Objective Knowledge Through Coherence

Between 2002 and 2013 I unlocked the secrets of what I now take to be objective knowledge.

The secrets began with the concept of bounded cartesian coordinates, adopting polar opposites related along a diagonal. This situation would create a condition I termed ‘exclusive’.

Furthermore, the concepts could be taken to represent either nouns (entities in philosophical jargon), or qualities (traditionally called essences). A quality is simply the adjective form of one of these noun labels. Labels can be of any length, limited only by the human ability to comprehend, and by the balance with opposite categories.

I found, for example, that:

“Brilliant stoics (note) the stupidity of the senses”…

“Mathematical systems involve qualities of incoherence”…

“Featureless weather is a feature of inconstancy”…

“Creation of matter destroys anti-matter”…

Or, “Creation of matter is not the original essence”…

All of these types of expressions, when adopting a little mental flexibility, pertain to objective truth defined by the formula AB : CD and AD : CB in coherent quadratics. It is a way of relating with the eternal.

The concept was first published explicitly in my book, The Dimensional Philosopher’s Toolkit (2013, subsequently updated).

The work has some minor precedents, such as the following:

J. Lambek and P.J. Scott. (in Introduction to Higher Order Categorical Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge U, 1986.) mention a bounded cartesian coordinate system in a section apparently devoted to graph theory. Otherwise their context appears to relate mostly to mathematics. However, they hint that there might be an exponential efficiency.

John Locke also gives clues, saying “We have the ideas of a square, a circle, and equality…” but does not elaborate. (Essay IV John Locke Chapter iii:6).

And similarly vaguely, Leibniz writes in the Monadology: “We are all mere empirics in three-quarters of what we do.” as if referring to three quarters of a Cartesian diagram. But this could also refer to incoherence rather than coherence.

Bertrand Russell, a more recent philosopher than some of these previous, writes in his Problems of Philosophy: “Truths involve universals. And all knowledge of truths involves acquaintance with universals”.

Paul Ricoeur, a critic of phenomenology, can be added to the list of intellectual figures who almost say it explicitly: “The idea of foundation is rather that which secures the equivalence and convergence of the ways (logical, Cartesian, psychological, historico-teleological, etc.)” (Phen. Reader, p. 580). And, “Thus elucidation… requires that meaning be submitted to a genuine form of work” (Part II, section 2) (Phen. Reader p. 594). However, as usual, it is buried in a mound of other text, giving the appearance of randomness.

Whether any of these influences in fact hit on the method and believed it worked, or whether they were merely formative influences for later thinkers remains in doubt.

Another possible influence is the psychological concept of the cognitive circle, which emphasizes the recursive nature of truth. A similar idea is the dialectic of history from dialectical materialism.

Philosophers have expressed a certain amount of doubt about absolute truth, from Protagoras’ statement that there is an equally firm argument on any subject, to Descartes’ Demon Argument to Lichtenberg’s idea (in The Waste Books, Entry 183) that: “Since a man can go mad I do not see why a universal system cannot do so too…”

On one hand, these doubts may have preyed on earlier philosopher’s capacity to imagine absolute truth, while on the other they demonstrate a certain willingness to make encounters with the same types of problems (as objective coherentists).

But, had they realized objectivity, perhaps it would not have been phrased as a problem at all… Instead they would have composed books which claimed to have truth…