This blog provides some narrative background that enables readers to situate the development of the Unified Theory of Knowledge. In particular, it highlights how and why it emerged in relationship to my being trained as an American clinical psychologist.

My friend, the philosopher Alexander Bard, sometimes chides me by saying that my philosophy is stuck somewhere between Newton and Kant (and thus I have have failed to appreciate thinkers like Hegel, Deleuze, Žižek and many others). In many ways, he is right. Mainstream American psychology can indeed be thought of as being wedged between the science of Isaac Newton and…

A core part of the Unified Theory of Knowledge is that it seeks to develop a coherent naturalistic ontology that includes the science of psychology. Central to this effort is UTOK’s first key idea, which is the Tree of Knowledge System. The ToK System is a descriptive metaphysical system that provides a new theory of reality and our scientific knowledge of it. This blog deconstructs this argument. We begin with defining our terms.

Defining Metaphysics, Ontology, and Epistemology

Metaphysics refers to the concepts and categories that one is using to map the world. We can divide metaphysics into three categories. Pure metaphysics refers to concepts…

Twenty years ago, I uncovered a way to unify scientific knowledge from the behavior of quantum particles studied by physicists to the behavior of cultures studied by anthropologists.

Note that this piece was authored 20 years ago (Feb 2001), that is why it has no recent links.

In his influential book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998), Edward O. Wilson offers the hypothesis that all knowledge, from quanta to culture, can be united into a single, coherent conceptual framework. Wilson readily acknowledged his grand proposal stood as a hypothesis and that consilient unity among the sciences, particularly between the natural and social sciences, has yet to be achieved. The Tree of Knowledge (ToK) System presented here offers a solution demonstrating the validity of Wilson’s consilient hypothesis. …

A Sincere Ironic Essay Justifying the Unified Theory

The Unified Theory of Knowledge is, in many ways, an “atypical” framework for understanding the human condition. One element that makes it atypical is how it functions as a metamodern sensibility. Metamodern means many things (see here and here), but one of the angles of it that I embrace is the sincere ironic attitude that pervades the metamodern way of seeing the world. To be explicit, irony generally conveys meaning by signifying its opposite. It also opens up the “negative” cognitive space of opposing views, metaphorical interpretations, critique, and uncertainty. In contrast, sincerity is about integrity and being deeply truthful…

When the first depiction of what would become the Tree of Knowledge System “fell out of my soul” in a moment of inspiration in 1997, my mind exploded and for months it seemed like I was seeing something new in the diagram every day.

These days it is pretty rare for me to see something new in the vision logic* of the ToK System itself. The standard ToK depiction is now just part of the automatic way in which I see reality and our scientific knowledge of it.

The Unified Theory Of Knowledge (UTOK) provides a way to organize human knowledge and serve as a transcendental beacon and guide toward the cultivation of wisdom energy in the 21st Century. Its fullest representation is in the form of a Garden that symbolizes it as a wisdom philosophy. The UTOK Garden Philosophy is framed here as a set of 10 core principles.

Principle 1: A Wisdom Ethic

Embodying wisdom in the real world is complex and contextual. However, wisdom does have an identifiable conceptual structure. It involves metacognitive reflection grounded in foundational values and oriented toward valued states of being…

The Unified Theory of Knowledge (UTOK) provides an energy, information, naturalistic, behavioral approach to understanding reality, science, and wisdom. It divides the “real-actual-empirical” universe, our knowledge of it, and our contact with it into 10 basic ingredients.

First, there are four emergent planes of existence, called Matter, Life, Mind, and Culture.

Second, there are two “glue fields,” Energy and Information, that connect everything together.

Third, there are four epistemological frames for making truth claims. First, there is phenomenology, which is the first-person empirical lens observing one’s conscious experience of being. Second, there is scientific objectivity, which is the third-person behavioral…

I have much respect for Professor Massimo Pigliucci, and I have enjoyed and learned from many of his writings over the years. And his Science and Philosophy Medium Essay, Why psychology and history don’t have overarching theories — and probably never will, offers a reasonable synopsis of the field of psychology as I encountered it 25 years ago. Namely, the science of psychology existed then — as it does now in the academic mainstream — as collection of fragmented approaches with “no overarching theory” that enables psychologists to effectively define what the field actually is about.

My goal in this…

Mapping Science with the Periodic Table of Behavior

What is science? In A Scientific Method in Brief, Hugh Gauch offers what might be called the “standard modernist view” of science. This is the notion that the enterprise of science is defined by a set of assumptions and presuppositions that include frames such as scientific objectivity, the correspondence theory of truth, the legitimacy of reason, and realism. With these frames in hand, scientists use empirical methods to gather data and test models. …

The Unified Theory of Knowledge affords us a new way to make sense of where we have been, where we are, and where we might be headed. The first key idea in the UTOK is the Tree of Knowledge System. The Tree of Knowledge System is a new map of the territory that arranges our scientific knowledge in relationship to the ontic reality in a way that solves the problem of psychology.

A key aspect of the ToK System is that it divides the universe into different dimensions of behavioral complexity or planes of existence. What is a dimension of…

Gregg Henriques

Professor Henriques is a scholar, clinician and theorist at James Madison University.

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