The unity in the parts of the individual consciousness is a very profound one. Yet, it cannot render the mind self-sufficient, for the individual mind and its parts are always relative to something beyond themselves and is, therefore, dependent for its meaning and existence. In order that the mind may maintain a permanent existence it must be a member of the ultimate unity, and in order to do so, it must contain within itself the entire system of minds and yet permanently contrast itself with all other members. It must be at once federal and individual.

Epistemology

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy focused on the nature and justification of knowledge. Some key questions it examines include: What does it mean to know something, rather than just believe it? How is knowledge acquired? What is the structure of knowledge, and what are its sources and limits? Epistemologists also analyze the reliability of different types of evidence and standards of proof.

Two major epistemological stances are rationalism and empiricism. Rationalists, like René Descartes, stress reason as the chief source and test of knowledge. They contend some core truths about reality are knowable through intuition and deductive logic alone. Empiricists, including John Locke and David Hume, argue all significant knowledge derives from sensory experience and evidence gathered from observation. Most contemporary epistemology draws concepts from both viewpoints and focuses on things like assessing cognitive bias, developing rules of evidence, categorizing types of certainty, and delineating the scientific method. Epistemology remains central to many academic disciplines as scholars continue working to describe the foundations and certitude of human understanding.

Documents

Richard Buckminster Fuller and Kiyoshi Kuromiya   (1992)

Cosmography

A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity

An ambitious synthesis of Fuller’s lifetime of interdisciplinary work, spanning geometry, systems theory, design, and cosmology. He outlines synergetic principles underlying natural structures, sustainable architecture like geodesic domes, and humanity’s potential through whole systems thinking and technologies in equilibrium with the universe’s finite resources. Dense but visionary, it encapsulates Fuller’s goal of developing a “Cosmography”—a coordinated model for all knowledge.

Alan Watts   (1971)

Conversation with Myself

Essential Lectures, Program 12

While walking in a field above Muir Woods, Alan Watts points to humankind's attempts to straighten out a wiggly world as the root of our ecological crisis.

Gregory Bateson   (1975)

Learning to Think in a New Way

Delivered at the second Lindisfarne Association conference, Bateson challenged the relationship between “consciousness” and “evolution” and suggested what it might mean to “learn to think in a new way.”

Gregory Bateson   (1979)

Mind and Nature

A Necessary Unity

Renowned for his contributions to anthropology, biology, and the social sciences, Bateson asserts that man must think as Nature does to live in harmony on the earth and, citing examples from the natural world, he maintains that biological evolution is a mental process.

Gregory Bateson   (1972)

Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Here is the book which develops a new way of thinking about the nature of order and organization in living systems, a unified body of theory so encompassing that it illuminates all particular areas of study of biology and behavior. It is interdisciplinary, not in the usual and simple sense of exchanging information across lines of discipline, but in discovering patterns common to many disciplines.

William Henry Chamberlin   (1906)

The Ultimate Unity for Thought is the Society of Minds

This lofty philosophical treatise passionately argues that the pinnacle of thought and being is a divine society of free spirits in fellowship, whose joyful self-realization through mutual service and growth comprises the final purpose of all creation. Our supreme hope is participation in this Community of Minds.