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A Review
Chapter VII
William James'
Some Problems of Philosophy
by Doug Renselle
Doug's Pre-review Commentary
Start of Review

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Chapter VII...........The One and the Many


(Most quotes verbatim William James, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)
113 "The full nature, as distinguished from the full amount, of reality, we now believe to be given only in the perceptual flux. But, though the flux is continuous from next to next, nonadjacent portions of it are separated by parts that intervene, and such separation seems in a variety of cases to work a [an apparent] positive disconnection. The latter part, e. g., may contain no element surviving from the earlier part, may be unlike it, may forget it, may be shut off from it by physical barriers, or whatnot. Thus when we use our intellect for cutting up the flux and individualizing its members, we have (provisionally and practically at any rate) to treat an enormous number of these as if they were [quantum both/and] unrelated or [quantum both/and] related only [both (nonlocally)] remotely, [and nonremotely (locally),] to one another. We handle them [both] piecemeal or [and cohesively, nondistributively] distributively, and look at the entire flux as if it were their sum or collection [We see this last clause as James' description of quantum cohesion of all quantons.]. This encourages the empiricist notion, that the parts are distinct and that the whole is a resultant."

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed comments.) This first sentence agrees wholly with Pirsig's DQ as full-natured flux. Sentence two is a rough approximation, with minor differences, of Bergson's duration, and quantum sciences' complementary interrelationships (I.e., especially, "...separated by parts that intervene,...").

Note: Key word here is 'may.' That is why we said above, "...a rough approximation..." Nominally, as Bergson describes with his duration, latter and former commingle changed/unchanged/changing affects. Quantons are complex aggregations of latching, latched, unlatching, and unlatched attractors. Portions of a quanton may change while other portions may remain unaffected. (Consider cellular apoptosis. Consider eating an apple. Consider a flexible Möbius strip. Consider a severed worm. Etc. Also consider that 'parts' of a quanton which do not change are what delude classicists that 'reality' is separable/cuttable.)

Essentially, SOM intellect deludes itself that it is innately (because of SOM's presumed non-quantum, Newtonian ontology) capable of cutting up reality.

Intrinsically/naturally, even though SOMites declare they can, SOM is incapable of cutting up reality because reality is not Newtonian, but quantum.

Further, quantum reality is nondistributive! Reality's entire flux is a collection, as a quantum wave function (qwf) AKA quanton-of-quantons. An important weakness here, and a major difference is that qwfs use classical SOM notation. (In Quantonics, we consider this an M3K.)

We see how empiricism, given James' description of it, is by itself inadequate. He/we had to infuse an evolutionary affect (to eliminate its classical inductive flavor), but we also need infuse a non-Aristotelian included-middle which goes in classicists' face of apparency of 'part distinction.'

From a quantum perspective parts (qwfs or quantons) are both distinct and coinsiding quantum 'wholes' are both cohesively holistic and part-i-ally individual and autonomous (Bergson, James, Mae-wan Ho, et al.). I.e., quantum wholes have commingling, compenetrating 'parts.' Quantum means of aggregation and apparent disaggregation are many and complex including: pure isoflux, mixed flux, coherence (many flavors), decoherence (many flavors), implicate uncertainty, spin, trichotomous (perhaps n-chotomous) entropy, omniadic interrelationships, omnicontexts, quantum ontology, and quanton(ensemble_determinism,analytical_indeterminism), etc. See our Quanton Complement Interrelationships.


"This doctrine rationalism opposes, contending that the whole is fundamental, that the parts derive from it and all belong with one another, that the separations we uncritically accept are illusory, and that the entire universe, instead of being a sum, is the only genuine unit in existence, constituting (in the words often quoted from d'Alembert) 'un seul fait et une grande vérité.'

"The alternative here is known as that between pluralism and monism. It is the most pregnant of all the dilemmas of philosophy, although it is only in our time that it has been articulated distinctly. Does reality exist distributively? or collectively? in the shape of eaches, everys, anys, eithers? or only in the shape of an all or whole? An identical content is compatible with either form obtaining, the Latin omnes, or cuncti, or the German alle or sämmtliche expressing the alternatives familiarly. Pluralism stands for the distributive monism for the collective form of being."

(Our bold emphasis.) This is one of James' most important pages! It allows us to see, dramatically, differences twixt Pirsig's quantumesque MoQ and dichotomous SOM. Notice SOM's negative language: opposes, contending, between, and 'da big OR!

Notice rationalism's innate dichotomy: i.e., whole OR not-whole!

Let's answer James' "...most pregnant of all the dilemmas of philosophy,..." from a perspective of both quantum science and Pirsig's MoQ:

"Questions: 'Does reality exist distributively? or collectively? in the shape of eaches, everys, anys, eithers? or only in the shape of an all or whole?'

"Answer: 'Yes!' (See our prereview 'or' discussion.)"

Actual reality (known and knowable stuff) classically appears distributive, yet we know it quantum commingles (potentially all of) other actual and nonactual (pure, isotropic flux) reality. Classical Thing-king Methods (CTMs) insist on (an Aristotelian excluded-middle) either/or. Quantonic Think-king Modes (QTMs) abide (an included-middle) both/and.


"Please note that pluralism need not be supposed at the outset to stand for any particular kind or amount of disconnection between the many things which it assumes. It only has the negative significance of contradicting monism's thesis that there is absolutely no disconnection. The irreducible outness of anything, however infinitesimal, from anything else, in any respect, would be enough, if it were solidly established, to ruin the monistic doctrine.

"I hope that the reader begins to be pained here by the extreme vagueness of the terms I am using. To say that there is 'no disconnection,' is on the face of it simply silly, for we find practical disconnections without number. My pocket is disconnected with Mr. Morgan's bank-account, and King Edward VII's mind is disconnected with this book. Monism must mean that all such apparent disconnections are bridged over by some deeper absolute union in which it believes, and this union must in some way be more real than the practical separations that appear upon the surface."

James' lack of exposure to quantum science and his latent monistic upbringing belie their ugly legacy here. Instead, all these "practical disconnections" commingle in quantum reality and commingle other things in quantum reality via quantum reality's multiversal cohesion. One obvious example here is quantum gravity (spin 2) which partially coheres and commingles all known (and at least some unknown) actuality.

QTMs tell us we should ponder quanton(pluralism,monism).

See: Pirsig and Bergson on Monism vis-à-vis Pluralism.


"In point of historical fact monism has generally kept itself vague and mystical as regards the ultimate principle of unity. To be One is more wonderful than to be many, so the principle of things must be One, but of that One no exact account is given.

Plotinus simply calls it the One.

'The One is .all things and yet no one of them.... For the very reason that none of them was in the One, are all derived from it. Furthermore, in order that they may be real existences, the One is not an existence, but the father of existences. And the generation of existence is as it were the first act of generation. Being perfect by reason of neither seeking nor possessing nor needing anything, the One overflows, as it were, and what overflows forms another hypostasis.... How should the most perfect and primal good stay shut up in itself as if it were envious or impotent?.... Necessarily then something comes from it.'"

(Our bold and color emphasis.)

but still implies an Aristotelian excluded-middle (i.e., "...none...was in the one...").

"This is like the Hindoo doctrine of the Brahman, or of the Âtman. In the Bhagavat-gita the holy Krishna speaking for the One, says:

'I am the immolation. I am the sacrificial rite. I am the libation offered to ancestors. I am the drug. I am the incantation. I am the sacrificial butter also. I am the fire. I am the incense. I am the father, the mother, the sustainer, the grandfather of the universe the mystic doctrine, the purification, the syllable "'Om" ... the path, the supporter, the master, the witness, the habitation, the refuge, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the place, the receptacle, the inexhaustible seed. I heat (the world) I withhold and pour out the rain. I am ambrosia and death, the existing and the non-existing.... I am the same to all beings. I have neither foe nor friend.... Place thy heart on me, worshipping me, sacrificing to me, saluting me.'"

(James' parenthetical.)

In ZMM, Phædrus concludes,

"But one day in the classroom the professor of philosophy was blithely expounding on the illusory nature of the world for what seemed the fiftieth time and Phædrus raised his hand and asked coldly if it was believed that the atomic bombs that had dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were illusory. The professor smiled and said yes. That was the end of the exchange.

"Within the traditions of Indian philosophy that answer may have been correct, but for Phædrus and for anyone else who reads newspapers regularly and is concerned with such things as mass destruction of human beings that answer was hopelessly inadequate. He left the classroom, left India and gave up." Pp. 126-7, Bantam paperback.


"I call this sort of monism mystical, for it not only revels in formulas that defy understanding, but it accredits itself by appealing to states of illumination not vouchsafed to common men. Thus Porphyry, in his life of Plotinus, after saying that he himself once had such an insight, when 68 years old, adds that whilst he lived with Plotinus, the latter four times had.the happiness of approaching the supreme God and consciously uniting with him in a real and ineffable act.

"The regular mystical way of attaining the vision of the One is by ascetic training, fundamentally the same in all religious systems. But this ineffable kind of Oneness is not strictly philosophical, for philosophy is essentially talkative and explicit, so I must pass it by."

(Our bold emphasis.)
119 "The usual philosophic way of reaching deeper oneness has been by the conception of substance. First used by the Greeks, this notion was elaborated with great care during the Middle Ages. Defined as any being that exists per se, so that it needs no further subject in which to inhere (Ens ita per se existens, ut non indigeat alio tamquam subjecto, cui inhaereat, adexistendum) a 'substance' was first distinguished from all 'accidents' (which do require such a subject of inhesion cujus esse est inesse). It was then identified with the 'principle of individuality' in things, and with their 'essence,' and divided into various types, for example into first and second, simple and compound, complete and incomplete, specific and individual, material and spiritual substances. God, on this view, is a substance, for he exists per se, as well as a se; but of secondary beings, he is the creator, not the substance, for once created, they also exist per se though not a se. Thus, for scholasticism, the notion of substance is only a partial unifier, and in its totality, the universe forms a pluralism from the substance-point-of-view."

(James' parentheticals. Our bold emphasis.)
Denial of subjective (and thus quantum) isoflux reality. Denies quantum reality's very source: VES/QVF Vacuum Energy Space AKA Quantum Vacuum Flux!

Denial of novel change and thus denial of evolution!

(Reviewer hereby reserves "No Quantum God" from following paragraph as a favored and protected book title. 8Apr2000 PDR)

And God is anthropocentrically made into a separable: a thing and a not-thing. No Quantum God! Here we see SOM's philosophical God-dichotomy as an interesting excluded-middle homological summation. Aristotle's insistence on a syllogistic excluded middle imposes its philosophic ill-affects. Similarly, "secondary beings" are excluded-middle separated from SOM's God. Isn't this just sad, genuinely sad. Consider our world's cultural and philosophical havoc arising from such classical bilge.

120 "Spinoza broke away from the scholastic doctrine. He began his 'Ethics' by demonstrating that only one substance is possible, and that that substance can only be the infinite and necessary God. This heresy brought reprobation on Spinoza, but it has been favored by philosophers and poets ever since. The pantheistic spinozistic unity was too sublime a prospect not to captivate the mind. It was not till Locke, Berkeley, and Hume began to put in their 'critical' work that the suspicion began to gain currency that the notion of substance might be only a word masquerading in the shape of an idea." (Our bold emphasis.)

And James, et al., blow SOM's classical foundations away! Bravo! However, neither Locke, Berkeley, nor Hume intuited a quantumesque reality. Remember, Plato's "idea" is form!

"Locke believed in substances, yet confessed that

'we have no such clear idea at all, but only an uncertain supposition of we know not what, which we take to be the substratum, or support of those ideas we do not know.'

He criticized the notion of personal substance as the principles of self-sameness in our different minds. Experientially, our personal identity consists, he said, in nothing more than the functional and perceptible fact that our later states of mind continue and remember our earlier ones."

Much akin Bergson's duration.

"Berkeley applied the same sort of criticism to the notion of bodily substance.

'When I consider,'

"he says,

'the two parts ("being" in general, and "supporting accidents") which make the signification of the words "material substance," I am convinced there is no distinct meaning annexed to them.... Suppose an intelligence without the help of external bodies to be affected with the same train of sensations that you are, imprinted in the same order, and with like vividness in his mind. I ask whether that intelligence hath not all the reason to believe the existence of corporeal substances, represented by his ideas, and exciting them in his mind, that you can possibly have for believing the same thing.'

"Certain grouped sensations, in short, are all that corporeal substances are known-as, therefore the only meaning which the word 'matter' can claim is that it denotes such sensations and their groupings. They are the only verifiable aspect of the word."

(Our bold emphasis.)

Consider classicism's dilemma of quantum reality's quanton(wave,particle). Substitute sensation for 'wave' and matter for 'particle,' and get quanton(sensation,matter).
123 "The reader will recognize that in these criticisms our own pragmatic rule is used. What difference in practical experience is it supposed to make that we have each a personal substantial principle? This difference, that we can remember and appropriate our past, calling it 'mine.' What difference that in this book there is a substantial principle? This, that certain optical and tactile sensations cling permanently together in a cluster. The fact that certain perceptual experiences do seem to belong together is thus all that the word substance means." (Our bold emphasis.)

Pirsig might say, "Both perceptual experiences (coalesced into concepts) and substance are Static Patterns of Value. As SPoVs, they hang together."

"Hume carries the criticism to the last degree of clearness.

'We have no idea of substance,'

"he says,

'distinct from that of a collection of particular qualities, nor have we any other meaning when we either talk or reason concerning it. The idea of a substance.... is nothing but a collection of simple ideas that are united by the imagination and have a particular name assigned them by which we are able to recall that collection.'

"Kant's treatment of substance agrees with Hume's in denying all positive content to the notion. It differs in insisting that, by attaching shifting percepts to the permanent name, the category of substance unites them necessarily together, and thus makes nature intelligible. It is impossible to assent to this. The grouping of qualities becomes no more intelligible when you call substance a 'category' than when you call it a bare word."


"Let us now turn our backs upon ineffable or unintelligible ways of accounting for the world's oneness, and inquire whether, instead of being a principle, the 'oneness' affirmed may not merely be a name like 'substance,' descriptive of the fact that certain specific and verifiable connections are found among the parts of the experiential flux. This brings us back to our pragmatic rule: Suppose there is a oneness in things, what may it be known-as? What differences to you and me will it make?













"Our question thus turns upside down, and sets us on a much more promising inquiry. We can easily conceive of things that shall have no connection whatever with each other. We may assume them to inhabit different times and spaces, as the dreams of different persons do even now. They may be so unlike and incommensurable, and so inert towards one another, as never to jostle or interfere. Even now there may actually be whole universes so disparate from ours that we who know ours have no means of perceiving that they exist. We conceive their diversity, however; and by that fact the whole lot of them form what is known in logic as one 'universe of discourse.' To form a universe of discourse argues, as this example shows, no further kind of connection. The importance attached by certain monistic writers to the fact that any chaos may become a universe by being merely named, is to me incomprehensible. We must seek something better in the way of oneness than this susceptibility of being mentally considered together, and named by a collective noun."

(Our bold emphasis.)

1. Quantum flux AKA VES or Vacuum Energy Space.
2. Absent, there is no reality!

Aside: (16Mar2002)

As reviewers of some philosophical texts, we have come to be concerned about what James vis-à-vis Peirce mean by pragmatism and James' pragmatic rule.

As we have said in our pre-review comments we see pragmatism as literally pragma (action) tism (belief in).

Fortunately, now, nearly two years after we originally wrote this review, we have found another perspective which shows even more vividly what James means. Our reference here is Simon Blackburn's The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy under "pragmatism:"

"The driving motivation of pragmatism is the idea that belief in the truth on the one hand must have a close connection with success in action on the other."

It should be clear to students of Quantonics that Blackburn's description of James' pragmatism is unique and distinct from Peirce's practicality and in discord with views of Russell, Moore, et al. Blackburn took this perspective from his reading of James' 1909 The Meaning of Truth which preceded Some Problems of Philosophy by just one year.

What delves most deeply into our own quantonic psyches is quantum duality of that quote with our own scripted representation of it, that is, its quantum c¤mplementarity "connection" of action/flux with tentative truth/success:


In this perspective of Jamesian pragmatism, we see its quantum emergent, animate fluxing, included-middle heterogeneity. Magnificent!

End aside (16Mar2002 - Doug).

Total incommensurability implies absolute separation. From what we know now, that is not possible in a quantum universe!

"Man isn't the measure of all things?" Protagoras (with an exclamation instead of an interrogatory). Do say!


"What [logical] connections may be perceived concretely or in point of fact, among the parts of the collection abstractly designated as our 'world?'

There are innumerable modes of union among its parts, some obtaining on a larger, some on a smaller scale. Not all the parts of our world are united mechanically, for some can move without the others moving. They all seem united by gravitation, however, so far as they are material things. Some again of these are united chemically, while others are not; and the like is true of thermic, optical, electrical, and other physical connections. These connections are specifications of what we mean by the word oneness when we apply it to our world. We should not call it one unless its parts were connected in these and other ways. But then it is clear that by the same logic we ought to call it 'many' so far as its parts are disconnected in these same ways., chemically inert towards one another or nonconductors to electricity, light and heat."

(Our bold emphasis.)
This is all pure quantum intuition, developing as we read!
Conclusion: quanton(many,one). Awesome! See Pirsig and Bergson on Pluralism/Monism. 17Mar2002 - Doug.

"In all these modes of union, some parts of the world prove to be conjoined with other parts, so that if you choose your line of influence and your items rightly, you may travel from pole to pole without an interruption. If, however, you choose them wrongly, you meet with obstacles and non-conductors from the outset, and cannot travel at all. There is thus neither absolute oneness nor absolute manyness from the physical point of view, but a mixture of well-definable modes of both. Moreover, neither the oneness nor the manyness seems the more essential attribute, they are co-ordinate features of the natural world.

"There are plenty of other practical differences meant by calling a thing One. Our world, being strung along in time and space, has temporal and spatial unity. But time and space relate things by determinately sundering them, so it is hard to say whether the world ought more to be called 'one' or 'many' in this spatial or temporal regard."

(Our bold emphasis.)

Quantum reality! (Minus VES, unless we call his 'flux' VES.)

Unsure his intent here, but this sounds like Einsteinian SOMiticism. Especially James' use of determinately. Temporal or spatial views/contexts do not exorcise quantum reality's "multiversal cohesion with individual autonomy."

"The like is true of the generic oneness which comes from so many of the world's parts being similar. When two things are similar you can make inferences from the one which will hold good of the other, so that this kind of union among things, so far as it obtains, is inexpressibly precious from the logical point of view. But an infinite heterogeneity among things exists alongside of whatever likeness of kind we discover; and our world appears no more distinctly or essentially as a One than as a Many, from this generic point of view.

"We have touched on the noetic unity predicable of the world in consequence of our being able to mean the whole of it at once. Widely different from unification by an abstract designation, would be the concrete noetic union wrought by an all-knower of perceptual type who should be acquainted at one stroke with every part of what exists. In such an absolute all-knower idealists believe. Kant, they say, virtually replaced the notion of Substance, by the more intelligible notion of Subject"

(Our bold emphasis.)

"The 'I am conscious of it,' which on some witness's part must accompany every possible experience, means in the last resort, we are told, one individual witness of the total frame of things, world without end, amen. You may call his undivided act of omniscience instantaneous or eternal, whichever you like, for time is its object just as everything else is, and itself is not in time.

"We shall find reasons later for treating noetic monism as an unverified hypothesis. Over against it there stands the noetic pluralism which we verify every moment when we seek information from our friends. According to this, everything in the world might be known by somebody, yet not everything by the same knower, or in one single cognitive act, much as all mankind is knit in one network of acquaintance, A knowing B, B knowing C, Y knowing Z, and Z possibly knowing A again, without the possibility of anyone knowing everybody at once. This 'concatenated' knowing, going from next to next, is altogether different from the 'consolidated' knowing supposed to be exercised by the absolute mind. It makes a coherent type of universe in which the widest knower that exists may yet remain ignorant of much that is known to others."

(Our bold emphasis.)

Classical separability rears its ugliness again.

We think James says this because of quanton(pluralism,monism).

Indeed, this is what we infer from Gödel and quantum reality, admixed. This is precisely why we say, "There is no absolute truth." Many truths, none absolute!

Too, as James implies, reality is a network of coherent, co-aware 'know' nodes. Our Internet mimicks such. We see value enhancing. Doug. 8Apr2000

130 "There are other systems of concatenation besides the noetic concatenation. We ourselves are constantly adding to the connections of things, organizing labor-unions, establishing postal, consular, mercantile, railroad, telegraph, colonial, and other systems that bind us and things together in ever wider reticulations. Some of these systems involve others, some do not. You cannot have a telephone system without air and copper connections, but you can have air and copper connections without telephones. You cannot have love without acquaintance, but you can have acquaintance without love, etc. The same thing, moreover, can belong to many systems, as when a man is connected with other objects by heat, by gravitation, by love, and by knowledge."

"From the point of view of these partial systems, the world hangs together from next to next in a variety of ways, so that when you are off of one thing you can always be on to something else, without ever dropping out of your world. Gravitation is the only positively known sort of connection among things that reminds us of the consolidated or monistic form of union. If a 'mass' should change anywhere, the mutual gravitation of all things would instantaneously alter.

"Teleological and æsthetic unions are other forms of systematic union. The world is full of partial purposes, of partial stories. That they all form chapters of one supreme purpose and inclusive story is the monistic conjecture. They seem, meanwhile, simply to run alongside of each other either irrelevantly, or, where they interfere, leading to mutual frustrations, so the appearance of things is invincibly pluralistic from this purposive point of view."

(Our bold emphasis.)

Gravity is partial quantum coherence, and acts (because of its quantum coherence) superluminally! More quantum intuition by James! Had he known of its quantum coherence, he might also have intuited its obligatory reversibility too!

Why cannot classical scientists perceive enormous quantum ramifications of this? James, a philosopher, saw those ramifications, 100 years ago! Did he tell Sidis?

"It is a common belief that all particular beings have one origin and source, either in God, or in atoms all equally old. There is no real novelty, it is believed, in the universe, the new things that appear having either been eternally prefigured in the absolute, or being results of the same primordia rerum, atoms, or monads, getting into new mixtures. But the question of being is so obscure anyhow, that whether realities have burst into existence all at once, by a single 'bang,' as it were; or whether they came piecemeal, and have different ages (so that real novelties may be leaking into our universe all the time), may here be left an open question, though it is undoubtedly intellectually economical to suppose that all things are equally old, and that no novelties leak in.


"These results are what the Oneness of the Universe is known-as. They are the oneness, pragmatically considered. A world coherent in any of these ways would be no chaos, but a universe of such or such a grade. (The grades might differ, however. The parts, e.g., might have space-relations, but nothing more; or they might also gravitate; or exchange heat; or know, or love one another, etc.)"

(James' parenthetical.)

Quantum reality's evolutionarily stable survivability, ESS,


SOM's classical, biformal, evolutionarily instable survivability.
133 "Such is the cash-value of the world's unity, empirically realized. Its total unity is the sum of all the partial unities. It consists of them and follows upon them. Such an idea, however, outrages rationalistic minds, which habitually despise all this practical small-change. Such minds insist on a deeper, more through-and-through union of all things in the absolute, 'each in all and all in each,' as the prior condition of these empirically ascertained connections. But this may be only a case of the usual worship of abstractions, like calling 'bad weather' the cause of to-day's rain, etc.,. or accounting for a man's features by his 'face,' when really the rain is the bad weather, is what you mean by 'bad weather,' just as the features are what you mean by the face." (Our bold emphasis.)

'Absolute' immutability is problematic here as James has shown amply, thus far.
134 "To sum up, the world is 'one' in some respects, and 'many' in others. But the respects must be distinctly specified, if either statement is to be more than the emptiest abstraction. Once we are committed to this soberer view, the question of the One or the Many may well cease to appear important. The amount either of unity or of plurality is in short only a matter for observation to ascertain and write down, in statements which will have to be complicated, in spite of every effort to be concise." Our link.

As yet, James appears not to intuit quantum VES. We have hearsay that James, et al., use a phrase 'reserve energy.' We had hoped this might be his own personal dual of VES. He is soooo... close!

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(10Apr2000 rev Repair typos.)
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(21Feb2002 rev - Add p. 115 'P115' anchor, and comments link to Pirsig/Bergson on Monism/Pluralism.)
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