation are: audacity, courage, ardor, merit, combativity, etc. Similarly, concepts that have a negative connotation are: cowardice, pessimism, timidity, irresolution, etc.


Franceschi, P. (2002). Une classe de concepts (in english). Semiotica, vol. 139 (1-4), 211-226


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

Duality

Dualities are pairs of concepts that are dual, antinomic. The pairs of concepts, i.e. the dual poles that make up the dualities are concepts that are neutral in nature. They have no positive or negative connotation, unlike concepts like courage or pessimism, which have a positive or negative nature respectively.

Instances of dualities are the following:

  • Internal/External
  • Quantitative/Qualitative
  • Visible/Invisible
  • Absolute/Relative
  • Abstract/Concrete
  • Static/Dynamic
  • Diachronic/Synchronic
  • Single/Multiple
  • Extension/Restriction
  • Aesthetic/Practical
  • Precise/Vague
  • Finite/Infinite
  • Single/compound
  • Individual/Collective
  • Analytical/Synthetic
  • Implicit/Explicit
  • Voluntary/Involuntary


Franceschi, P. (2002). Une classe de concepts (in english). Semiotica, vol. 139 (1-4), 211-226

Franceschi P., Compléments pour une théorie des distorsions cognitives (in english), Journal de Thérapie Comportementale et Cognitive, 2007, 17, 2, 84-88.


Ambiguous images Arbitrary focus Bistable perception Complementarity relationship Conflict resolution Conflict resolution with matrices of concepts Conflict types relating to matrices of concepts Contrary relationship Dialectical contextualism Dialectical monism Dialectical monism in Aztec philosophy Dialectical monism in Heraclitus Dichotomic analysis Dichotomic analysis applied to paradox resolution Dichotomous reasoning Disqualification of one pole Disqualification of the positive Dualities Dual poles Extreme opposition General cognitive distortions Instance of one-sidedness bias Matrix of concepts Maximization Mental filter Minimization Bistable cognition Omission of the neutral One-sidedness bias One-sided viewpoint Opposition relationship Principle of dialectical indifference Requalification into the other pole Reference class Reference class problem Reference class problem in philosophical paradoxes Reference class problem in the Doomsday argument Reference class problem in Hempel’s paradox Reference class problem in the surprise examination paradox Selective abstraction Specific cognitive distortions System of taxa Two-sided viewpoint Viewpoint of a duality Viewpoint of a pole

How to Make a Dialectical Plan

My course (duration: 3h20) entitled “How to make a dialectical plan” is online on Udemy.

The course is a pedagogical and practical version of the notions contained in my articles On a Class of Concepts and The Dialectical Plan: For an Alternative to the Paradigm, published in the journal Semiotica. It is a step-by-step method, with exercises, to learn how to make a dialectical plan, using matrices of concepts.

A version of this course in French language is also available.