|2010-07-08, by John Ringland|
I am not very familiar with the "Integral
Theory" memeplex, however I have begun to observe and
contemplate it. In particular my mind is contemplating the
epistemological issue of...
How do Integral theory and naïve
This question can be disected into two questions:
How does Integral theory recognise (i.e. understand,
describe, represent and assimilate) the phenomenon of naïve
realism, either directly or indirectly via related phenomena?
How is Integral theory influenced at an epistemological level
by naïve realism?
If anyone has any comments,
links etc regarding these questions and potential answers, then
please let me know via facebook
or twitter or email.
Regarding the second question,
The following quote from "An
approach to critiques of integral theory" points to an area
in which the influence of naïve realism may potentially be found
within integral theory.
"Theory and metatheory take data
and theory, respectively, as their object. One must build arguments
based on those objects for the validity of theories and metatheories.
It is always possible to critique a theorist's data, their
injunctions for generating it, their interpretation of it, etc.
Wilber's case is no different. The objects of his theorizing and
metatheorizing are open to criticism and some may turn out to be
invalid or weak, in which case we have to consider whether Wilber's
theoretical constructs based on those objects are invalidated or
weakened in turn. It does not automatically follow that this would be
the case. A theory is not inexorably dependent upon the validity of
every data point in its view. But problems of this kind also can't be
dismissed out of hand."
If naïve realism is operating at a deep epistemological level
within the Integral memeplex, then this will show up as a pervasive,
subtle distorting influence on interpretations, distinctions and
categorisations that determine the objects (data, theory) upon which
the memeplex stands.
One probing question would be... To what extent are the various
conceptual objects treated as symbolic representations of ideas that
in some way relate to 'something' that is alleged to exist in some
manner, and to what extent are they imagined to have objective
existence separate from the categories that we use to define/create
"What counts as an object, what
counts as reality is a function of the system of representation we
bring to bare on reality, namely language. So the world doesn't come
to us all sliced up into objects and experiences. What counts as
"this object" or "the same object" or as "a
book" or "a table" or "a glass", that is a
matter of the categories that we impose on the world and those are
linguistic." (John Searle)
What is the difference between a naïve realist and
non-naïve realist epistemological foundation?
I will give an example from physics. Ones beliefs regarding the
nature of observables influences all interpretations of data and
thereby the entire theory. I will describe a naïve realist belief
regarding observables first and then a non-naïve realist one to
indicate the difference.
Classical physics is naïve realist and this shows up in beliefs
such as that the observable properties of a system are embodied by
the system. For example, it was assumed that a particle had a
perfectly defined position and momentum at all times, thus one merely
needed better equipment to measure these to greater accuracy.
Quantum physics is non-naïve realist and this shows up in beliefs
such as that the observable properties of a system are produced
during the act of observation.
“We have no satisfactory reason
for ascribing objective existence
to physical quantities as
distinguished from the numbers obtained
when we make the
measurements which we correlate with them.
There is no real reason
for supposing that a particle has at every
moment a definite, but
unknown, position which may be revealed
by a measurement of the
right kind... On the contrary, we get into a
maze of contradiction
as soon as we inject into quantum mechanics
such concepts as carried
over from the language and philosophy of
our ancestors. . . It would
be more exact if we spoke of ‘making measurements’ of this, that,
or the other type instead of saying that we
measure this, that, or
the other ‘physical quantity’.” (E. C. Kemble)
The Heisenberg uncertainty principle describes the fact that a
quantum system simply does not encode enough information to produce
all observables at the same time. Thus for what are called
complementary observables, the act of observing one observable to
greater accuracy will erase information regarding the other. This is
clearly illustrated by the Stern-Gerlach experiment.
For dicussion and proof re: the Stern Gerlach experiment see the
relevant sections in this ebook “System
Science of Virtual Reality”
For hints re: the consequences of quantum principles on the
broader theoretical framework of science and mass culture see the
article “Signs of an Emerging
What are the fundamental axioms and conceptual objects
postualted by Integral theory?
How are they conceptualised, integrated and used within both the
theory and metatheory? Where should I look to learn more about this
If there was a complete ontological
specification of Integral theory, then the part that I am asking
about is the upper level ontology.
Some information has come in – thank you
“The mono-linear representation,
which is standard in most esoteric teachings, as well as with more
recent thinkers like Edward Haskell (Unified Science) and Ken Wilber
(Integral theory), suffers from a certain inflexibility, because it
assumes that every progression or ascent in consciousness will pass
through the exact same series of stages, and the accounts that people
give of their experiences with various non-ordinary states of
consciousness paint a far more complex picture than this. Moreover,
if there is only a single "spectrum of being", it is
impossible to correlate the different esoteric teachings, because
there will always be things that don't match up. Hence, the situation
is, as always, more complex then the conventional representation
takes it to be.” (Ontodynamics)
Is this true? Does Wilberian Integral theory propose “only a
single spectrum of being”?
“The notion of Spirit is perhaps the
core of Integral philosophy, which integrally separates it, so to
speak, from the Pre-Socratic, Socratic, Medieval, Renaissance,
Modern, 19th Century (in some respects), and Postmodern philosophic
traditions alike. Therefore, it is important to explain and justify
Spirit and Its Actuality in order to establish a firm logical
foundation on which Integral can stand and from which it can be
credited and acknowledged by the Postmodern tradition, which still
dominates the conventional Western philosophic community.”
So 'spirit' is a core conceptual object within Integral theory. Is
it perhaps 'The' core object upon which all other conceptual objects
If not, what other core objects are there? For example, does
integral theory rely on 'God', 'matter', 'mind', 'space', 'time',
'object', 'process', etc as core concepts or are these derivates that