[iDC] regarding a knowledge hierarchy

Paul Prueitt psp at ontologystream.com
Sun Jul 10 00:31:12 UTC 2011

IDC forum:

Our recent discussion regarding a knowledge hierarchy tracks one of  
the themes of our proposal to President Obama, creating a new three  
dimensional simulation world to support liberal education,  
specifically transition from high school to college.


The purpose of this proposal is to address the social need for  
educated citizens, not necessarily for a trained work force.   The  
cart should be placed behind the horse.

Our argument is that present society is overly consumer oriented.   
Training individuals to be participants in this consumer economy has  
real long term dangers.  We take one additional step and suggest that  
science as practiced today is controlled by a consumer orientation.   
We have a perceptual blind spot which we cannot resolve without  
looking at the philosophical origins of scientific reductionism.  We  
must turn to the humanities.

Science as practiced has left no avenue unguarded to allow a review  
of its foundations.  We create a paradox, since this investigation is  
inconsistent with the view that science has of itself.  Science is  
less and less open to an inquiry into its foundational assertions.

Perhaps the increasing cultural rejection of basic instruction in  
elementary college level mathematics is a systemic balance to an  
incorrect elevation of science to a type of ritualistic practice. one  
that is purely utilitarian in nature.   Such a systemic phenomenon  
might not have any possibility of description using reductionistic  
science.   Thus science has the ability to capture itself so that it  
may ignore the paradox.

More generally, science, as practiced may not have the ability to  
handle a class of  open questions: induction, non locality, or  
emergence of a whole having properties different from any sum of its  
parts.  http://www.liftingpedagogy.com/pdf/DigitalSocialMedia.pdf

The situation is humbling, to say the least.

The position taken is that current science, and the underlying  
mathematics, is flawed because it creates the impression of  
ontological correctness, e.g., a perfect match between nature and the  
sciences or mathematics.  This match, or any mismatch, is central to  
various philosophical traditions, including those from the Buddhist  

The approach made by Dharmakirti, a seventh century Asian philosopher  
comes to mind.  John Dune's book, Foundations of Dharmakiri's  
Philosophy, lays out the issues, using a conceptual device called  
"commentarial strata".  The device has a long lineage in Buddhist  
scholarship, the history of which is reviewed also in Dune's book.   
In my mind, the nature of commentarial strata is related to a central  
teaching of the Buddha; e.g., that there are three types of learning;  
each which is conceptualized by an ontological consideration:  
knowledge of self, knowledge of other, knowledge of self and other.   
A core result is that these three types of learning are not  
"coherent" with each other, because of the nature of existence.  The  
universe is multi-coherent.

In other words, there is no theory of knowledge that creates a single  
"universally best" "coherent" system for understanding human experience.

The use of stratification is central also to how the Bridge  
technology and its knowledge management mechanisms are designed,  
although the approach is based on the logics of J. S Mill and C S  
Pierce as synthesized in Soviet era cybernetics.  A review of this  
work would take some time, but in essence relies on a systems' theory  
in which no system is fully "isolated" from a system of systems  
having non local interaction, organizational stratification,  
emergence and induction (at a distance).  Thus formal models based on  
a strong form of coherence must fail to model the system perfectly.   
A means to generate a situational grounding, using observation,  
logics and logical atoms is then required.  This generative  
architecture is discussed at reverseTwitter.com.  Particular instance  
to universal category reification theory is involved and the work is  

The classical hierarchy is that of a philosophical framing for all  
social exchange of knowledge, with mathematics arising from that  
framing and with science being served by mathematical "truth".   The  
failure of Western philosophy is in NOT holding this line.

Perhaps is is ok to suggest that the framing got lost in mal-formed  
inquiries about a supposed separation between mind and body.  In any  
case, our culture is not well served by this cognitive distinction  
between a mind and a body (see John Eccles work on the mind body  
interface in probability space mediated by ATP conversion of energy  
at the sub cellular level in neurons).

The cultural need is that humanities establish a theory of knowing,  
an epistemology, which informs us about how we as a human society  
constructs formal representations within the sense of coherence.

Ah, there is the rub; coherence as a measure of truthfulness.

Coherence as a measure of coherence, as in logical rationalism.  But  
perhaps Godel and Church and Roger Penrose point out that the world  
is not precisely perfectly coherent.   The discussion has long  
historical roots in both the East and the West.

There is evidence that a multi-coherent science will soon develop so  
as to address issues now too often left outside of our view of the  
physical world, and outside of our educational system.

The humanities could lead in this effort.

Steve Prueitt

psp at educationWorlds.com
also posted at  http://www.liftingpedagogy.com/papers/ 

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