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"An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

Last post 04-28-2007, 5:48 PM by mindfield. 17 replies.
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  •  04-01-2007, 8:21 AM 21343 in reply to 21317

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
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    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    Thank you for your inciteful response. As I've thinking further on this topic and chatting with folks here I've been appreciating some of the problems you must have faced in trying to put these articles together.

    I think that, after some thought, I have been drifting toward some of the same conclusions you have stated here. I agree that one of the biggest problems with any sort of discussion of an Integral Science is what is "Science". I think you've hit upon a good working definition here, and indeed, it is my favorite one to work from as well; that "science" must work from some sort of 'objective' or 3rd-person perspective. This at least seems to me to be about the least controversial definition that I could think of.

    And working from that definition, yes, we should defintately try and push looking at interiority from an exterior or 3rd person or objective perspective. As I've tried to point out, this kind of endevour is going to face some very hard problems when moving beyond human studies, and we need to better understand the nature of consiousness or interiority (the mind-body problem) so that we can directly cross the gap between exterior and interior and learn how to intersubject with rocks & quarks. Alternatively we need a much better objective understanding of the purely interior tools such as meditation which claim to be able to extend direct realization beyond the human animal. It's not clear to me at the moment which is the more promising direction, and probably we should look at both avenues.

    Certainly you're right that we shouldn't just stop because we can't talk to rocks. There are lots of interesting problems that can and should be addressed. We do need to be quite careful in our approaches to these problems though as we will be treading new territory and the waters are muddy enough already, particularly the 'science vs. religion' thing which seems to have degenerated to the point that it's difficult for anyone to say anything sensible anymore lest it be taken as ammuniton for one 'side' or the other. If Integral Science and Integral Spirituality can keep a clear head and stay above the fray then some progress might be made, but the last thing we want to do is make things murkier.

    Oh and thanks for the quotes. It's nice to remember that we're not all soulless jerks. :)


    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
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  •  04-02-2007, 4:17 PM 21392 in reply to 21343

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    Soulless Jerks! No way!

    I too have been marginalized by people who found out that my background contained science. In my "progressive" graduate school I was the "Jerk Scientist from NY" - which was only partly true....

    Science as a form of knowledge gathering, and scientism as an unreflected upon metaphysical belief. Of course they are related, usually as some admixture in the culture at large (and definitely in the assumptions of many).

    I think what i was trying to bring to the dialogue here, regarding the quadrants, was that we cannot artificially separate the influence of the quadrants when we go about our knowledge quests. To my mind, that is the spirit of the quotes that Kurt posted - an intuitive understanding that there are other perspectives that have an enormous impact on empirical science as an UR lens of knowledge gathering.

    How many "scientific" studies are intentionally put into moratorium for political reasons? How many Universities still allow professors to perform "pure" research? What about parapsychology, a field that undertook a rigorous meta-analysis of ALL their studies, including those in moratorium (thus answering an easy though untrue criticism that these scientists stop their studies when their a priori assumptions are not being met) - and their meta analysis showed a greater robustness than those of most other disciplines (see the "Towards a Science of Consciousness" issue of The Journal of Consciousness Studies from 1998).

    Perhaps I am just another jealous psychologist :-)

    But my point is not that psychology is a science - I don't want it to mimic empiricism. My point is this - how much of the search for "objective truth" has ever been "objective" ?? I don't think it ever has. And maybe it can never be truly objective. Isn't that the postmodern criticism as well?

    But it can be Integral.
    By acknowledging the limitations inherent in differentiating the three main perspectives (i.e., the 4 Quads), the study for objective truth can both Limit the unconscious influence from the other aspects of our consciousness, And it can keep the permeable boundary of inspiration open.

    I don't think Science - and I mean the UR-specific, search for objective truth - has EVER been "free" to do its business. There are always tetra-arising influences - for better or worse.

    This is the kind of dialogue that I love - I have a new found appreciation for the rigid style of some of my friends - maybe we will be like quarks one day, and consciousness will have transcended so high that accountability and reason are a deeply ingrained kosmic habit, no matter what the circumstances!

    cheers to you too!
    -David Z.
    Gregarious Curmudgeon
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  •  04-28-2007, 5:48 PM 22113 in reply to 21227

    • mindfield is not online. Last active: 02-28-2008, 6:40 PM mindfield
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    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"


    I think here you hit on an area that is extremely relevant to the question that you originally posed, namely:

    "To take the case mentioned in the article, how exactly is particle physics supposed to remain open to interiority? What does it mean to study the interiors of quarks? I can sit on my zafu and meditate on the question of whether quarks have buddha-nature (to which the answer is presumably 'mu'). But what would I do with that realization? We have no way of intersubjecting with the interiors of quarks. They don't write poetry, or if they do, they don't publish in any way that we can read. Subatomic particles behave as if they are pure exteriors. They may have interiors, but if they don't show any signs of intention, why bother? "

     I wonder if it might be valuable to reframe the original focus: does an Integral approach to the physical sciences necessarily involve inquiring into the interiors of the objects under investigation? Might the real opportunities for advancement lie rather in deeper inquiry into the interiors of the subjects doing the investigating?

    I tend towards the latter emphasis and think there are great leaps to be made here. I have recently been doing work in this area in relation to the very deeply entrenched problems relating to misinterpretations in thermodynamics, and particularly those relating to the second law of thermodynamics. In relation to this, some comments that you make are I think particularly pertinent. You wrote:

    Let me try to elaborate: You mention the discovery of the Benzene ring as being illuminated by a dream. Well, sure that sort of thing is possible, and probably even common. Inspiration in any human activity is still a somewhat myserious process, and if you want to understand that then you should certainly be looking at the UL and probably UR in some sort of integrated fashion. However, the source of the inspiration was meaningless to the scientific breakthrough. The snake dream was a metaphor that led to a model for the structure of Benzene which was then put forward and justified purely in terms of the language, injunctions, and data of physical and organic chemistry. The snake metaphor was a means to an end, and is not science. Benzene is not a snake, does not behave like a snake, etc. This is why the metaphor is dropped and not included in the scientific discussion of Benzene. It's interesting from a standpoint of understanding the story of the human being inventing the idea of a Benzene ring, but it is not relevant to the science itself.”

    What struck me as particularly significant here was the idea that the source of inspiration and the scientific breakthrough were not connected. In fact there has been some very good work done by Theodore Brown extending Lakoff & Johnson’s theory of conceptual metaphor to the practice of science which looks more deeply at this (Making Truth: Metaphor in Science). Brown makes a strong case outlining the connections between (or perhaps it is better to say that he does not dissociate in the first place) metaphor understanding and formalised models in science, based on Lakoff & Johnson’s work. Incidentally, Lakoff & Johnson’s work is based on an enactivist cognitive philosophy (they call this “experientialist”), which is closely aligned with the enactment principle in IMP. Jerome Bruner is another person who is very worthwhile looking up in relation to this, in particular his consideration of the much overlooked hypothesis generating aspect of the practice of science (see Actual Minds, Possible Worlds). What is very important in this is the way that metaphors by which phenomena studied by the physical sciences are conceptualised have associated with them sets of entailments that in turn structure the way that we theorise about the phenomena. I have found conceptual metaphor theory very powerful for better understanding where and how things have gone astray in relation to understanding of thermodynamics.

    By the way, I haven’t read the original articles from AQAL. I stumbled across this discussion by chance, and just thought that my recent experience doing some work in this area might be of value to the conversation. It is great to see this type of inquiry arising.


    Josh Floyd

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