Monday, May 28, 2012

The layers

1. Epistemological/existential - What exists? How do we know that it exists? Can we ever be sure that we know anything? Can we ever be sure that we know what exists?

2. Empirical - Does what exists and what we know -- or the appearance of what exists and what we know -- have clear, identifiable patterns that can be gleaned via our sensory receptors? Can we use the scientific method as part of a broader methodology and management of mental processes to deduce the probability of outcomes with consistency? Once we've established the extent to which we can know things, what empirical evidence is there for the existence of any particular phenomenon?

3. Systematic/mechanistic - How can all that we can sense empirically be integrated into a mental model for the purposes of processing, output, and evaluation? Is there anything that can be empirically observed that does not fit as a variable, parameter, agent, process, etc. into a system or subsystem? What are the boundaries surrounding systems? Are there boundaries surrounding reality as a whole? How does causality shape the smallest, most irreducible constituents of reality as a system as they transmute from one form to another within the soup of existence?

4. Utilitarian/value-oriented - Does causality impact systems in such a way as to necessitate value? Is there value inherent in any particular process as part of a system? How do we determine what, if anything, is valuable? Is it possible to be conscious and animated without value or the capacity to value and evaluate? If something is valuable, how do we utilize systems thinking and empirical methods to productively maximize or minimize it in the name of a goal or set of goals?

5. Pragmatic/economic - If something is valuable, how do we ensure that we're being practical in acting to the end of cultivating its value? When we make a decision, are we losing something via causality that we can never get back? If so, is the cost worth the product? What is the cost of each of our actions? Are we being cost-effective information/value agents?

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