commentary on the symbology for first-person philosophy

§1: the numbering scheme is nominal not ordinal

1: the numbering scheme is nominal not ordinal

by definition, this scheme for numbering reality types is nominal rather than ordinal.

in a nominal scheme, the numbers serve as identifiers only. there is no 'dimension' along which higher numbers mean 'more'of ... whatever. in the United States, postal codes are composed entirely of digits; but, they just identify particular zip codes --- there is no suggestion that those who live in zip code 24687 are 'zippier' than those living in zip code 13342; or that zip code 47317 contains prime real estate; etc.

that said, it is likely that at least some of those whose taxonomy of all that is contains referents of more than one reality type will also conclude that one included reality type is 'higher' or 'lower' than some other included reality type. however, it seems unlikely that everyone 'ranking' reality types would do so in the same way; so, the numbering scheme used in HE is defined to be nominal; but, obviously, individuals are free to read into it whatever ordination they prefer.

§2: historical antecedents

§2.1: the three worlds of Karl Popper

the scheme for numbering reality types in humanese corresponds to the scheme used by Karl Popper1 to number worlds or realms. the correspondance is very great with respect to worlds 1 and 2; but, Popper actually defines his world 3 in such a way that the human individual could not have a component of the reality type associated with world 3.

§2.2: the three eyes of Ken Wilber

there is even greater correspondance between the referents of subscripted first-person singular pronouns and the three 'eyes' of the human individual discussed at length by Ken Wilber2. following Bonaventura he calls them the eye of the flesh, the eye of reason and the eye of contemplation.

§2.3: details of the numbering system

the numbering system used by the subscripts for the first person triplicate pronouns and other symbols is nominative. the numbers just designate without implying an ordinal ranking. Nevertheless, there is some meaning embedded in the numbering.

§2.3.1: the first digit

the first digit, the '2' in I2 or the '3' in G3 refer to the reality type attributed to the referent of the symbol. reality types are themselves numbered, as follows:

usually, a single digit subscript will suffice; but, not always. some belief systems maintain that there is both an immaterial mind and an immaterial soul within the human individual. Other belief systems hold that there is, in addition to the mind and/or the soul, an 'astral' body and a 'causal' body and, perhaps, others within the human individual. In such cases, I2 will simply use a decimal point and a second digit to distinguish symbols that have the same reality type.

in the table above, I2 have used such a device with regard to the symbols that allow relating the structure of the human individual to the structure of divine being. all aspects of divine being would have the ontological reality type; hence, the first digit is '3'. the digit to the right of the decimal point describe various aspects of divine being; and, naturally, this list is not necessarily exhaustive.


§3: elements of a structural diagram

a structure diagram combines the component symbols to indicate what a given belief system alleges, asserts or assumes concerning relationships between or among the components symbolized.

a structure diagram will almost always employ other symbols in addition to the component symbols; but, there is one condition in which this is not the case. jungian psychologists speak of the union of ego and Self. in this state, which jungians consider pathological, there is a total immersion of the ego within the Self or the total failure of ego/Self differentiation. this condition might be represented as: I2I3

in all other cases, relationships between components require the use of additional symbols. first, I2 will define the symbols that are available in the table below. then, I2 will illustrate their use with concrete examples.


Symbol Translation Useage
- link links, relates or associates components without indicating the nature of the relationship.
> and < direction these indicate direction; and, must be used with another symbol positioned on the open side of the direction symbol.
identity alleges that the components linked are actually identical (logically equivalent) where an identity relation, A ≡ B, means A = B && B = A.

'morning star' ≡ 'evening star' because both phrases refer to the same planet, venus.
=> or <= identification A => B alleges that B is no more than an A; but, that an A is more than just a B. alternately, B is a function A and only A. The symbol 'points to' the dependent component.
~> or <~ function of A ~> B alleges that B is an attribute of or a function of (is generated by) A; but, does not assume that B is a function of A only. the possibility of other contributing factors is what differentiates a functional relationship from the identification relationship.
* influence must be used with a directional symbol to indicate that one term in the structure diagram influences another, such as by generating content experienced by it or by having an effect on it.
? acceptance of possibility I2 affirm a possibility
! negation indicates the negation of the symbol or structure to its immediate right.
^ two aspects connects two component symbols. if the two symbols are different, they represent two aspects of a greater whole. if the same symbol appears twice and stradles the enclosure boundary, it represents something that is both within and without the individual. (NB: there is no significance to which symbol appears on the right and which on the left; thus, 'A^B == B^A' returns true).
/ union indicates that two (or more) items are being treated as components of a larger system; for example, consider what jungians call the ego/Self axis. 'ego/Self' represents the the union of two entities that are usually considered separately. failure to conceptually distinguish the unified components is considered a pathological condition, 'ego/Self union'. this might be represented in first person triplicate as I2 / I3
[] enclosure (structure) represents an experiencer's view of the reality structure of a whole human individual; useful when composing a written representation of a philosophical position consistent with that view of a human individual, particularly when extension symbols (G3, G4 and G5) are used.
() grouping eliminates ambiguity when a connector is followed by one or more symbols; for example, [ I1 - I2 | ( I3 T3 ) ] indicates an explicit denial of both symbols inside the parentheses.
|| or a connector that may be used to link structure diagrams. (note: this is a logical 'or'. A || B means A or B or both A and B).
&& and a connector that may be used to link structure diagrams.


§4: Catalog of World Views

by putting these symbols together, one may classify psychologies, philosophies, theologies or any belief system insofar as it holds (assumes or concludes) a position as to the structure of a human individual.

my first attempt at such a classification of worldviews.


[1]: Popper, Karl R. and Eccles, John C. 1993. The Self and its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism. New York: Routlege. [Back]

[2]: Wilber, Ken. 1990. Eye to Eye: The Quest for the New Paradigm. Boston: Shambhala. (expanded edition). [Back]