Here's a new piece of writing by Ken (though some of it looks like it is copied from an older text). 

Integral Semiotics

I have skimmed it, but I'm too swamped at the moment to give it careful attention.  I look forward to coming back to this in a few days.

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Regarding Balder's link to the Lingam's final post, the 5th paragraph of p. 5 shows the generative process of semiosis beginning in the UL quadrant! This has been a longstanding criticism of his work, that not only semiosis but everything begins in the UL. It is not tetra-enacted; the origin is in consciousness. And what is its address? UL of the assholon Spirit! Still arguing privileged access...

Yes, I can see some parallel's to Bryant's (and, really, originally Bhaskar's) notion of the withdrawn in those passages as well.  

Elsewhere, Peirce has explicitly related Firstness to the pronoun, "I."

Peirce's writings are pervaded by triadic divisions, which, given that he felt himself to be at heart a mathematician, he expressed most basically in numerical form as Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness. While still in his twenties Peirce first began to formulate these divisions using personal pronouns: I (Firstness), IT (Secondness), and THOU (Thirdness). In Peirce's evolutionary cosmology, Thirdness, or triadic relation, or semeiosis, is considered to be a fact of the universe and not simply limited to the human mind, and therein lies the difference between Peirce and Kant, and between Peirce and much of modern linguistics and language theory.

This is suggestive, since you may recall some speculative references by several Whiteheadians (Shaviro, I think, and Matt over on Footnotes2Plato) that the "withdrawn" might be correlated, in a very basic way, with "interiority."  And the reference to Thirdness, above, is reminiscent of OOO's insistence that all objects engage in "translation."

However, this entry by Bryant offers some cautions re: comparisons of OOO and Peircean semiotic ontology.

I'm thinking that perhaps Wilber's own UL emphasis highlights those aspects of Peirce that do the same. Also recall discussions that the withdrawn is not the inside of an object, which I even criticized Bryant of apparently supporting.

Not to go too far astray from the topic here, but would you consider the withdrawn to be "nonlocal," perhaps in a specialized sense?  (This is something I was thinking about earlier, in the pre-positionality of the withdrawn).

I'm reading through Ken's piece on Integral Semiotics -- the complete essay is available here -- and I find I am both appreciating it, and stumbling over various aporias and issues.  At some point I'll take a second pass through it and take notes on the questions that are arising. 

At the recent ITC, I commented in the pre-conference meeting with Bhaskar that I didn't feel that Ken fully took account of some of Bhaskar's most salient arguments in this new essay, and (reading it more carefully now) I still feel that is largely the case.

For instance, in situating Saussure's referent -- the "real thing" being referred to by a signifier and conceived or understood as a "signified" -- in (and only in) particular phenomenal worldspaces, Ken is remaining squarely within the empirical.  This would appear to be an example of the epistemic fallacy, esp. if the so-called "real thing" is thereby being identified with its mode of access. 

Where Wilber appears to sidestep this, however, is when he says,

But the idea is that when we get rid of the arcane notion of a fixed pregiven world of fixed pregiven objects, with the point being to map them accurately, and replace that with the vision of a universe composed of sentient holons with perspectives, the idea becomes understanding those perspectives and what they disclose and enact, and that means understanding the Kosmic Address of those holons -— or their relation in relation to all other holons...

This would appear to be, or could be framed has, his "Bhaskarian" transcendental ontological deduction of "the way the world must be" to account for our (multifarious, mutliplitious) experience(s) of it.  (I argued something like this in Sophia Speaks.)

Now, the point Wilber is making about the need to situate the objects of our discourse in worldspaces is a good one, I think, even from an OOO or CR perspective: objects withdraw from themselves and each other, at the same time that they are self-othering (in shining qualitative or phenomenal displays), and therefore objects or beings are always engaging in translations and enactments of each other (Wilber's generative play of perspectives).  Thus, when we refer to particular things -- dogs, pumpkins, rail cars -- we are, as long as we name them and conceive of them and situate them in various relations, in fact referring to worldspace-situated (enacted) objects or entities.  In OOO terms, objects don't directly "touch" but always encounter their own constructions or translations of each other.   I think this is what Wilber means by "referent."  But in Bhaskarian and OOO-ian understanding, such "sensual (perceived/enacted) objects" are on the plane of the empirical, which should not be confused with the real -- which is "withdrawn" and exceeds epistemic "access."  (By "real," I understand the OO philosophers to be referring, metaphysically and ontologically, to the elusive excessiveness or slippery withdrawal of things, the irreducibility of things to our access to them.)

Wilber tries to say that ontology -- meaning, I think, the ontic -- changes with each new enactment, but from a Bhaskarian or OOO perspective, there is a confusion here, since he is identifying the so-called "real object" (Saussure's referent) with the sensual or actual, not the real as Bhaskar or OOO understand it.  On top of this, Wilber *then* sneaks an overriding "master ontology" in the back door -- his ontology of sentient-holons-with-perspectives, which underpins his whole vision of multiplicitous, enacted worldspaces.  It appears, in identifying "referent" with an enacted "entity in a worldspace," Wilber is trying to articulate a post-metaphysical orientation, but he then ends up quietly positing a metaphysics of sentient beings and perspectives to undergird the whole thing.  I think Wilber would do better simply to own and foreground this.  That would bring him more in line with a Bhaskarian or OOO sense of post-metaphysics: i.e., 'metaphysics (or ontology) after post-modernism.'"  From this perspective, he might then need to add one more category to his semiotics beyond "referent": namely, "object" or "sentient holon."



"Would you consider the withdrawn to be 'nonlocal,' perhaps in a specialized sense?"

It depends on what we mean by 'nonlocal.' Recall our discussion of this in the OOO thread. Morton for example used some very large and ill-defined objects as an example, like climate change. Yet climate is not that ill-defined that it applies everywhere and all the time; it is local to its larger milieu, in this case Gaia. So hyperobjects, while nonlocal in our anthropocentric terms, are still local in its own terms and to the larger hyperobjects in which they are but a part.

Also recall my recent posts (here and preceding) in the states/stages thread, again using Morton on the Rift, which is not in or outside an object but at the boundary between them. And where I quoted Sallis on elements as "jointures and horizons of things." In this sense it is non-local in that it boundaries are not only what separates local or autonomous objects but also what connects and inter(en)acts objects, thus diffusing their locality in hyperobjects.

And the same can be said of kosmic addresses! But whereas in kennilingus they find their 'end' in the all of the awakened one, in what I'm saying they find their indetermination in the withdrawn where there is no set address from any perspective, not being actual.

Still missing something but can't articulate it yet.

Hi, Joe -- I am on retreat this weekend, so I only have minimal computer time. I think this thread is the active one, so let's continue here. As for your diagram, it looks fantastic.  I look forward to hearing / seeing more...

Joe, this looks great.  I'm going to dig into it more in the next couple days and will get back to you on this.  I received some responses to the mirror version of this thread on FB, some of which follow:

Trish Nowland: I was wondering about this - has Wilber declared anywhere an ontology of consciousness? It certainly seems the implicit assumption of his work - I've not yet grasped how Wilber himself or necessarily integral theory would address the hard problem of consciousness philosophers
There is a sense that Bonnie's 2010 ITC paper on view goes a long way towards addressing the possible problems that arise with an ontology of consciousness (which by Wilber himself, seems limited, as you say to holonic perspectives...)

Is there perhaps some traction in looking to the ways in which the ontological ground of CR's tripartite structure (the real, actual and empirical) - an ontology that is structured, differentiated and changing, might be brought into contact with an ontology of consciousness? Looking to how they might in-form (ha!) each other? :)

John O'Neill:  Trish Nowland, Wilber claims to address the hard problem of consciousness in his chapter in Integral Psychology on The 1-2-3 of consciousness studies and endnote 15 of that chapter. After going through the quadrants and levels, he concludes that it can only be solved at a transrational nondual stage of development, which not being at that stage, I don't find fully satisfactory. Your suggestion sounds like a good one to me.

Trish, good question. As John commented, Wilber suggests in Integral Psychology that the hard problem can only be "solved" through satori. (I am skeptical about such a claim, however, since I think it is possible for people to experience satori and come to different conclusions about the nature of reality; in other words, I don't think the experience will deliver a ready-made metaphysical view or understanding). In earlier phases of Wilber's work, especially, he was quite sympathetic to the perennial philsophy, as you know, and to the German Idealists, and based on this one could argue that Wilber's primary ontological foundation was consciousness: Reality, at the base, is Pure Open/Formless Consciousness (Spirit), and matter is a severe contraction and restriction of That. In his later work, however, he designates matter as the "outside" of all perspectives at all levels, rather than as just a junior rung in the (perennial philosophical) Great Nest of being. Just what is meant by the "outside of a perspective"? I suggest Bhaskar's tri-partite model of being might allow for one way of framing it -- for instance, if we consider "outside of a perspective" not just to be "third person view," but as that which exceeds total epistemological access or reduction. (I am actually working on a paper right now related to this topic -- looking at consciousness and "soul" from Integral and Bhaskarian perspectives).


Hi, Joe,

I think one way Wilber addresses the "hard problem" is with the idea of co-arising (or tetra-enacting).  From his defense of Integral theory he writes:

"... epistemology and ontology cannot so be fragmented and fractured, but rather are two correlative dimensions of every Whole occasion (part of the tetra-dimension of every holon)."

I agree -- this represents his more recent attempt to address this issue.  I wouldn't consider it to be "solving" it, necessarily; it is more in line with the general philosophical or metaphysical strategy of panpsychism, which is just to declare that the physical/exterior and psychic/interior are equiprimordial and always co-existing or co-arising, at and in various levels of complexity.

I haven't finished Tim's paper yet (I will this weekend), but from what I've read so far, he finds that both Wilber and Bhaskar fall short of embodying, in their actual theoretical constructs, the nonduality they espouse -- subtly privileging the epistemological or ontological domains, respectively.  To more effectively embody a nondual orientation, he recommends a "methodogolical" solution rather than a metaphysical one:  develop and follow a Method which allows one to simultaneously hold, and shuttle between, both epistemological and ontological zones as necessary, without reduction.  He follows Morin here, but this is also Franscisco Varela's strategy.

From the perspective of the Cube of Space, this would be the three cube axes as a triple-arising and also the non-dual center of the cube.

"Epistemology = knowledge, how we know, means of access to knowledge, experience, what can be known, etc...  How we know, as a question of some kind of activity would be the North-South axis on the cube, the "efficient cause."  We know by doing; through some kind of activity.

Ontology = questions of existence itself as well as categories of being.  I can see this one from two points of view.  As a question of pure being itself, this would be the Above-Below axis of the Cube (Formal Cause or the "blueprint").  As a question of categories of being or kinds of "stuff" (physical or non-physical), this would be the East-West axis of the Cube (material cause).

Teleology= the extrinsic or intrinsic final cause of something.  The non-dual center of the Cube as Final Cause.

Have you ever looked at Joel Morrison's discussion of the onti-epistemic polarity in SpinbitZ?  I discussed it briefly in my Opening Space paper, which I know you read, but the fuller discussion is worth looking at.  I brought it up, also, in a discussion with Roy Bhaskar a few weeks ago -- observing how I thought it provides a framing which might serve to accommodate both Wilber's and Bhaskar's concerns.  As for how all this relates to semiotics, and to your model here, I'll hold off commenting further till I've finished Winton's paper.

the end is reached when full human potential is realized and manifested as the rainbowbody
theurj said:

Question: When one reaches 3rd-tier supermind state-stage and no longer identifies with any state or stage, is that the end of the line? Or does evolution continue on from there?

"The Awakened individual’s Kosmic Address includes the Kosmic Address of every phenomenon in the universe."

It seems this supermind Enlightenment is the end, since it includes ALL other kosmic addresses. What about the withdrawn which has no address since it isn't yet actual?


In your post from another thread you ask: “Have you seen my posting on the Integral Semiotics thread and my diagrams illustrating the dynamics of the psyche in a semiotic enactment?” Yes, but I have some questions. In how does what you’re saying take account of the critique of the metaphysics of presence in pp. 41-4 of Complexity and Postmodernism? It seems like your definitions have very clear boundaries. In the referenced pages one criticism is that boundaries while necessary are not so clear cut, and often dynamically change at least somewhat due to the excess in each semiotic element (signified, signifier, referent). We discussed this withdrawn excess elsewhere, which you attribute to the Final Cause in the center, which has a “real purpose or telos.”  And the Formal Cause also has a “pure essence or being.” While both the linked text and OOO in general do not accept pure essences, real purposes, both examples par excellence of the metaphysics of presence. We might say that Bryant accepts clear boundaries in that a suobject has a unique and individual autonomy, but it nonetheless its boundary is open to continual change from its excess.

I'm curious to hear what others are thinking in response to the bigger themes in Tim's paper.

First, I want to share that I think the best background pieces to read in preparation for this paper would be Tim's 2010 paper "Pattern Dynamics TM: Creating Cultures of Sustainability" (this was a 'best paper' award winner at the 2010 ITC). Especially pay attention to the 2nd half of the paper on 'A Theory of Meta-types', 'Semiotic Enactment', 'Integral Pluralism' and 'Cosmic Positioning System'. This should be read in conjunction with Esbjorn-Hargen's paper "An Ontology of Climate Change" for full context.

For a less academic overview of PatternDynamics, you might also check out an article I co-wrote for Integral Leadership Review (Notes from the Field): Tim Winton's PatternDynamics Workshops in USA and Canada.

Here are some questions that came up for me in reading Tim's latest paper. I apologize that these look like a series of essay questions for a test. I personally don't have a very strong background in philosophy, and much of the discussion so far has been over my head and I don't feel fully qualified to evaluate the paper. I'm really curious how any of you might respond to any of the following questions - my attempt to touch on the broad themes of the paper.

1) As Balder summarized, "he finds that both Wilber and Bhaskar fall short of embodying, in their actual theoretical constructs, the nonduality they espouse -- subtly privileging the epistemological or ontological domains, respectively." Do you agree? 

2) What do you think of his "methodogolical" solution rather than a metaphysical one, following Morin?

3) Do the diagrams signifying Semiotic Enactment make sense (figures 4 and 5)?

4) There's been discussion here about the interpretation of Pierce's foundational categories, but I'm wondering if you think that broadly speaking Tim has effectively "located a realist approach to pansemiotics."

5) Do you agree with the statement on p. 31 that "The advantage of this type of pansemiotics over Wilber's Whiteheadian panpsychism is that thought (subjective interiority, psych or 'mind') does not need to be carried down into the physical domain to do duty as a partner to material and efficient causes to explain the self-organizing capacity of an early evolving universe." ?

6) What do you make of what I see as a ground-breaking stance regarding the role of energy, drawing from Stanley N. Salthe and Howard T. Odum's Maximum Power Principle? ("In order to exist, dissipative systems are driven to continually invest their harvested energy in complexifying (increase their energy quality) in order to maximize their rate of continuing to harvest that energy flow. Their very evolutionary persistent existence (sustainability) depends on it." p.34) And "Could the 'aliveness' of energy and its proclivity to 'wind up' not be our source of telos or final cause, which is ultimately to return to its own nondual source?" (p. 35)

7) What do you make of the comments on p. 37 that "Within iSR [integral Semiotic Realism] nondual realization is not signified as a spiritual realization: it is signified as Realization itself. iSR takes the pragmatiasist route and (all other references being equal) rejects a 'spiritual' signification of the nondual by virtue of its effects."

8) Does Rupert Sheldrake's morphic fields effectively fill the role of a convincing naturalistic means of 'formal cause'?

9) Finally, would you agree that the destructive pathology of modernity is largely due to the "lack of  a cosmology that demonstrates a place and a belonging in the universe in a way that is convincing and meaningful within the rational paradigm of modernity," and do you see the possibility that iSR might have the capability "to provide a  Grand Story that has the capacity to unify, while respecting the diversity of, the major worldviews". (p. 43)

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