Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spiral Progression of Knowledge

Why on earth is this concept - the spiral progression of knowledge - not all the rage even in Objectivist circles, much less wider philosophy circles? (That you'd never hear the phrase "spiral progress of knowledge" in philosophy circles outside of Objectivism . . . well, it's just part of that pattern of failure of non-Aristotelian philosophy I've been harping about.) Peikoff got into the subject in Understanding Objectivism and it's like the idea has just been hanging there for almost 30 years, hardly ever brought up, hardly ever mentioned. Google the phrase. It's all too obscure, when it damn well shouldn't be. This is one insidious thousandfold-multiplied effect of the, ahem, imperfectly exclusive format in which Understanding Objectivism currently exists. It's ridiculous. Bizarrely enough, not even Sciabarra in all his comprehensiveness explicitly incorporates this concept in his dialectical methodology. (It's gotta be there at least implicitly - I mean, it's all supposed to be integrated, right? Of course it is.)

How does such a deficiency go so unnoticed?


I suppose I'll just have to take up the subject and develop it myself. I mean, what else has this blog been, but an exercise in the spiral progression?

Preliminary thoughts on the subject:
I think of the spiral as something like this: You have an integrated body of knowledge but it's developed only so much at a given point in time - meaning there are deficiencies or ill-formed aspects that are later recognized as such from a more advanced perspective. Certain points, concepts, concretes, principles, etc., are approached and thought about, the most cognitively-relevant aspects (in that context) being grasped and retained for future access (see: Subconscious), and then left for the time being as other points, concepts, etc. are approached and dealt with . . . and then, at some future time, the points, concepts, etc. are returned to afresh, and re-integrated, with any necessary modifications, into the newly expanded body of knowledge . . . and on it goes. This is why I find it so bizarre that Sciabarra didn't go whole-hog with this idea, because the progression is so dialectical-sounding. Hell, it's a progression, for crying out loud, a perfective activity. Then again, perhaps the whole point is that not every base has to be covered at any one time; rather, the idea is to formulate the principles by which to cover bases as knowledge expands. (Trying to cover every possible base at a given time without context-sensitivity is symptomatic, not of perfectivism, but of "perfectionism" in the perjorative sense, which holds omniscience as the standard.) That's how you get the idea that a system of thought such as Objectivism serves as its own defender, where rationality in this premise-checking, spiral-progression sense is the primary virtue. And, of course, the ancient master-integrator, Aristotle, sets the tone. I don't know how you have a fully-developed systematizing empiricism without the Spiral concept. It'll be fun to compare my future developments of the idea of the spiral progression with this seedling here, and revel in the self-reinforcing, invincible, undeniable quality of it all. :-) Also, I think there's another, all-encompassing term for this dynamic mental process: Logic. (See also: Induction and Deduction, Psycho-Epistemology, Automatization, Method.)

[ADDENDUM: Now, an assignment of sorts - a mission, if you will, should you choose to accept it: Read through the postings in this blog in reverse order going back to the start of this year, follow the many leads contained therein, and integrate, integrate, integrate! You, too, can and should become a Perfectivist through this process. You'll also earn yourself a big head-start on what's to come for this country. "To save the world is the simplest thing in the world. All one has to do is think." - Leonard Peikoff. In the meantime, while you do your own thinking, I've got a book to write....]

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