A Couple of Loops About Thinking and Then Doing

The Shewhart Cycle (also known as the PDCA) is an iterative design and management cycle for continuous quality improvement of products and processes. It is named after Walter Shewhart who is known as the father of statistical quality control. The more recent name, PDCA, has several variations in the literature. The PDCA or Shewhart Cycle consists of four parts:

    • Plan
    • Do
    • Check
    • Act

Similarly, the OODA Loop is an iterative framework for the improvement and management of decision processes. It is used in various domains such as business, litigation, and military strategy. The OODA Loop consists of four parts:

    • Observe
    • Orient
    • Decide
    • Act

Learning Cycles are similar to Design Cycles in that the process to be improved is learning and the product to be improved is knowledge. It would be interesting to compare the two types of cycles to understand their similarities and differences. Some of each type have four stages but others have more or less. I have mentioned several learning cycles with four steps already in this blog, the Kolb learning cycle and the Scientific Method.

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The Tree of Knowledge System

The Tree of Knowledge (ToK) System posits four hierarchical planes of existence having separate dimensions of complexity mapped out or studied by four different kinds of sciences:

  • Matter/Object: mapped by Physical Sciences
  • Life/Organism: mapped by Biological Sciences
  • Mind/Animal: mapped by Psychological, Cognitive, and Behavioral Sciences
  • Culture/Person: mapped by Human Social Sciences

The ToK System is reminiscent of other “big history” or “cosmic evolution” schemas such as Tyler Volk’s Combogenesis except for the special consideration for the mental and psychological (i.e. subjective) aspects of existence. I would think that this is primarily due to the fact that the developer of the system, Professor Gregg Henriques, is a psychologist.

In order to support his focus on consciousness and psychology, Henriques has developed several theories to address the “problem of psychology”, for example the Justification Systems Theory and the Behavioral Investment Theory. With the ToK System, these and several other key ideas, he claims he has a “Unified Theory of Knowledge” (UToK)!

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Combogenesis: a constructive, emergent cosmos