Six grammatical categories that underpin philosophical approaches: pronouns, nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and prepositions – are understood individually and then woven into a quasi-holographic, integrally philosphemetic formulation of metaphysical pluralism, enacting the principle of non-exclusion. 

Some questions and comments that come up for me both for personal clarification from you Bruce and potentially useful for the discussion forum:

While the role of Integral calculus in dispelling the ‘myth of the given’ is commendable, does IT manage to avoid the epistemic fallacy which occurs wherever 'being' is reduced to our 'access to being.'? Students of Bhaskar may throw some light please. This was a stated objective of ITC 2013, was n't it? I wonder if any other paper covers this.

Is OOO, by virtue of its centrality of the object, positing that even heaps and artefacts have all four quadrant dimensions of being (proto-consciousness etc)? 

Adjectival philosophy treating quality as primary – here does a distinction need to be made between inanimate objects such as the 'warm, yellow sun', and a sentient person (3p) with essence (A.H. Almaas) that is both unqualifiable and a verb-noun? I think that distinction is made later with reference to Cittamatra and bundle theories?

Also the attributed nature of quality is necessarily linked to state (or the temporary mediating endo-structure) of the ‘attributor’ at the time of attribution? 

The differences in the emphasis on the person vis-à-vis the situation between the English and the Japanese could be a good indicator of the individualist/ collectivist tenor of the culture? (Hofstede’s IDV dimension, and perhaps even MAS and PDI)

If we subscribe to the ‘illusion of free will’ theory, then in some sense, all processes are ultimately non-owned processes in an individual level, but perhaps co-owned at an supra-individual level (dominant monad of a socio-cultural holon, which essentially self-organizes without an agentic central controller)? This also seems consistent with Being singular pluralism and centrality of the ‘with’ in co-essentiality. 

Big question: can the embodied and enactive role of grammar in being ontologically resonant and potentially revelatory, move the needle a bit on what is mystically referred to as the ‘ineffability problem’? Matters that need deeper study – perhaps while dwelling on other papers, include Whiteheadian concrescence, Bonnitta Roy’s processual model, Latour, and the effectiveness of Rescher’s process semantics and Bohm’s Rheomode in helping us create a new language to shift our narrative?

I have to say that personally for me, just dwelling on the adjective-noun-verb inter-linkage in silence offered a fabulous meditation experience in which all three parts of speech blended into a phenomenological experience enormously rich, multi-dimensional and ineffable beyond the grammatical categories themselves. Perhaps with some more state-and-stage training, the simultaneous contemplation of all six will take 'the bottom out from under the bucket'!

Thank you Bruce for this gift. 

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Keep in mind that the last paragraph, while correlationist, does not say that reality cannot exist without us. It just notes that for us to perceive some part of it requires categories. Which reminds me of Bryant's post on his pan-correlationism.

"Sometimes I think my position is better described as 'pan-correlationism”'rather than as 'realism.'  Pan-correlationism is the thesis that everything is an 'observer' or that all things have access to the world in particular ways.  Put in Deleuzo-Spinozist terms, it would be the thesis that every entity is affected and affects other entities in its own way."

I was just re-reading Bryant's post on "towards a materialist theory of universals" which is akin to Thackchoe's semantic nominalism. It also reminds me of this post on real categories. Some excerpts:

"But what if it ironically turned out that our cognition of universals was, in fact, rendered possible through material objects?  Here the thesis wouldn’t be that we abstract from material objects to form universal concepts, but rather that material objects do the work of abstraction for us. [...] For Clark it is not an already operative concept that allows us to engage in these forms of reasoning, but rather a concrete object that renders these forms of reasoning possible. [...] Now that we’ve erased the particularity of objects through the intervention of another object– either a signifier or the '+' and '=' toys –it becomes possible to think more abstract identities and difference.  As Clark puts it, we can now think relations between relations. [...] Score one for nominalism!

"What we get here, I hope, are the rudiments of a materialist theory of universals and how it is possible to explain, at least, the cognition of universal relations beyond the particulars (individual entities) that populate the world.  The next step would consist in showing how grammatical or syntactical relations can emerge within these nominalistic structures (something already worked out by Lacan in 'The Purloined Letter') that give us invariant relations or structures such as those found in logic and mathematics.  The final step would then consist in showing how these objects that function, through undermining, as standard-bearers for more concrete objects, can function as 'attractors' within material systems, allowing us to understand how a physical or material system can begin generating values, teleological behavior, or self-regulation."

After taking a break from my Sophia Speaks project, I'm returning to it to begin to reflect more specifically on the application of its grammatico-philosophical model to religion and theology.  I've got a number of directions I plan to take this, but for now here are a few sketches.

1.  An extension of my grammatical typology of philosophical ontologies to religion and theology.  (Some examples below are already mentioned in Sophia Speaks, but here I'm emphasizing the religious element more).


~ Buber, Rosenzweig, or Abhinavagupta's grammatico-theology (I, You, It)
~ Wilber's Three Faces of Spirit


~ Totemic religion, power objects
~ Animistic and Mythic cosmologies (hidden spirits, super-beings, etc).
~ Personalism
~ Object-Oriented Theology (of Michael Kelly, or of "Speculative Grace")


~ The Names of God
~ Qualitative or Aspectival Theology
~ Spiritual cosmologies of Appearance, Illusion, or Perceptual Play (vijnaptimatra)
~ Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality


~ Process Theology
~ "God is a Verb" (Catholic and Jewish reflections on the dynamic, open, verbal nature of the divine)

~ Henry Nelson Wieman's process-oriented theocentric naturalism


~ Meister Eckhart's notion of 'soul as adverb' (which always serves and depends on God as Verbum)
~ Spinoza's radical theology


~ Heron's spiritual theology of the 'between'
~ Participatory theology of the 'with' (Ferrer, Nancy, Sloterdijk)
~ Christian prepositional theologies ('of,' 'through' and 'to'); Caputo on the grammatico-theology of 'for'; Serres' prepositoinal angelology
~ Buddhist pratitya-samutpada, Christian perichoresis

2.  A grammatico-theological extension of Wilber's "Three Faces of Spirit" model, symbolically finding expression in a fuller "tantric" deity form.

Pronouns - Three Faces of Spirit
Nouns - The Body/Bodies of Spirit (related to 3rd face, but exceeding it as well: bodies always exceed perspectival reduction...)
Adjectives - The Qualities or Aspects (Adornments/Ornaments?) of Spirit
Verbs - The 1000 Arms of Spirit (Actions/Processes)
Adverbs - The mudras of Spirit , the Modes
Prepositions - (Something to communicate the (self-)relations and causal patternings of Spirit: postures, positions?)

3.  A grammatico-religious praxiology.

~ Cultivation, exercise, embodiment, and refinement of (i.e., collectively, the pooling of surplus in the domains of) specific and/or multiple Perspectives, Forms, Behaviors, Relations, Qualities and Styles.

~ Contemplative use of the grammatical lenses themselves for state- and stage-development.

~ Not to mention the exercise and development of forms of language and expression in themselves:  "That [Rilke's] energized Apollo embodies a manifestation of Dionysus is indicated by the statement that the stone glistens 'like wild beasts' fur': Rilke had read his Nietzsche.  Here we encounter the second micro-religious or proto-musical module: the notorious 'this stands for that', 'the one appears in the other' or 'the deep layer is present in the surface' -- figures without which no religious discourse would ever have come about.  They tell us that religiosity is a form of hermeneutical flexibility and can be trained" (Sloterdijk, YMCYL).

Quite the fascinating project, Bruce.

Having been one of the lucky 35 to be the first in the world to receive the 5-day training in Terri O'Fallon's new very sophisticated, very granular developmental theory, I can offer here that if you want to add any variable or dimension about perspectives to your analysis, her theory would be a fabulous resource. She does in fact specifically and explicitly address the developmental pattern of pronoun use, as (if I understand it correctly) part of the development of perspective-taking. 

It's the focus on pronouns in both your systems which caught my attention. A rare variable to be addressed in any system of thought!!!

Love and Blessings upon your great work in the world,



I wonder if you might also want to include the work of Henry Nelson Wieman in the "Process" section. From his magnum opus, The Source of Human Good (1944):

"When good increases, a process of reorganiation is going on, generating new meanings, integrating them with the old, endowing each event as it occurs with a wider range of reference, molding the life of a man into a more deeply unified totality of meaning.... This process of reorganization is what we shall call the 'creative event'." (p. 56)

"It is made up of four subevents; and the four working together and not any one of them working apart from the other constitute the creative event." (p. 58)

"It should be noted that the creative event, together with every one of the subevents, is an -ing. The subevents are emergings, integratings, expandings, deepenings, that is, they are not accomplished facts. After the event is accomplished, it is no longer creative. Hence the creative subevents (as well as the total creative event) are events in process. They are happenings in transit, not finished products, although they yield a finished product. The finished product of these four -ings, and hence the product of the total creative event, is always a new structure, whereby some events  are more widely and richly related in meaningful connections.

This, then, is creative good..." (p.68)

Hi, Alia,

I'm sure that was wonderful; I really enjoyed listening to her talk at the ITC last summer.  I do intend to make further developmental distinctions in my grammatical model, both in terms of the relationship of the parts of speech to each other, but also in terms of the understanding and expression of grammatical philosophemes across various stages of development.  

Some years ago, I started a thread on the old IPS forum called, "The Geography of Person Perspectives," considering the ways that person-perspectives themselves unfold through I am definitely interested in what O'Fallon has to say on this.  I haven't seen her writings on pronouns yet, though.  I will look for them.  Thank you for the heads up.


I'm not at all familiar with Wieman, but it looks worth engaging.  (I took a peek at his book on Amazon).  Yes, definitely, I would be open to including his work with the Verbal/process theologies I'm beginning to compile.  From what little I've seen of what he's written, he offers a pretty clear example of verbal/process metaphysics (along with Nicholas Rescher).

Best wishes,


Hi Bruce,

I'm not sure anything is published wrt the pronouns yet, Bruce. I will stay alert on your behalf. Her book is in peer-review process which I hear can take up to another year!! But if I catch something before then, I'll alert you.

Okay, sounds good -- thank you!

Just looking, I do see some discussion of pronouns in this essay; I'll read it more carefully.

"I do intend to make further developmental distinctions in my grammatical model, both in terms of the relationship of the parts of speech to each other, but also in terms of the understanding and expression of grammatical philosophemes across various stages of development."

Grammar is defined as the rules for how sentences are structured in a language, i.e., syntax and morphology. So in addition to the parts of language (noun, verb etc.) grammar is also about how the parts of speech relate to each other. It seems that it is in how grammars are constructed in the various languages and dialects where we get more general overall worldview approaches from which the various philosophies arise. E.g., English grammar is generally constructed in the noun-verb-object syntax, and this to a large extent determines how one will translate the world. Chinese grammar, while having the noun-verb-object syntax, nevertheless places modifiers in front of the head noun more like languages the have a noun-object-verb structure (e.g. Japanese). (See linguistic typology for how various languages determine word order.)

Also Chinese does not have the strict separation between words as does English. French grammar, like other Romance languages, inflects words with number, gender, case mood, tense, voice. All of these differences determine how we structure our worldview philosophies.

Languages per above are differentiated into families like Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Niger-Congo etc. So exploring how western philosophies might emphasize particular word elements or arrangements might be more influenced by the fact that they are all Indo-European languages. Granted there are different types within that family, like Germanic, Celtic, Italic etc., which may account for some of the different emphases. And per above some of them have different word orders and/or word inflections. But they can be quite different from the Sino-Tibetan, with consequent and sometimes drastic differences in worldview philosophy.

It might also be interesting to explore how geography, climate etc. influenced the development of languages, more along the lines of Bryant's Real infrastructural domain, since the different language types are geographically defined. E.g., soils rich in certain minerals and nutrients may well have influenced how one formed words, phrases and grammars. Or easy access to drinkable water or not, and so on.

What a glorious and yummy zoom-out, theurj!! Even if Bruce doesn't have enough lifetimes to do all that, at least this is part of "context" for the smaller project!!! As I see it. :)

Hi, yes, I appreciate theurj's contextualizing thoughts as well.  My integral grammatology project actually is situated within a larger, more general concern with language and thought that I've pursued over a number of years.  Here's an Integral Life blog post I wrote on the topic:

Postmetaphysics and Creative Language Evolution

And here is an IPS forum post on the topic: 

Integral Language? Creative Language Games

I recall Layman protesting that conlang experimentation is rather a waste of time, beyond the individual benefit that creators of conlangs might derive.  I expect he's right about that, at least in terms of the social usefulness and practicality of invented languages, but I do nevertheless feel that the enactivity of language and grammar (across cultures and stages of development) remains an important topic of consideration for postmetaphysical thinking in general.

David, I've added Henry Nelson Wieman to my verbal entry above.  (The above is just a suggestive sketch; I'll be posting something more comprehensive later.)

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