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Chapter 1 - Our Worldview

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Welcome to the Dimensions page

Photo by Griet Nijs Venetië 2015.jpg

What are dimensions?

  • A measure of spatial extent: magnitude, proportion, size, scope
  • A construct whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished: attribute, property
Content source
Wiktionary - 2022
A temporal dimension, is a dimension of time. Time is often referred to as the "fourth dimension" for this reason, but that is not to imply that it is a spatial dimension. A temporal dimension is one way to measure physical change. It is perceived differently from the three spatial dimensions in that there is only one of it, and that we cannot move freely in time but subjectively move in one direction.
Content source
Wikipedia - 2022

Thinking about the concept

A visual thesaurus search is always an excellent starting point to discuss a concept definition:

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Thesaurus - Synonyms, Antonyms, and Related Words (freethesaurus.com)




Content source
(1) To define 'dimensions' we rely heavily on the work of Peter Godfrey-Smith on Darwinian space.


Dimensions don't exist as described and drawn here. Instead, they are metaphors for the complex reality that we are. The dimensions on the drawings are deliberately not drawn straight to give shape to the capriciousness of human nature.


Active dimension

From "What is important to me" (AUTONOMY) to "What is important for us" (PARTICIPATION).

  • Core concept: 'Heritability'
The dimension, H, is an analogue of the conventional concept of heritability, but, like Darwin’s concept, is independent of genetics. (Darwin had no theory of genetics; he only required some degree of correlation of characters between parents and offspring.) (1)
  • From: Autonomy

Human autonomy refers to the ability of a person to make their own decisions and act independently. This means they can think for themselves and act on their judgment and free will rather than being controlled (or influenced) by others.

For example, a person with autonomy can make decisions about their life, what career to pursue, and where to live. They can also make decisions about actions, such as what to do or how to spend their time.

Having autonomy is important because it allows people to make their own choices and live their lives in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling to them. It also helps people to develop their sense of self and become independent and self-sufficient.

  • To: Participation

Human participation refers to the involvement of people in activities or processes that affect their lives or communities. Taking part can include decision-making, development or activities.

Participation is essential because it allows people to have a say in the things that affect them and to be involved in shaping their own lives and communities. It also helps to build a sense of community and belonging and can lead to greater understanding and cooperation.

People can participate by volunteering their time or resources, joining organisations, speaking up and expressing their opinions and ideas, and working with others to achieve common goals.


Evaluative dimension

From "What has meaning to me" (COHERENCE) to "What is the meaning for us" (INVOLVEMENT).

  • Core concept: 'The characteristics of individual agents'
The dimension, C, concerns the continuity of changes in fitness values with changes in characteristics (or phenotypes) of individuals. This roughly mirrors the ruggedness or smoothness of a fitness landscape, especially when the characters considered are genetic states of a population of organisms. (1)
  • From: Coherence

Human coherence refers to being logical and consistent or fitting together in a way that makes sense. It can apply to many things, including ideas, arguments, and explanations.

For example, a coherent argument is well-organized and follows a logical progression, with each point supporting the main idea and leading smoothly to the next. A cohesive explanation is clear and easy to understand and presents information logically.

Coherence is essential because it helps people to understand and make sense of complex information and ideas. It also helps to ensure that communication is effective and that people can follow and understand the presented thoughts and ideas.

Many factors can affect a person's coherence, including their level of education, language skills, and emotional state.

  • To: Connectedness

Connectedness refers to the state of being connected or related to something else. It can include participating in activities or processes and working with others. It is essential because it allows people to be a part of something bigger than themselves and contribute to the success of a group or community. Connectedness can refer to the sense of belonging or attachment to a group or community. It can also help people develop new skills, connect, and feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose.


Potential dimension

From "My competences" (COMPETENCES) to "The relevance of actions for the bigger situation" (RELEVANCE).

  • Core concept: 'Reproductive success'
The dimension, S, measures the dependence of reproductive success (‘realized fitness’) on ‘intrinsic’ versus ‘relational’ or ‘extrinsic’ characters of the parents. High S corresponds to reproductive success depending on intrinsic characters. This allows distinctions between ‘accidental’ success (one twin killed by lightning before reproducing, the other with numerous offspring) and success due to intrinsic features and is a crucial component of Godfrey-Smith’s novel analysis of genetic drift. (1)
  • From: Competences

Competence refers to the ability to do something well or effectively. It can refer to a specific skill or knowledge, working well in a team, or solving problems.

Competencies are essential because they allow people to perform tasks effectively and achieve goals. It can also help people to be more confident in their abilities and to feel more capable of taking on new challenges.

People can develop many different types of competencies, which can vary depending on a person's interests, goals, and the requirements of their job or role in society. For example, competencies might include technical and personal skills, such as communicating effectively or working well with others.

To develop competencies, people can engage in activities that challenge them and help them to learn new things, seek out opportunities to practice and improve their skills, and seek out education and training to help them learn new things.

  • To: Relevance

Relevance refers to the relationship or connection between something and the context in which it is being considered. Something relevant is related or applicable to the situation or problem at hand and is, therefore, essential or valuable to consider.

Relevance is essential because it helps people focus on the information or ideas most meaningful or valuable to them in a given context. It can help to save time and effort by allowing people to ignore or set aside information that is not relevant or useful to their current needs or goals.



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