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Synthesis(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Synthesis refers to the final stage in horoscope interpretation, when the astrologer weaves the many particular influences into a coherent whole. The ability to meaningfully synthesize astrological information rather than to simply list the interpretations of each individual component of a chart is the mark of an experienced astrologer.
the combination of various elements and aspects of an object so as to form a whole (system), a process carried on in both everyday activity and cognition. In this sense, synthesis and analysis are opposite, but inextricably linked, concepts, each complementing the other and each being realized through the other. In modern science, the term “synthesis” is also used in several specific senses. Thus, “synthesis” refers to reasoning that proceeds, step by step, from what has been demonstrated to what is to be demonstrated; analysis, by contrast, proceeds from what can be demonstrated to what has already been demonstrated. A similar concept of synthesis and analysis, found in the classical philosophers and geometers, such as Plato, Euclid, and Pappus of Alexandria, is propounded, for example, by J. Hintikka of Finland. In yet another sense, “synthesis” is related to “synthetic judgments” (seeLOGICAL SEMANTICS).
Synthesis and analysis not only underlie all types of human activity but also, in their elementary forms, determine the behavior of the higher animals; in various technical applications, they are used in computer programs, artificial self-organizing systems, and the like. The synthetic and analytic activity of the human brain is the physiological basis of human behavior. As a mental operation, synthesis derives from the objective combination of the parts of various objects so as to form a whole; historically, it has been intertwined with human social and productive activity. The laws by which objective synthetic actions are transformed into psychic synthetic operations (internalization) have been studied by psychologists, for example, by J. Piaget, S. L. Rubinshtein, and A. N. Leont’ev.
As a cognitive operation, synthesis takes many different forms. Any process of concept formation rests ultimately on the unity of synthesis and analysis. Empirical data obtained from the study of any given object are synthesized as they are given theoretical generalization. In theoretical scientific knowledge, synthesis is manifested in the interdependence, on the basis of the correlative principle, of theories related to a single objective realm: manifested, that is, in the union of competing and, in some respects opposed, theories, for example, in contemporary physics the synthesis of the particle and wave theories. Synthesis is also manifested in, among others, the formulation of deductive theories, such as axiomatic theories and hypothetical-deductive theories. Synthesis is manifested in the dialectical method of ascending from the abstract to the concrete, as a means of formulating a theoretical knowledge of complex and ever-evolving objects: the concrete knowledge so obtained from the object studied is synthesis, the unity of the object’s diverse abstract definitions.
Contemporary science is characterized by synthesis not only within individual scientific disciplines but also between the various disciplines, in what is known as interdisciplinary synthesis. Synthesis has been of great importance in the emergence of biophysics, biochemistry, econometrics, and other interdisciplinary fields. Contemporary science is also characterized by synthesis between the fundamental realms of scientific and technical knowledge: the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the technical sciences. The 20th century has witnessed the emergence of several integrative sciences—for example, cybernetics—in which data on the structural properties of the various disciplines’ objects of study are synthesized. Research on the techniques of synthesizing scientific knowledge is essential to achieving the unity of science. In this respect, dialectical materialism proceeds from the diversity of forms of scientific and technical knowledge, a diversity united during cognition on the basis of a synthesis of the methodological means, concepts, and principles proper to the respective fields of knowledge.
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V. N. SADOVSKII
See also program transformation.