A System of Human Knowledge and Practice

ANIL MITRA © MAY 2013—March 2018

© From articles by author since 2005

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Outline

Table of Contents

A System of Human Knowledge, Practice, and action

Supplement—The Human Knowledge Project

Supplement—Detailed Outline of Knowledge for a Database

 

Table of Contents

A System of Human Knowledge, Practice, and action

The System

The real and given universe

1.     The Humanities, tradition, and religion

2.     Abstract sciences

3.     Concrete sciences

4.     History

Artifact and the created universe

5.     Art

6.     Technology

7.     Transformation of Being

Toward a modern encyclopedia

Traditional problems

Information processing and networking solutions

Computer text

Supplement—The Human Knowledge Project

Knowledge Project

Related sites

Supplement—Detailed Outline of Knowledge for a Database

Aims

The Database

Reference

Conceptual representation

Automate formulation and reformulation

Generate knowledge

Plans for the Access database

Development of an encyclopedia

Traditional problems

Computer text

Plans for an encyclopedia

The Database

Being and universe

Metaphysics

Being

Universal metaphysics

Logic

Objects

Epistemology

Cosmology

Mathematics

Realism extended

Knowing and being as process

Science

Physical

Earth

Biology

Mind

Society

History

History

Peoples, places, and periods

Artifact

Art

The idea of art

The world of art

The arts

Medicine

Medicine

Psychiatry

Engineering

Fundamentals and methods

Biochemical

Materials

Civil, environmental, and resource

Mechanical, energy and industrial

Electrical and information

Military and peace

Technology

Nature and development

Elements

Fields

Religion and Faith

Concept of religion

Institutions and practices

The religions

 

A System of Human Knowledge, Practice, and action

The System

The system includes practice and action.

Edit the system at system of human knowledge.doc

The real and given universe

1.      The Humanities, tradition, and religion


Preliminary—there is overlap among humanities and the other divisions of knowledge; however, where illuminating, redundancy is appropriate.

Humanities and humanism—what should we know to live, relate, and contribute to the human side of culture? Adequacy of this rough definition of humanism and the humanities. That it suggests but does not specify the disciplines. The methods are critical, or speculative, comparative, and have a significant historical element.  There is no central discipline, but the humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, geography, history, cultural anthropology, religion, art, and musicology. Some details follow.

Knowledge—the disciplines and their history; that method and content are not essentially distinct.

Philosophy—process of bridging with the unknown; disciplines—metaphysics, logic (and epistemology), and ethics; special branches—critique of disciplines and human endeavors.

Tradition—tradition is the valid content in knowledge, reason—and action—for all cultures; its modes: primal, religious or trans-secular, secular, and integrated.

Religion—religion as knowledge and negotiation of the entire universe by the entire individual and groups in all their faculties and modes of being; its nature as asserting the trans-secular; omni-functionality; psychology of religion and religious experience; the religions.

 

2.      Abstract sciences

 

Metaphysics—study of Being and the given, experience, categories, knowledge, and principles of action; possibility of metaphysics; the abstract, the concrete, and the nature of perfect knowledge; the fundamental principle of metaphysics; all knowledge and action fall under the umbrella of metaphysics—including epistemology, reason, logic and ethics; the perfect metaphysics and recognized problems of metaphysics (being; substance, category, and cause; possible and necessary being; spacetime; identity; cause, determinism, freedom; mind and matter), cosmology, and agency.

The real and the artifactual—the real and its nature; whether the real and the artifactual are essentially different and the consequent question of whether the division of knowledge into ‘universe’ and ‘universe of created Being’ is an essential distinction.

Abstract sciences and symbolic systems—signs; language and linguistics: word, concept, and object; logic; mathematics; computer science; and meta-disciplines

 

3.      Concrete sciences

 

Physical science—quantum theories and their interpretations, standard theory of elementary particles and its problems, special and general relativity, cosmology, cosmological context and origins of the empirical cosmos, condensed matter physics, chemical origins of life, and turbulence.

Technological sciences, especially engineering—drafting, engineering and its fields, industrial engineering and production management, and materials science.

Biology—nature, variety, structural levels from molecules to multi-cell organisms, origins and evolution of life on earth; co-evolutionary processes and mathematical evolutionary biology; exo- and speculative biology.

Psychology—study of psyche; primal, eastern and western approaches; psyche: nature, functions, memory, dynamics; and growth and integration, especially as personality; the unconscious; change and changeability of personality; an objective science of experience; biological psychology; behavioral and group or social psychology; psychoanalysis and existential-humanistic theories.
 
Social science and sciences—society and its nature; groups, institutions, dynamics, and change; culture, institutions of knowledge—schools, universities, academies and research establishments; anthropology; human civilization—problem and opportunity (journey in being)—and universal civilization; political-economics—science and philosophy, law.

Medicine,
psychiatry, and applied social science—principles and practice, fields, professions.

 

4.      History

 

History—the nature of history; whether “the study of the past as it is described in written documents” is a good or adequate conception; methods; its instrumental or practical and intrinsic or ideal uses.

History of the world—the universe; the earth, life, origin of homo sapiens; pre-history and anthropology;

History of ideas—general ideas; history of culture, human endeavor, and disciplines.

 

Artifact and the created universe

5.      Art


Art—its nature; relation to metaphysics and to being-in-the world.

The arts—literature, drama, music, painting, drawing, sculpture, and architecture.

 

6.      Technology


Technology—what it is; its development; and its transformational and utilitarian uses.

Elements of technology—energy, conversion and use; tools and machines; measurement, observation, and control; extraction and conversion of raw materials; technology of industrial production processes.

Fields of technology—agriculture and food production; major industries—their technologies: manufacturing, transportation, chemical, extraction, mining; civil (buildings, highways, and other civil structures), mechanical, electrical, information processing (computation), communication and networking, knowledge and information technology; military technology; urban community; earth and space exploration.

Technology, mind, and Being—artificial intelligence, robotics, simulation, bio-machines, organism to machine transference of intelligence.

Engineering— what engineering is; fields of engineering.

Medicine and psychiatry—medicine and psychiatry and their fields.

 

7.      Transformation of Being


Theory of transformation of Being—the perfect metaphysics; with agency, intrinsic and instrumental. See templates for transformation.

Intrinsic modes of transformation—ideas (analytic and synthetic), yoga, mystic (mysticism), and other (e.g., religious) ways, existential approach (existentialism), modes of therapy, and transformation of body, psyche (consciousness studies, experience and nature, psychology), and person (personality), other catalysts of transformation—nature-Beyul and alteration of environment, animal empathy, physical modes, e.g. rhythm and deprivation; knowledge and immersive approaches to knowledge—metaphysics and science—and politics, and economics

Instrumental modes of transformation—culture and institutions of knowledge – research, communication, education; medicine, engineering, design, technology (see technology), social sciences—economics and politics, technological-ideational civilization of earth and the universe.

Dual modes—the foregoing are not perfectly distinct and there is cross-over.

Toward a modern encyclopedia

The central motive to a modern encyclopedia is to take advantage of progress since the great age of encyclopedias without the naïve assumption that the newer modes are the peak of knowledge and that prior understanding has become outmoded (what is required of course is a preliminary analysis and mesh of the old and the new before beginning actual work on the new).

Given the motive as stated above, a modern encyclopedia will (a) address the conceptual problems of older encyclopedias—i.e. the assumption that one conceptual system of knowledge frames knowledge while not assuming, as is commonly done today, that there are no useful systems, (b) address the practical problems of publication and dissemination of older encyclopedias, (c) integrate advances in understanding with prior marginalized but immensely important understanding (d) take advantage of modern information processing and networking technology to address those aspects of the foregoing to which it is exceptionally well suited.

Traditional problems

In the development of an Encyclopedia the following problems may arise:

1.

In depth and authoritative versus up-to-date development.

2.

Logical versus enumerative (e.g. alphabetic) versus associative organization.

3.

Question of relative nature of ‘logical’ schemes. An example is materialism vs. idealism as basis of organization (the analysis of this distinction and its validity was well established from Locke to Whitehead, forgotten, and begun again with the new consciousness studies beginning about the 1970’s)

Information processing and networking solutions

With the capabilities of modern information systems these tradeoffs are not necessary.

1.

There can be both in depth articles with low frequency of revision and up-to-date articles or supplements with higher rate of revision

2.

The associative character of hyper linking has been touted as ‘the way we learn’. It is one way but not the only way of learning or knowledge representation—typical of the way in which experts overreach their skill.

In any case, no choice has to be made because the capabilities of modern networked information systems enable us to have and eat cake.

3.

Similarly, modern systems permit multiple logical schemes—which are capable via information processing of using a database to instantly present the system of knowledge according to any scheme, e.g. associative / logical / alpha…

Computer text

There is software to set up text and browsing capabilities. Book emulation is also possible, click here for one beginning.

Supplement—The Human Knowledge Project

Knowledge Project

…and related links: this project has the following enhancing factors: (1) New conceptions of knowledge and being and the range of knowledge defined by the essay Journey in Being—especially the divisions labeled ‘Theory of being,’ ‘Human world,’ and ‘A system of human knowledge.’ The newer essay Journey in being-detail has much detail. See Home for additional information. (2) A variety of studies of the range of human knowledge, for which also see Home, the Site map, and, e.g., Possibilities for study.

Related sites

It is critical that the knowledge project is about both ideas and action.

The listing begins with three sources selected for the notion that a comprehensive overview of human knowledge and action—and an execution of this idea (these sources may of course be subject to criticism with regard to the general notion of comprehensive overview and the execution; however inclusion is suggestive rather than dogmatic, of in process rather than final systems, and of multiple rather than single systems). The first is System of human knowledge, a representation of human knowledge. It is a modification, based in the universal metaphysics, of the system of the 15th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. The second is the representation of human knowledge in the Propædia (see Encyclopedias). The third source is the Great Ideas of Mortimer J. Adler.

System of human knowledge

Propædia (system of the Britannica)

Project Gutenberg

humanknowledge.net

Oxford Text Archive

Internet Classics Archive

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/

Res cogitans

Public Library of Science

Perseus Digital Library for the HumanitiesPerseus 4.0, a new Java-based version

Archelogos Projects—a research tool for specialists in classical philosophy

Supplement—Detailed Outline of Knowledge for a Database

THE AIMS AND SCOPE OF THE DATABASE

Aims

The Database

Reference

A traditional and ongoing use.

Conceptual representation

As preliminary to the next two goals… and to perhaps learn something about conceptual representation.

Automate formulation and reformulation

Database and other software are in some ways well suited to this. This should be enhanced by intelligent use of the software (reference my much earlier attempt of the late 1990s) and custom software.

Generate knowledge

This is ambitious and perhaps unrealistic. However, the goals are (a) the attempt is important for even if generation is not realized, something may be learned (b) to combine human and computer power (I don’t say software because a software can be written and executed by the human; it is the speed and memory and perhaps architecture of the computer that contributes—perhaps architecture is especially important) and (c) to see what may be realized.

Plans for the Access database

  1. Database designgeneral issues. (1) Use a standard reference (2) What are the main design issues? (3) Some issues are what tables to make; normalization; queries; forms; reports. One criteria for the tables is that it is will be inefficient to have one huge table for topics down to the lowest level of inclusiveness—e.g. simple facts. In fact the first version of the database will not have the lowest levels. However, the design of the database should allow for their entry and update.
  2. Special issues for knowledge databases and encyclopedias. Refer to the next section. Particularly (1) There should be design for all levels of knowledge and information. Design should allow for periodic and as needed updates; and for large scale reorganization. Obviously information will be updated more frequently than the general items which, because it is a knowledge database, will also constitute the organizing principles. Also (2) Since the general items are the organizing principles, automating reformulation—to the extent possible—will go toward automating reorganization.

Development of an encyclopedia

An encyclopedia is of course a database. However, modern database technology and customization may be particularly to automating production and maintenance of an encyclopedia. The technology will be used together with human intelligence.

Traditional problems

In the development of an Encyclopedia the following problems may arise:

  1. In depth and authoritative versus up-to-date development.
  2. Logical versus enumerative (e.g. alphabetic) versus associative organization.
  3. Question of relative nature of ‘logical’ schemes

With the capabilities of modern information systems these tradeoffs are not necessary.

  1. There can be both in depth articles with low frequency of revision and up-to-date articles or supplements with higher rate of revision
  2. The associative character of hyper linking has been touted as ‘the way we learn’. Yes, of course that is one way of learning but it is certainly not the only way of learning or knowledge representation—the case is typical of the way in which naïve experts overreach their area of competence.

In any case, no choice has to be made because the capabilities of modern networked information systems enable us to have and eat cake.

  1. Similarly, modern systems permit multiple logical schemes.

Computer text

There is software to set up text and browsing capabilities. Book emulation is also possible, click here for one beginning. This is an interesting project. The goal is to emulate the conveniences of other media—primarily text—while maintaining the advantages of computer text (which include all the above—reorganization, linking… and networked information sources).

Plans for an encyclopedia

  1. This is a project to be taken up later.
  2. Identify and decide parameters for the encyclopedia
  3. Identify and decide contributors (Wikipedia vs. Britannica)
  4. Implement considerations from items (1), (2), and previous sections.

The Database

Being and universe

Metaphysics

Being

Being, Experience, Meaning, Symbols, and Language

Being
Being
The concept of metaphysics

Generality and precision go hand in hand

The epistemology of the pure metaphysics is immanent

Experience

Experience

Inseparability of Being and Experience—resolution of Being into levels of Experience

Meaning

Signs (at the present level of organization, semiotics is not given a separate section)

Meaning and language

Percept as concept. Resolution of concept-object into levels of concept

Meaning as concept and object. Grammar, logic

Word, symbol, language, descriptive grammar, logic, science, symbol systems

Knowledge: pure and applied metaphysics

… or philosophy, logic, and science

Pure metaphysics (as philosophy), applied metaphysics (as logic, science including the religious-spiritual impulse to overcome positivism and materialism) are not fundamentally different

Identical in main objective, seeking conceptual cohesion, and experiential approach (no ultimate a priori)

Different in emphasis, degree of generality, and criteria of precision

As a result of the immanent epistemology of the pure metaphysics interpretations of the applied can be given in which epistemology is immanent

Universal metaphysics

Nature and limitlessness of Being and Identity

In the metaphysics so far and in what follows, system is neither sought nor avoided. Specifically it is not imposed. What system there is, is immanent in—stems from—its givens. The magnitude of the system was not expected a priori but may be understood a posteriori

Logic

Old logic as conceptual realism. Mesh of logic and science as Logic or Realism

New Realism as boundary for knowledge. New Realism (Logic) as experimental—open—with regard to variety. Old logic and science as approximation to Logic

Objects

Epistemology

Metaphysics

Pure knowledge

Doubt

Pure and practical knowledge

Metaphysics and science and their complementary nature is already addressed

Science

Nature of science—local fact vs. universal projection

Process or method. Historical and practical concerns. Modification from universal metaphysics

Methods in particular sciences

Faith

Cosmology

I.e., general cosmology

Identity
Extensive and intensive variables
Pre-extensive realm of absent to limited identity
Identity and variable
Extensive and intensive variables
Intensive variables and quality

Quality not essentially non-quantitative

Extensive variables

Argument that space and time exhaust the extensive variables—but attitude of openness

Immanent quality of spatial and temporal extension

Non-standard space and time—differentiation and measure, dimensionality

Space-time and being
Descriptive cosmology
Cosmology of identity

Ultimate

Variety of experience

Physical cosmology

Mathematics

Mathematics

Study of form

The disciplines
Data representation, processing, and sharing

Computation and networking

Realism extended

Value—morals-ethics and aesthetics

Civil law

Knowing and being as process

Philosophy and the boundary of the known
Humanities
Study and significance of history
Metaphysics, being, action, and faith

Science

Physical

Nature, behavior of energy and varieties of force and material object including physics, physical cosmology, and chemistry

Physics, physical cosmology and astronomy
Chemistry

Earth

The following can be studied according to origins, composition, and dynamics

Geology and geophysics
The hydrosphere
The atmosphere

Biology

Life—its nature and variety and origins of life and variety; Medicine

The idea of life
Functional biology
Divisions of life
Evolutionary biology
Ecology
Anthropology
Disease

Medicine and psychiatry have a separate entry

Mind

Nature of mind

Foundation in experience

Matter, life, and mind
Mind and consciousness
Psyche

Its integration and its ‘functions;’ nature of mind

Disorder

Medicine and psychiatry have a separate entry

Society

Nature, institutions (groups) and change… and aspects including culture (institution of knowledge,) economics, political science and philosophy (and Law)

Culture

Cultures, institutions, language and communication, languages, political regions

Organization and change

Structure and dynamics, groups (collective behavior, family and kinship, populations (urban, rural)

Major institutions and dynamics

Economics; politics and international relations; law; generation, preservation, and transmission of culture and academic knowledge; religion and fulfillment

Economics
Politics
International relations
Law
Knowledge and culture

Generation, preservation, and transmission—or, research, archival including library and information storage and retrieval, and education

Religion and fulfillment

History

This division is ‘descriptive’ (influenced, of course, by perspective and significance)

For method and significance, see Epistemology

History can be studied according to

History

Synoptic view

Universe, earth, life
Human race

Peoples, places, and periods

The following does not show divisions according to people and period

Origins and prehistory
Pre-agricultural
Early history
Mediaeval
Modern and recent

Artifact

Signs and symbols are on the border between being-universe and artifact. In the end, however, the distinction between artifact and nature is artificial.

Art

Nature and varieties (literature, music, painting, sculpture, architecture…;)

The idea of art

The concept of art
Art, religion, and technology
Functional and pure art
Appreciation and practice

The world of art

Origins
Folk art
Arts of various cultures

The arts

Literature
Theater
Film
Music
Dance
Architecture, landscape, and urban
Sculpture
Drawing and painting
Printmaking and photography
Decoration and functional design

Medicine

Medicine

Psychiatry

Engineering

Fundamentals and methods

Fundamentals
Sciences
Mathematics
Computation
Engineering sciences

There is a range of specialties pertaining to the divisions below

Engineering mathematics

Foundations and advanced mathematics used in engineering

Experiment, model building, and computer modeling
Design, systems, and operations research

Biochemical

Agricultural
Biomedical
Chemical
Food

Materials

These are usually associated with their sciences

General materials engineering
Composites
Metals
Polymers
Textiles

Civil, environmental, and resource

Architectural
Civil
Environmental
Geological
Mining
Petroleum
Geotechnical
Structural
Transportation
Water resources
Regional, urban and rural planning

Mechanical, energy and industrial

Mechanical
Industrial and management
Thermal and energy
Nuclear
Ocean and naval
Technology management and public policy

Electrical and information

Electrophysics and devices
Power and light
Communication
Information
Data processing and networking

Military and peace

Technology

Nature and development

Scope and history
Organization of work

Elements

Exploration, extraction, and conversion: raw materials
Exploration, extraction, and conversion: energy
Tools and machines
Measurement, observation, and control
Industry and production

Fields

Agriculture, transportation, information, earth and space exploration…

Agriculture and food
Major industries
Construction
Transportation
Information processing, communication and networking
Urban
Military
Earth and space exploration

Religion and Faith

Literal and nature and varieties of non literal meaning and non meaning functions; religion, its nature and varieties: religions of the world—hunter gatherer and agriculture based societies, throughout pre-history and history. The concept of religion as knowledge and negotiation of the entire universe by the entire individual in all its faculties and modes of being. The relation of this concept to possible and potential realizations of as yet unnamed and un-thought ideational form

Concept of religion

Concepts of religion
Contribution of the universal metaphysics
Role of faith
Dialog—criticism and response—modern, local and universal perspective

Institutions and practices

Concept into practice
Institutions

The religions

Prehistoric
Ancient
The major religions