Tag Archives: Richard McKeon

Walter Watson and David Dilworth’s Archic Matrix

Throughout the history of philosophy, there have been many conflicting stances both towards claiming what exists (ontology), and how we can know our claims are valid (epistemology). There are the oppositions between idealism and realism, between rationalism and empiricism, between thinking all is change and all is changeless, between all is many and all is one, and so on. One approach to overcome these oppositions is to combine them to form their Hegelian synthesis. Another is to deconstruct them à la Derrida. Another pluralistic approach is to consider that there is a germ of truth on each side of the conflicting stance, an aspect of reality for which that stance is valid. Some might think that pluralism is the same as relativism, but it is not. Relativism and pluralism form yet another philosophical opposition like others mentioned above.

Regardless of the validity of pluralism, it can be very useful to analyze what philosophical stances are possible and how they relate to one another. The philosopher Richard McKeon created a rich schema for philosophical semantics that deserves greater recognition. This schema was both simplified and elaborated on by Walter Watson and David Dilworth in their books about the Archic Matrix. There are four main aspects, all exemplified by ancient philosophers: the Sophists, Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle. Everything else is a combination of these original aspects, or essentially a rehashing of them. The main aspects are perspective from the Sophists, reality from Democritus, method from Plato, and principle from Aristotle. These partition “what is”, however it is conceived, into four aspects, each of which can be interpreted in four different ways.

Considering Whitehead’s Criteria, note that perspective has consistency, method has coherency, reality has applicability, and principle has adequacy.

Walter Watson / The Architectonics of Meaning: foundations of the new pluralism

David A. Dilworth / Philosophy in World Perspective: a comparative hermeneutic of the major theories

http://nodnol.net/Watson/index.html

http://www.philosophicalprofile.org/test/index.php

http://wwwhistoricalthreads.blogspot.com/2010/07/walter-watson-architectonics-of-meaning.html

http://ir.lib.sfu.ca/bitstream/1892/9845/1/b31853754.pdf

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Plato’s Divided Line

How to display Plato’s Divided Line? Instead of a continuous line going from low to high as it is usually shown, I’ve shown it as two continuous crossed lines, a fourfold or double dual. Eikasia (imagining) and Pistis (belief) together are Doxa, the phenomenal. Dianoia (understanding) and Noesis (knowledge) together are Episteme, the intelligible. Doxa should indeed be horizontal, corresponding to the phenomenal of Richard McKeon’s Aspects of Knowing, and the subjective or content of other double duals. I believe Eikasia should come before Pistis, as the substance and form of content in Hjelmslev’s Net. Considering the vertical axis, Episteme as Dianoia and Noesis should surely be there for Plato, corresponding to McKeon’s ontic. But how do Dianoia and Noesis relate?

By the measure of the Aspects of Knowing or the Archic Matrix, Dianoia could be considered the method/knowledge and Noesis the reality/knowable of Plato’s Divided Line. Thus Dianoia should be above Noesis, as method/knowledge is above reality/knowable. Yet by other measures, that of the Here and Now or Hjelmslev’s Net, Noesis should be above and Dianoia below. Noesis is the form to the substance of Dianoia. Dianoia can also be thought of as meroscopic, reducing all to number and quantity, and Noesis can be thought of as holoscopic, combining all thing into the hierarchy of forms that culminate in that ultimate form, “The Good”.

The difficulty may be because the lower position, here Noesis, serves both as the position of the real in some fourfolds, as well as the position of earth and matter in others. This is a bias that I would like to avoid, but a resolution will need to come later.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy_of_the_Divided_Line

[*6.158-*6.165, *6.186]

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Archic Matrix: Principles

Creative cause functioning by virtue of (indeterminate) potentiality transcend what is given, functioning caused is without limit different for different things, indeterminate in kind of functioning caused
Elemental cause functioning by virtue of (determinate) potentiality immanent in what is given, from which the functioning emerges same for all things, all things are the same in their being
Comprehensive cause functioning by virtue of actuality (of totality) transcend what is given, functioning of all things transcends any given thing same for all things, all things are differentiated parts of same whole
Reflexive cause functioning by virtue of actuality (of functionality) immanent in what is given, as the functioning itself different for different things, determinate in kind of functioning caused

Since the Archic Matrix can be thought of as the union of four separate fourfolds, each of the fourfolds of perspective, reality, method, principle can be considered on its own. Here is the fourfold of principles consisting of creative, elemental, comprehensive, and reflexive principles. The content of the table and the bottom figure is derived from Walter Watson’s Architectonics of Meaning.

[*6.146-*6.148]

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Archic Matrix: Methods

Agonistic parts are primary, producing whole through endeavors two voices are tested against each other to organize whole close off intermediate wholes because of external forces
Logistic parts are primary, producing whole while remaining same one voice beginning from determinate towards determinate whole extend towards ultimates (least parts)
Dialectic whole determines parts directly two voices are united with each other to organize whole extend towards ultimates (all-inclusive whole)
Problematic whole determines parts reciprocally one voice beginning from indeterminate towards determinate whole close off intermediate wholes because of own internal unity

Since the Archic Matrix can be thought of as the union of four separate fourfolds, each of the fourfolds of perspective, reality, method, principle can be considered on its own. Here is the fourfold of methods consisting of agonistic, logistic, dialectic, and problematic methods. The content of the table and the bottom figure is derived from Walter Watson’s Architectonics of Meaning.

[*6.146-*6.148]

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Archic Matrix: Realities

Existential individual, infinite separate changing (real) from unchanging reality found in appearances (themselves)
Substrative individual, infinite individuations of common substratum persists through change (substratum) reality lies behind appearances (underlying)
Noumenal general, one ideal individual apart from many separate changing from unchanging (real) reality lies behind appearances (transcending)
Essential general, many individuals themselves persists through change (essence) reality found in appearances (that which appears)

Since the Archic Matrix can be thought of as the union of four separate fourfolds, each of the fourfolds of perspective, reality, method, principle can be considered on its own. Here is the fourfold of realities consisting of existential, substrative, noumenal, and essential realities. The content of the table and the bottom figure is derived from Walter Watson’s Architectonics of Meaning.

[*6.146-*6.148]

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Archic Matrix: Perspectives

Personal distinction between (primary) subject and object personal, merely but infinite in number constitutive of (individual) content
Objective distinction between subject and (primary) object impersonal, subjectivity excluded non-constitutive, subordinate to content
Diaphanic unity between subject and object (to be obtained) personal, subordinated to higher and absolute perspectives non-constitutive, subordinate to superior views
Disciplinary unity between subject and object (initial condition) impersonal, subjectivity universalized constitutive of (universal) content

Since the Archic Matrix can be thought of as the union of four separate fourfolds, each of the fourfolds of perspective, reality, method, principle can be considered on its own. Here is the fourfold of perspectives consisting of personal, objective, diaphanic, and disciplinary perspectives. The content of the table and the bottom figure is derived from Walter Watson’s Architectonics of Meaning.

[*6.146-*6.148]

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Richard McKeon’s Aspects of Knowing, Part 2

The duals in Richard McKeon’s system of Philosophical Semantics can also be arranged in a three-dimensional tetrahedron, where the dual pairs are on opposing edges. The universal and particular methods, the phenomenal and ontic interpretations, and the meroscopic and holoscopic principles are shown above.

Universal methods, between knower and knowledge, are applicable to all problems and all subject matters. Particular methods, between the knowable and the known, require distinct methodological procedures for different problems or subject matters.

Holoscopic principles, looking at or seeing the whole, provide a coincidence of knowledge and known. Meroscopic principles, looking at or seeing the parts, separate the knower and the knowable from each other and from influence between each other.

Ontic interpretations, between the knowable and knowledge, derive their character from a reality assumed to transcend or to underlie phenomena and statements. Phenomenal interpretations, between knower and the known, may reduce reality and values to aspects or consequences of phenomena.

Alternatively, the four vertices of  knower, knowledge, known, and knowable can be labeled by their method, principle, and interpretation as shown below.

References:

http://www.richardmckeon.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_McKeon

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Richard McKeon’s Aspects of Knowing

Richard McKeon’s system of Philosophical Semantics arises from the sixteen pairwise and ordered relations between his four aspects of knowing or cognates: knower, knowledge, the known, and the knowable. These sixteen relations can be sorted in four groups of four elements each: methods, interpretations, principles, and selections.

Between knower and knowledge, and between the knowable and the known, arise the four methods of two each: the universal and the particular.

  • From knower to knowledge, the operational method.
  • From knowledge to knower, the dialectical method.
  • From the knowable to the known, the logistic method.
  • From the known to the knowable, the problematic method.

Between knower and the known, and between the knowable and knowledge, arise the four interpretations of two each: the phenomenal and the ontic.

  • From knower to the known, the existential interpretation.
  • From the known to knower, the essential interpretation.
  • From the knowable to knowledge, the entitative interpretation.
  • From knowledge to the knowable, the ontological interpretation.

Between knower and the knowable, and between knowledge and the known, arise the four principles of two each: the meroscopic and the holoscopic.

  • From knower to the knowable, the actional principle.
  • From the knowable to knower, the simple principle.
  • From knowledge to the known, the comprehensive principle.
  • From the known to knowledge, the reflexive principle.

Between each of the aspects of knowing with itself, arise the four selections.

  • From knower to itself, the perspectival selection.
  • From knowledge to itself, the transcendental selection.
  • From the knowable to itself, the reductive selection.
  • From the known to itself, the functional selection.

Each method can be associated with a discursive process: operational with debate, dialectical with dialogue, logistic with proof, and problematic with inquiry. Each method is also associated with a mode of thought which in turn has two moments and one dependency or assumption: the operational method is debate by discrimination and postulation dependent on chosen theses, the dialectical method is dialogue by assimilation and exemplification dependent on changeless models, the logistic method is proof by construction and decomposition dependent on indivisible constituents, and the problematic method is inquiry by resolution and question dependent on discoverable causes.

References:

Richard McKeon / On Knowing–The Natural Sciences

Richard McKeon / Freedom and History and Other Essays: an introduction to the thought of Richard McKeon

Sadly, the following pages are no longer available:

http://net-prophet.net/mckeon/mckeon.htm

http://forums.abrahadabra.com/showthread.php?2331-Unifying-Astrology-and-I-Ching

[*4.47, *5.184-*5.187, *6.20, *6.106]

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