Archive for the ‘fourfolds’ Category

The Rigor-Relevance Framework

January 18, 2019

The Rigor-Relevance Framework is a fourfold developed by the International Center for Leadership in Education (www.leadered.com). It is an instrument to aid in planning and evaluation for teachers and their students. It is composed of

  • Acquisition: Low rigor and low relevance
  • Application: Low rigor and high relevance
  • Assimilation: High rigor and low relevance
  • Adaptation: High rigor and high relevance

Rigor (from low to high) is said to be based on the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Thinking (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation; or revised as remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create).

Relevance (from low to high) is said to be based on Daggett’s Application Model (knowledge in one discipline, apply in discipline, apply across disciplines, apply to real-world predictable situations, apply to real-world predictable situations).

There seems to be quite a bit of information associated with this center so I’ll need to look at it some more!

Further Reading:

http://leadered.com/our-philosophy/rigor-relevance-framework.php

https://www.kaganonline.com/free_articles/dr_spencer_kagan/367/Kagan-Connections-The-Rigor-Relevance-Framework

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

Compare to other learning cycles (I thought I had more than one…)

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2011/06/11/kolbs-learning-cycle/

[*11.30]

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Capitalistic Values

December 22, 2018

Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!

― Ebenezer Scrooge (post ghosts) in “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens

I’ve been thinking about the fourfold shown above off and on for the past two years because the US federal government (consisting of the 115th Congress and the 45th President) are by majority members of the conservative “grand old” party. This government hasn’t done much except cater to the wealthy and powerful, undo environmental protections, estrange our world allies, and destroy our institutions.

Since socialism in any form is anathema to this administration, capitalism is king, and not capitalism with a conscious either. So I present to you four causes as means or four values as ends of capitalism. These values are principles that only a Scrooge could love!

For the efficient cause (left quadrant), instead of intentional actions I have chosen the value of Money. Finances, wealth, and currency are other synonyms. Money grants the bearer supreme choice in what they can obtain or choose to do. Laws try to restrict the choices that money can be used for or the circumstances where it can be used.

For the material cause (bottom quadrant), instead of substantive parts I have chosen the value of Property. Ownership and capital are related concepts. You really can’t use something to make something else unless you own it, so owning as much as possible is paramount!

For the final cause (right quadrant), instead of normative performance or function I have chosen the value of Power. Influence, capability, potential, authority, capacity are all related. To find out if power is an end in itself, ask the capitalist!

For the formal cause (upper quadrant), instead of necessary structure I have chosen the value of Mastery. Information, understanding, knowledge, or purview are options, but not as nicely nuanced as mastery. Power is nice but without mastery it’s aimless. Mastery is great but without power it’s useless.

As more and more wealth is acquired by fewer and fewer individuals, it may be time to rethink what our actions as a nation have given us on these last dark days of 2018. But a nice incremental change is coming next year and it is none too soon. Put that in your Christmas pipe and “smock” it!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebenezer_Scrooge

Some might think that since I promote a fundamental physicalism (informed by fourfolds) that I endorse economic materialism or even a predatory capitalism “red in tooth and claw”. Physicalism is a metaphysical stance towards the natural world whereas economic materialism is usually thought to be one of the bad aspects of consumer culture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_materialism

A tip of the hat to Richard Neil Abbott for the Scrooge quote! Please check out his blog at

http://www.unchangingchange.com

[*9.192]

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Conscious Capitalism

December 20, 2018

Conscious Capitalism is a philosophy of business and also a corporation that tries to promote better social practices than ordinary (predatory) capitalism. Or perhaps it is mainly intended to make you (either as consumer or producer) think that capitalism can be kinder and gentler.

Conscious Capitalism consists of four principles:

  • Conscious Leadership
  • Higher Purpose
  • Conscious Culture
  • Stakeholder integration

John Mackey one of the authors for a book about Conscious Capitalism, and is well-known as being a co-founder of Whole Foods, the grocery store chain that Amazon bought in 2017. Mackey has been in the news over the years as being against the Affordable Care Act, anti-union, and even skeptical about human-caused climate change. I’m not sure how he stands on these issues now.

From the Conscious Capitalist Credo on their web site:

“We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to even more.”

So it is basically capitalism with a conscious. Don’t get me wrong, if their corporation can make a difference in the way that capitalism is usually practiced then I’m all for it. But it is likely too little, too late.

Further Reading:

https://www.consciouscapitalism.org/

John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia / Conscious Capitalism: liberating the heroic spirit of business (2013)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mackey_(businessman)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_Foods_Market

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscious_business

[*11.19]

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Flow

December 17, 2018

Speaking of flow, I see that the psychological concept of flow is based around a distinction of low-to-high challenge vs. low-to-high skill. When both challenge and skill are high, an efficient mental state can be engaged. From Wikipedia:

“In positive psychology, flow, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.”

  • Flow: high challenge and high skill
  • Control: medium challenge and high skill
  • Relaxation: low challenge and high skill
  • Boredom: low challenge and medium skill
  • Apathy: low challenge and low skill
  • Worry: medium challenge and low skill
  • Anxiety: high challenge and low skill
  • Arousal: high challenge and medium skill

Missing is medium challenge and medium skill. I wonder what that is?

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi / Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

[*11.22]

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The Free Energy Principle

November 27, 2018

Below is a link to a fascinating article about Karl Friston, whose research on the “free energy principle” (also known as active inference) tries to explain how biological (or even artificial) systems maintain or even increase their organization. Without much explanation, here are some details. The model is a system with four main variables:

  • Sense (s)
  • Action (a)
  • Internal States (r or μ)
  • Hidden States (ψ)

Sense and action divide the internal states of the system from the hidden states external to it. This division is called a “Markov Blanket”. I’ve tried to show the equations between the variables correctly but I’m not too sure if I have them right. They seem to change from paper to paper. F is an expression of the free energy, but I’m not sure what f is at the moment, except for being some sort of “flow”.

Further Reading:

https://www.wired.com/story/karl-friston-free-energy-principle-artificial-intelligence/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_energy_principle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markov_blanket

http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/15/138/20170792

[*11.6]

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The Law of the Instrument

November 16, 2018

Sometimes I wonder if I overdo this fourfold thing. The law of the instrument says something like “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Dividing things up into four parts, or bringing four things together into a whole, is the belabored theme of this blog. Fourfolds are my hammer, and what a nice hammer it is!

When my father was in a nursing home, he had a roommate for a period of time that would just draw houses continuously. Not nice architectural renderings either, but houses like a child would, where you can see three sides of it at once (the front and both sides). I might be doing that one day, endlessly drawing fourfold diagrams in endless fourfold permutations.

Speaking of hammers, Martin Heidegger also wrote at length about them in regards to equipment or instrumentality. He contrasted a working hammer that was “ready-to-hand” to a broken hammer that was “present-at-hand”. The working hammer recedes into the background of its ready utility, but the broken hammer, being useless, is merely present in pieces.

The notion of science as negative enterprise was raised by Heidegger since scientific investigation only gives you the present-at-hand, and not the smooth extension of ability that is ready-to-hand. I disagree, because how can you fashion a hammer in the first place or repair it if you aren’t full cognizant of its constituents and construction?

I realize that some worthwhile analyses are made by this approach to technology. For example, few are able to construct or repair modern automobiles or smartphones. In a sense, that should make Heidegger happy, since most are using this modern equipment with no clue as to how they work. And if they wear out or break or become obsolete, they are too costly to repair or upgrade and are sent to the scrapheap. But I say this tongue-in-cheek.

Heidegger’s “tool analysis” is the basis for much of his later writings, specifically concerning “das Geviert” (simply meaning square). If tool analysis is itself a tool, what happens when you apply tool analysis towards itself? Does one get an infinite fractal of fourfolds, ascending and descending, approaching and receding?

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_instrument#Abraham_Maslow

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/if_all_you_have_is_a_hammer,_everything_looks_like_a_nail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heideggerian_terminology#Present-at-hand

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heideggerian_terminology#Ready-to-hand

Look at this painting!

https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/das-geviert-94252

[*10.193]

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The Question Concerning Technology

November 10, 2018

“The Question Concerning Technology” by Martin Heidegger is not an easy read. This short essay is full of unusual terms and phrases. I think part of the reason for this is Heidegger’s style of writing, and part is the capacity of the German language to build compound words easily. Thus in the English translation you have several hyphenated words like “standing-reserve” and “bringing-forth”. Of course, difficult terminology seems to be typical for Heidegger, but there are also many words taken from classical philosophy that have special meanings, which Heidegger was well versed in.

In this essay we first learn that our question is really a questioning and will be a process that “builds a way” to understanding, so initially we are more interested in the journey than the destination. The way that is desired is towards a “free relationship” between an “open” human existence and the “essence of technology” (essence being what a thing is, as if we can know exactly, so finding out is part of our journey). Second, we are told that the essence of technology is not technological, so to try to find what this essence is by using more technology is to be in an “unfree” relationship with it.

Third, our question concerning technology is really asking what technology is. A common and “correct” definition is that it is both a means to an end, and a human activity. The former is the instrumental aspect of technology, and the later is the anthropological aspect. But Heidegger does not think that these two aspects are the complete or “true” ones, and so our questioning leads us to inquire as to the essence of instrumentality. For that, we turn next to consider the general causes of things and their effects, and so on to examine the classical Four Causes of Aristotle.

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the Four Causes, as I have mentioned them frequently. I consider them an important paradigmatic four-fold, and have tried to develop a more modern version of them with my four-fold Structure-Function. However, Heidegger was no friend to modernity, and his treatment of the Four Causes and the remainder of his essay shows that plainly. But let us continue on with our journey before we spoil our quest. As a reminder, here is a quick list of the Four Causes:

  • Efficient Cause – causa efficiens – Logos
  • Material Cause – causa materialis – Hylos
  • Formal Cause – causa formalis – Eidos
  • Final Cause – causa finalis – Telos

By thinking about causes in this way, can we discover the essence of causality? Heidegger explains that what causality is involves the things responsible for the bringing about of other things or what kinds of things a thing is indebted to in order for it to occur. (Others have argued that instead of causes another good name is the four “becauses”, i.e. the reasons for or the explanations of things). Note that Heidegger uses the terms responsibility and indebtedness to give the Four Causes (what I consider to be) a normative aspect.

Heidegger presents to us a silver chalice as an example of how to think about the the Four Causes in relation to Greek thought. Hylos (or hyle) is the material we start with, Eidos is its form or aspect, Telos is responsible for bringing together both (but not as aim or purpose but as bounds or context), and all three are indebted to… Logos? Heidegger now departs from how Aristotle was understood to view the causes named after him, and says so himself, in order to argue that these four ways of responsibility and indebtedness are really what these causes are all about.

To be continued… maybe…

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Question_Concerning_Technology

http://www.psyp.org/question_concerning_technology.pdf

http://www.english.hawaii.edu/criticalink/heidegger/guide1.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heideggerian_terminology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_causes

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-causality/

Notes for Further Writing:

Interesting articles on Shintoism and Heidegger:

https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/spirited-away-meets-heidegger-we-killed-the-gods-with-technology-but-the-sacredness-of-life-is-continuous-auid-1104

https://prezi.com/hvul4-ped2z4/shintoism-and-spirited-away/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinto

Interesting article on language and technology (tool-making) arguing that they are related: The structure of language mirrors the methodological structure of tool making:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/06/toolmaking-language-brain/562385/

A nice symmetric view of the Four Causes as things undergoing changes is shown in:

Boris Henning / The Four Causes, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.106, No.3 (March 2009), pp. 137-160

[*10.114]

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Viete’s Method of Constructing Pythagorean Triples

October 24, 2018

Number is the ruler of forms and ideas, and the cause of gods and daemons.

— Pythagoras, as attributed by Iamblichus

This diagram shows (but not to scale ;-)) a clever method of constructing two Pythagorean triples given any two other Pythagorean triples due to Francois Viete.

Given (a, b, c, d, e, f are integers):

a^2 + b^2 = c^2
d^2 + e^2 = f^2

two other triples are found by synaeresis:

A = ae + bd
B = be – ad

and diaeresis:

D = ae – bd
E = be + ad

(I guess a, b, d, and e can always be picked so that B > 0 and D > 0, that is, be > ad and ae > bd?)

so that:

A^2 + B^2 = (cf)^2
D^2 + E^2 = (cf)^2

Voila!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_triple

Special thanks to Pat’s Blog for this little gem:

https://pballew.blogspot.com/2018/10/viete-on-pythagorean-triples.html

Additionally, these relationships are also used in Fermat’s Theorem on sums of 2 squares

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proofs_of_Fermat%27s_theorem_on_sums_of_two_squares

[*9.138, *10.186, *10.187]

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A Four-dimensional Theory of Self-governance

October 23, 2018

Here’s an interesting sounding book by Suzy Killmister: “Taking the Measure of Autonomy: a four-dimensional theory of self-governance.”

The Amazon blurb:

This book takes a radically different approach to the concept of autonomy. Killmister defends a theory of autonomy that is four-dimensional and constituted by what she calls ‘self-definition,’ ‘self-realisation,’ ‘self-unification,’ and ‘self-constitution.’ While sufficiently complex to inform a full range of social applications, this four-dimensional theory is nonetheless unified through the simple idea that autonomy can be understood in terms of self-governance. The ‘self’ of self-governance occupies two distinct roles: the role of ‘personal identity’ and the role of ‘practical agency.’ In each of these roles, the self is responsible for both taking on, and then honouring, a wide range of commitments. One of the key benefits of this theory is that it provides a much richer measure not just of how autonomous an agent is, but also the shape—or degree—of her autonomy. Taking the Measure of Autonomy will be of keen interest to professional philosophers and students across social philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, and action theory who are working on autonomy.

From the NDPR review:

This ambitious book cuts against the grain. Killmister lays out a framework for thinking about autonomy that eschews the received view in many quarters. Difficulty reconciling the various uses to which “autonomy” is put has led to calls for a moratorium on our use of the term. Killmister demurs. Good for her. Her view centers on the idea that there are several dimensions to autonomy, and while they are related, one may fall short in one but not the others. The result is a nuanced theory of autonomy that illuminates how the concept applies in a range of domains and to a range of agents.

Further Reading:

https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/taking-the-measure-of-autonomy-a-four-dimensional-theory-of-self-governance/

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2016/05/28/the-fourfold-self/

[*10.83, *10.84]

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Lodge 49

October 19, 2018

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

— William Shakespeare, from The Tempest

As a dabbler in Alchemical concepts I was heartened that the American TV show “Lodge 49” was renewed for a second season. The show is mostly set in Long Beach, CA at the current time and revolves around characters who are members of the fictional fraternal social club Lodge 49, a local chapter of a greater fictional organization called the Order of the Lynx. The history of the Order is mysterious and is revealed slowly as it is told to one of the main characters who becomes a new member. There are many Alchemical references in the artwork on the lodge’s walls and in the literature and philosophy of the Order itself (as well as beliefs by a few members) but for the most part the members use the lodge as a gathering place to socialize and to network for personal and business needs.

There is a great sense of ennui and nostalgia in the member’s lives, in the atmosphere of the lodge itself, and the larger world outside. The golden days of yesteryear are past. The economic climate is mostly dire because businesses are shuttering or are corporate nightmares and in general people are not happy in their personal lives and their life’s work. The new member (who could represent our “everyman” but perhaps the Fisher King himself) at first seems to be rather worthless but we soon see has been dealt some rough blows recently. And yet he still seems optimistic and hopeful for a better tomorrow and a return to better days. His sister is more worthwhile but not by much, working a dead end job and living a life that’s going nowhere except trying to help her brother. A sadness and disappointment hangs about in most everyone’s lives.

Our everyman’s enthusiasm and hope soon infects the other lodge members but as we learn more of their backstories and the history of the lodge we feel that a bright future for all is still very much in doubt. Everything is in flux, but there is always a give and take to be considered. Here the idea of “equivalent exchange” comes to mind. To gain something from the world, something else must be given up. To win something, something else must be lost. In the long game, perhaps knowledge is the ultimate prize to be granted, and what we must relinquish is our innocence and naiveté. But not our hope, because without it we are lost and just going through the motions, as many of these characters are.

Alchemy has been seen in modern thought to be an analogy for personal growth and individuation. Carl Jung was a pioneer in this as he explored the meaning of dreams and the unconscious. As the alchemist strived to transmute base substances into gold (the element that was thought to embody both material and spiritual perfection), so a person should work to transform his life and its meaning into the highest forms that they can obtain. This is indeed possible because what constitutes all that is superior, also constitutes all that is inferior. As Above, So Below (from the Emerald Tablet and which is the title of the first episode).

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lodge_49

https://www.carl-jung.net/alchemy.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher_King

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_Tablet

The title of the last episode:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_fathom_five_(catchphrase)

Also see:

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2013/12/06/the-tempest-and-forbidden-planet/

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2010/08/11/a-warning/

[*10.180]

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