Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The concept of Symbolic "Incarnation" from Professor Faulconer of BYU: Fundamentally Similar to Iconotropy, Adaptation and Substitution


Here is the link from Archive.org for the same article if the one above ever becomes a dead link:


Here is a link to Professor James Faulconer's definition of his concept of Symbolic Incarnation.  In this article, he describes the fundamentals of the concept, although he is doing it from the standpoint of how religious objects and scriptures are incarnate symbols.

This is another way of stating the same principle that I call by multiple names in this blog.  I have called it Iconotropy or Adaptation.  I have also described it with the concept that I call "Abstractions and Concretions," based off of principles I know from variables/objects/types in Computer Science (since I'm a programmer).  Each one of these names is stating something very similar, each from a different angle.  It is fundamentally the idea that a symbol or variable is abstract or undefined until a well-defined or concrete value is assigned to it.  These things are different way of describing the idea of incarnation from varying points of view.  From the point of view of mathematics, it is called in that field "substitution."  It is basically the idea that a symbol/variable (such as a letter X used in algebra) is abstract until an assignment of value is made to it in actual usage.  See my other posts on these concepts:



The value assigned to it is a "concrete" thing.  So, it is closely linked to or identical to incarnation because of the fact that incarnation is similar/identical to substitution in Algebra and Computer science.  Incarnation is just a name applied to the principle by Professor Faulconer in the realm of religious symbolism.  Furthermore, in archaeology and other fields others like Kevin Barney and William Hamblin have called this adaptation or iconotropy, where one culture may appropriate a symbol of another culture and reinterpret it, giving it a new assignment of value.