Continuity and Discontinuity

Continuity and Discontinuity


philosophical categories that characterize both the structure of matter and its process of development. Discontinuity refers to the “granularity” and discreteness of the spatiotemporal structure and state of matter, as well as the elements of which matter is composed, the aspects and forms of its existence, and the process of its motion and development. Discontinuity is grounded in the divisibility of matter and in the specific degree to which matter is internally differentiated in its development. It is also grounded in the relatively independent existence of the stable elements that compose matter—qualitatively determinate structures, such as elementary particles, nuclei, atoms, molecules, crystals, organisms, planets, and socioeconomic formations.

Continuity, on the other hand, expresses the unity, interconnection, and mutual dependence of the elements constituting one or another system having a specific degree of complexity. Continuity is grounded in the relative stability and indivisibility of an object as a qualitatively determined whole. It is precisely the unity of the parts of a whole that permits the existence and development of an object as a whole. Thus, the structure of any object or process is revealed as the unity of discontinuity and continuity. Discontinuity makes the complex, internally differentiated, and heterogeneous structure of things and phenomena possible. The granularity, or separateness, of an object is a necessary condition for each element of the structure to perform its specific function within the whole. At the same time, discontinuity makes it possible for the separate elements within a system to be supplemented, replaced, or interchanged.

The unity of the discontinuity and the continuity also characterizes the developmental process. Continuity in the development of a system expresses its relative stability and its constancy within the framework of a given measure. Discontinuity, on the other hand, expresses the transition of the system to a new quality. One-sided emphasis on discontinuity in development implies a total break between the moments and hence a loss of any connection. Recognizing only continuity in development leads to a denial of any qualitative shifts and in fact renders the very concept of development meaningless. It is typical of the metaphysical way of thinking that it isolates continuity from discontinuity. Dialectical materialism stresses not only the opposition between the two but also the connection—the unity of continuity and discontinuity, which is confirmed by the whole history of science and by social practice.


Osnovy marksistsko-leninskoi filosofii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
The Long Seventh Century: Continuity and Discontinuity in an Age of Transition.
The use of ekklesia terminology within the first-century Jesus Movement displays both continuity and discontinuity with earlier Greek and Jewish sources, says Korner.
describes elements of continuity and discontinuity in the history of biblical interpretation in relation to developments in historiography and literary theory.
In his December 2005 speech to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI avoided such simplification by distinguishing between a hermeneutic of discontinuity and one of reform, and then devoted the larger part of the speech to illustrating how reform entails both continuity and discontinuity on different levels.
Chapter IV explores the themes of continuity and discontinuity, kicking off with the interface of Christian Bidayuhs with Malay Muslims and the politics of religion.
His perspectives on it include a monolingual system, continuity and discontinuity, the world of proper names, the fool and the madman, internal structures and external influences, and the phenomenon of art.
The emphasis is on continuity and discontinuity, exploring the ways in which an early modern 'emblematic mentality' might be seen to persist, in radically altered forms, in a postmodern age.
Continuity and discontinuity in the expression of specific emotions between infancy and early childhood was also examined.
It will take time for the scholarly and theological world to assess Wright's lasting contribution to the study of both Jesus within first-century Judaism and the continuity and discontinuity between Jesus' agenda and the faith of the early church.
The third pertains to the issue of continuity and discontinuity of physical bodies and the fourth is about the Peripatetics' denial of the possibility of the existence of another world completely different from the one we know.
The topics she considers are continuity and discontinuity with the medieval tradition, recent historiography, sources, treatises, purpose, content, spirit-word-rhetoric, language and style, the ritual character of the event, the audience, preaching as medium of exchange or social control, relationship to a culture of fear, trajectories.
Substantially updated and expanded from previous editions, this third edition continues to emphasize the philosophical and historical bases of the key conceptual issues in the field, the centrality of the nature-nurture issue, the importance of understanding the dynamics between continuity and discontinuity across the life span, the ways in which stances on the nature-nurture and continuity-discontinuity issues frame theories of human development, and on the associations among philosophy, concepts, theories, methods, and applications of developmental science.