System of Human Knowledge, Reason, Practice, and Action
For The Way of Being | A Journey
Also see A supplement to the system
Anil Mitra © January 2018—July
Though the system is a human one, that implies possible but not necessary limits for there is an aspiration to universal knowledge. The title might therefore be A System of Human Knowledge, Reason, and Action.
The account begins with the humanities because they motivate and encompass all other disciplines and activities. The remaining sections are The real and given universe and Artifact and the created universe. The distinctions between the humanities, the real, and artifact are artificial.
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 well, and 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; attention to language, concepts as symbolic or sign-icon entities, and meaning (via meaning, philosophy is about the world… via synthesis of meaning, it is about discovery)—meaning as concepts and their possible objects and knowledge as meaning realized or as concepts and their objects; the roles of holism and context in fixing meanings; special branches—critique of disciplines and human endeavors.
Metaphysics of questions—in its sense as knowing the world (not a popular sense in the west today), philosophy includes knowing about knowledge and language (popular), which leads to ‘metaphysics of questions’. (1) What is the significance of questions about the world? Indeed, what is a question? (2) What is the merit of the occasional claim that the questions are of equal or greater rank than answers? (3) What are the important questions (including as a special case Kant’s famous three questions)? (4) How can we know our set of questions is important and complete? (5) How can we generate and catalog (the) questions?
Reason—may be considered as falling under or parallel to philosophical and other reflexive thought. “Reason arises in the present and its foundation is not remote; is reflexive (self and cross applying); involves value, feeling, and intuition; deploys tradition imaginatively and critically; includes and is continuous with action; is continuous with philosophy, especially as a way of life that emphasizes reason with feeling.” “Reason includes critique of proof.” See reason.
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.
Introduction—let us first take up the idea of an abstract science. The perfect metaphysics is a union of a perfect correspondence abstract side with a pragmatic side. When the pragmatic side is interpreted by pragmatism itself under the umbrella of the abstract, it too is perfect (it remains imperfect and useful in its traditional use whose value is changed but not eliminated in light of the perfect metaphysics). Thus the pragmatic side is abstract because the correspondence precision is irrelevant under the abstract umbrella. The perfect metaphysics is, even while pragmatic, an abstract science.
What of the other abstract sciences listed below? It is sufficient to consider mathematics. Mathematics begins as empirical but becomes abstract with the axiomatic method. It is abstract as either (1) abstraction from the empirical or (2) study of symbolic structures in themselves and not as representation of the concrete. Is mathematics about this world? As abstraction, some fields of mathematics are. However, with the universal method, all mathematical systems have objects. Thus abstract vs. concrete can be seen as not about an ontological distinction but about degree of detail omitted. This characterization applies to the other abstract sciences.
All abstract sciences fall under metaphysics. They are studied in themselves because of their special interest, methods, and extensive development.
It was seen that the distinction between the concrete and the abstract is not one of kind but of degree of abstraction versus concretion. But the ‘concrete’ sciences also partake of abstraction—while the quantum theory of fields does talk at least approximately of reality, the fields are not known to be ground level reality itself (if there is one) and are almost certainly not a ground level. Therefore a further difference between the concrete and the abstract sciences is means of study; yet the differences are at root pragmatic rather than essential; they all refer to the world (universe). And they all fall under metaphysics as the most general science. Thus metaphysics is the most general science with all sciences under its umbrella.
Metaphysics—study of Being and the given, experience (and metaphysics of language—its metaphysical possibilities and limits, especially given that language is a fundamental tool for metaphysics itself, and indeed of most if not all disciplines), 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 or real 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.
Method—method overlaps other entries in this document and must—for method and content are not essentially distinct, for method is an aspect of content when knowledge and values are the objects;
… Method is found in and as epistemology, argument, logic, establishment of fact, inductive and scientific method, comparative method, transcendental method in philosophy, artistic and engineering design, rhetoric and persuasion—general and political;
… Possibilities of method are exhibited by and in the perfect metaphysics of The Way of Being | A journey: perfect knowledge by abstraction, necessity from abstraction, complete absence of universal applicability of empirical knowledge and generalization there-from.
Abstract sciences and symbolic systems—metaphysics of symbolic systems generally (meta-symbolic and metaphysical study of the expressive and demonstrative possibilities of symbolic systems), and in for the following (e.g. metalinguistic study of limits and possibilities of language); linguistics and language (signs; word, concept, and object); logic; mathematics; computer science; and meta-disciplines.
Physical sciences—classical theories of particles and fields, special and general theories of relativity, quantum theories of particles and fields and their interpretations, standard theory of elementary particles and its problems, quantum theories of gravity—quantum loop gravity and string theory, theoretical and experimental cosmology, cosmological context and origins of the empirical cosmos, condensed matter physics, atomic – molecular – and optical physics, nuclear physics, chemistry and chemical origins of life, and turbulence.
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.
Society, social science and sciences—society and its nature. Change and origins. Groups and institutions. Culture. Anthropology. Civilization. Economics and politics. Law.
Analysis of society: some detail for analysis, e.g. of equilibria:
Change and origins—evolution, dynamics: factors, stable vs unstable and transient.
Groups—person, family, small groups—e.g. clubs and bands, communities, villages – towns – cities – countries – nations – multinational alliances.
Culture—general; social institutions; language for expression, representation, and communication. Institutions of knowledge and information—creation and transmission: schools, universities, academies and research establishments; distribution vs networking—physical and electronic.
Civilization—human civilization-(challenge and opportunity, see journey in being: challenges and opportunities) and universal civilization.
Economics and politics—science and philosophy. Local vs global. Economic: wealth and its distribution, producers – consumers, goods and services and their distribution, means of production – operators, e.g. ‘producers’ vs managers. Political: rulers – ruled (governors – governed), rule by the few (aristocracy – oligarchy) – rule by the many (polity – democracy), appointment by force vs consensus, enforcement of rule vs rule of law)
Law—creation, adjudication, enforcement.
Applied science—method, research and development, design and planning, issues—from local to global to universal.
Applied sciences I—physical science: technological sciences and engineering: drafting, engineering and its fields, industrial engineering and production management, and materials science.
Applied sciences II—biology and psychology: especially medicine and psychiatry, principles, fields, and professions; physical science for medicine and psychiatry.
Applied sciences III—social science: principles and practice, fields, professions.
Applied sciences IV—science for advanced civilization and Being, e.g. (1) up to control of the empirical cosmos and above and (2) embodiment of mind. Philosophical supplement—philosophy of mind, organism, and Being; and the Advaita Vedanta and related systems of Indian Philosophy.
History—the nature of history; “the study of the past as it is described in written documents” vs “ambiguously used to denote either events or records of the past (‘historiography’ is used for history as record)… also ambiguous in denoting natural as well as human events, or records of either”; here, the more inclusive meaning is intended; 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.
History and the linear future (it is not implied that the history of the universe is linear)—the use of history, reason, and the remainder of the system of knowledge, to talk of the future; what can be said at different levels of generality and abstraction vs what is conjecture and possibility; the possible roles of the hierarchy of being in the universe as we know it in the future—especially the roles of the modern cultural system as described here and the issue of whether the future will or may build upon it vs building may require return to a relatively primal or organic level.
Art—its nature; relation to metaphysics and to being-in-the world.
The arts—literature, drama, music, painting, drawing, sculpture, and architecture.
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 for language, mind, and Being—speech, writing, and print; artificial intelligence, dual systems—mind computer interaction and interface, robotics, simulation, bio-machines, organism-machine transference of intelligence, (evolution of) civilization as human-machine-computer interaction.
Technology for advanced civilization and Being—select technologies from the foregoing items.
Theory of transformation of Being—the perfect metaphysics; with agency, intrinsic and instrumental (see templates for transformation). Evaluation of the present cultural system of knowledge, action, and exploration for the linear future (see history and the linear future).
Intrinsic modes of transformation—ideas (analytic and synthetic)—the system of knowledge above, especially through art; earlier culture and tradition—yoga, mysticism, Beyul (immersion in nature as ground of self and perception), and other systems (e.g. primal and post-primal religion); existential approach (existentialism), modes of therapy, and transformation of body – psyche (consciousness studies, experience and nature, psychology, psyche as ground) – person (personality); other catalysts of transformation—alteration of environment, animal empathy, physical modes, e.g. rhythm and deprivation; immersive approaches to knowledge and becoming, politics and economics (complemented by metaphysics and science).
Instrumental modes of transformation—culture and institutions of knowledge: research, communication, education; natural sciences, medicine, engineering, design, technology (see technology) and technological-ideational-shared civilization and population of earth and the universe; social sciences—economics and politics and effective local and global action on earth toward quality of life on earth and beyond.
Dual modes—the foregoing are not perfectly distinct and there is cross-over.
The purpose of the system is the contribution of a resource and:
1. Outline based in the metaphysics of The Way of Being.
2. Guide for Civilization | Individual transformation and realization.
3. Foundation for a knowledge database and encyclopedia (supplement).
For further details, see a supplement to this document. The supplement also has plans for the system, its use, and the database and encyclopedia.