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)!