Arthur M. Young’s Fourfold Theory of Process

I have recently come across the philosophical work of Arthur M. Young (AMY). This is an initial impression of that work since I have only read what is available from the web links below, and even then there is a great deal to digest. In addition, there is difficulty in presenting a summary of his theory because of similarities to my ideas as well as substantial differences. I am sure I will need to return to AMY’s theory after more consideration.

I have hinted at a correspondence between several double duals presented in this blog, but I have steered away from claiming that they are all linked to each other – that they are essentially equivalently exchangeable. AMY’s theory links the four elements, the four causes, Jung’s functions of the psyche, geometrical elements and transformations, as well as several other fourfolds into a cosmic theory of reality.

Some of these same fourfolds are present in my theory, and I am considering how others may be introduced. Some not mentioned by AMY are only mentioned in earlier entries on this blog, without presentation. However, from many of these same fourfolds I have reached substantially different conclusions from AMY. I believe this is because AMY’s theory of process is essentially dualistic, whereas my theory appears to be physicalistic, although one might also say it is a process and/or relational theory.

Below is a table of some of the correspondences for AMY’s theory of process:

of the Psyche
Elements of
Purpose Final Intuition Fire Rotation Spirit
Value Material Emotion Water Scale Soul
Form Formal Intellect Air Inversion Mind
Object Efficient Sensation Earth Translation Body

Below is a table of some of the correspondences for my theory:

Four Elements
of Empedocles
The Here and
the Now
Four Causes
Duality of
Time and
Fire Before Efficient Change time Substance
of content
Water After Final Bear time Form of
Air Above Formal Bear
Form of
Earth Below Material Change
of expression


Arthur M. Young / The Reflexive Universe

Arthur M. Young / The Geometry of Meaning

[*6.84-*6.89, *7.78, *7.79, *8.2, *8.62, *8.63]


4 thoughts on “Arthur M. Young’s Fourfold Theory of Process”

  1. interesting. i wonder, do you think this type of fourfold is an actual structure of the world (ontological), or is it mainly our projection, or something akin to a kantian category (epistemological)?

  2. From what I understand of it so far, AMY considered his theory to be a metaphysics, so it makes ontological claims. His ‘meta-fourfold’ is a correspondence of some ontological fourfolds (elements, causes) and some epistemological fourfolds (causes as becauses, functions of the psyche, learning cycle) and others that appear to be mind-body dualistic mixes. I think he argued for the equivalence between the ontological and the epistemological within his metaphysics, or at least that each reflected the other.

    In regards to my as yet incomplete theory, I would like to say that it is also a metaphysics (since that is a stronger claim than an epistemology, at least to me), and I also seem to be heading towards the equivalence of the ontological and epistemological, especially once I explain the double dual of Linear Logic. Using Whitehead’s Criteria I can show consistency and coherency (the rational), but applicability and adequency (the empirical) is yet to be resolved. However, the jury is out so far and I can always fall back on calling it “epistemo-logical”.

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