Month: January 2017

Contingency and Double Contingency

Here is a useful and brief description by Luhmann of the core concepts of ‘contingency’ and ‘double contingency’, taken from an essay entitled ‘Generalized Media and the Problem of Contingency’. A Contingency:  If I understand correctly the English term contingency in its present use, it has its core meaning in dependency and draws the attention primarily to the fact that the cause on which something depends performs itself a selection from other possibilities so that the contingent fact comes about in a somewhat chancy, accidental way. If we look into the theological and philosophical tradition of the term, our findings confirm this interpretation.[1] In scholastic philosophy the term contingens belonged to the theory of modal forms. Used to translate the Aristotelian ευδεχοϕυου (=possible) and mixed up with the classical Latin sense of accidens or eveniens, it was narrowed down to signify a special type of possibility i.e. ‘possibility not to be’.[2] This ‘possibility not to be’ was attributed to a world created by the unlimited will of God. Only a contingent world, as the nominalistic …