Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘integral theory’

Ken Wilber’s Problematic Relationship to Science

Frank Visser

Abstract: Ken Wilber has argued for a spiritual view of evolution. To make his case he has defended three knowledge claims: (1) current science fails to explain major transformations in evolution, (2) some scientific views seem to support his view that the cosmos is inherently creative, and (3) his own theory of evolution is “the only theory that can actually explain the mysteries of evolution.” The validity of these three claims is questioned by the argument that a more believable integration of evolutionary theory within integral theory is called for. This requires both an openness to criticism and more solid expertise in this specific field of science. Thus far, both of these features have been lacking within both Wilber’s writings and the integral community.

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Love in a Time Between Worlds: On the Metamodern “Return” to a Metaphysics of Eros

Zachary Stein

Abstract: Modernity is based on a critique and abandonment of premodern forms of metaphysics, while postmodernity has only deepened critiques of metaphysical truth claims further. This has created a novel historical situation in which a planetary society revolves around the absence of a shared metaphysics. The vacuum of meaning at the core of postmodern societies has resulted in a sense of exhaustion and alienation, a state uncomfortable enough to initiate a metamodern “return” to metaphysical speculation. I argue in favor of adopting metamodern metaphysical characterizations of the human based on an understanding of love as a transpersonal universal force akin to gravity. Philosophers have long called this force Eros and have placed it at the center of the human experience. Charles Sanders Peirce marks the beginning of a new method for practicing metaphysics, while at the same time offering profound insights into the cosmic dynamics of evolutionary love, or Eros. A century later, the ideas and practices of metamodern metaphysics remain in flux and on the margins. I explore how computer technologies and hyper-capitalist dynamics have inspired dark transhumanist speculations such as those of Nick Land. To counter the regressive and dystopian possibilities entailed by a “return” to metaphysics, I propose a form of cosmo-erotic humanism and discuss its implications through an exploration of the newly released book, A Return to Eros (Gafni & Kincaid, 2017).

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Collaborative Learning Processes in Teacher Training: Benefits and Costs

Ellen Aschermann and Jennifer Klenzan

Abstract: The current pedagogical discussion emphasizes self-determined and cooperative forms of learning. The theoretical background stems from constructivist theories of learning, which interpret social exchange and reflecting on one’s learning pathway as crucial points for construction processes. Consequently, self-regulation turns into a central condition for scholarly learning. This includes setting goals, planning and conducting the learning process as well as the evaluation of results. This paper focusses on the processes secondary school teachers use to implement newly acquired knowledge on self-regulated learning in their lessons. By means of qualitative research methodology, we wanted to explore how experienced teachers develop their own abilities for self-determined learning while teaching their own pupils to do so. Method: In a transdisciplinary research-project between a secondary school and a university, a group of mathematic teachers participated in a two-day training course on self-regulated learning during which they discussed and developed ways to enhance self-regulation of learners. They were then tasked with implementing their newly acquired knowledge during their maths lessons (number of pupils = 270, 4 – 5 lessons per week) with eighth graders in the course of a twelve week teaching period. Two separate groups of teachers were asked to put their newly acquired skills into practice. The first group (N = 6) used a collaborative setting in which tasks, teaching activities and performance reviews had been clarified and discussed within the group. The second group (N = 4) fulfilled these tasks individually without seeking assistance. The teaching strategies were assessed by means of multiple semi-structured interviews and observations of classroom activities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the teachers prior to the training and after 12 and 32 weeks respectively to explore their understanding of self-regulated learning and their experiences during implementation. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify the factors relevant for the implementation from the teacher’s perspective. Observation sessions of classroom activities were undertaken four times during the project period in each class. Results: Both groups stated that the focus on self-regulated learning inspired them to change some of their habits in their own teaching. Teachers in the cooperative group increasingly reported a growing awareness for details of their own preparations when planning lessons or grading, more so than the teachers in the supervisory group. In the collaborative group concrete attempts were made to change some organizational factors so that collaboration could continue for a longer period. Conclusion: The distribution of didactic innovations such as the implementation of self-regulated learning in teaching contexts requires a two fold perspective. Not only the teachers and their individual teaching have to be taken into account but also the school conditions under which the teachers work. The integral perspective on the analysis of these implementation processes proved to be fruitful.

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The Yalla Program – Integral Framed Support for Young Leaders from Egypt and Germany

Adrian Wagner

Abstract: The article gives an overview of the Yalla program that has taken place in Egypt and Germany since 2012 and was originally initiated by Katharina Petrisson from the Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany in cooperation with Matthias Ruff and the Humboldt Viadrina School of Governance. After an introduction of underlying causes for the uprising in the Middle East, the preconditions of the program are explained. Furthermore the integrative framework that was used to design such trainings is analyzed. The paper also evaluates the online value development assessments of German and Egyptian participants within the Yalla-2-training. As a framework for the case study An interdisciplinary approach was used including developmental psychology, social and political science as well as system theory and action research.

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Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives (by M. DeKay (Ed.) with S. Bennett, 2011)

Reviewed by Michael Schwartz

Abstract: Mark DeKay, Professor of Architecture and Director of Graduate Studies in the College of Architecture at the University of Tennessee, a prominent scholar-practitioner in the field of sustainable design, opens his latest book with the explicit intention that the volume “help create a breakthrough in the effectiveness of the Sustainable Design movement such that it is transformed to greater power, relevance, meaning and positive effect on people and Nature” (p. xxi). His approach is thoroughly integral, taking up Wilber’s classic integral theory, more or less a version of “Wilber-4,” clarifying and extending this meta-theory in service of creating and advancing sustainable design as discipline and practice.

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On the Normative Function of Metatheoretical Endeavors

Zachary Stein

Abstract: I reconstruct an historical understanding of metatheory that emphasizes its normative function. The pioneering work of James Mark Baldwin inspires an account of how metatheoretical constructs emerge developmentally and come to serve a discourse-regulative function—overseeing, organizing, and regulating whole fields of discourse. Then I look to Charles S. Peirce as an exemplary normatively oriented metatheorist and explain how both continue a philosophical tradition concerned with the normative function of humanity more broadly. Thus, while I think it is valuable to pursue a variety of metatheoretical endeavors, including descriptive and empirical ones—mapping the terrain of various discourses, or summarizing their contributions—I argue for a specific vision of metatheory as a normative endeavor with rich intellectual and historical precedence. Unpacking some of the implications involved with this way of viewing and doing metatheory lead to considerations about the differences between two general types of metatheory (scholastic-reductionist and cosmopolitan-comprehensivist), the role of philosophical interlocutors in the public-sphere, and the trajectory of human evolution in the coming decades.

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“Sweet Science:” A Proposal for Integral Macropolitics

Daniel Gustav Anderson

Abstract: This treatise proposes the practice of becoming-responsible as a basis for integral micropolitics, defined as taking active responsibility for the well-being of the totality of living beings without exception, for the sake of that well-being alone. After reviewing two extant integral models for political action and interaction, demonstrating some of the limitations inherent in them, some ways are outlined in which the characteristic features of becoming-responsible—including critical clarity, compassion, competence, and consciousness—can be expressed in the realm of public concern; first, theoretically, drawing on a model proposed by poet and artist William Blake, and second, also historically, reflecting on an experiment in radical democracy in Chile (1970-1973), such that both examples critique and advance the claims and methods of mainstream integral theory as well as the alternative approach elaborated in this essay.

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The Status and Relevance of Phenomenology for Integral Research: Or Why Phenomenology is More and Different than an “Upper Left” or “Zone #1” Affair

Wendelin M. Küpers

Abstract: The specific treatment that Ken Wilber gives phenomenology in his model of integral theory requires a critical investigation. According to Wilber’s model, different methodologies are situated in distinct quadrants or “domains of knowing,” namely the subjective, objective, intersubjective and interobjective domains, labeled by their position in the model’s matrix illustration, upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right. In this model, phenomenology is isolated in the UL quadrant, and even more specifically as the inside perspective of this subjective domain. What this means is that, according to Wilber’s classification, phenomenology is an exclusive, rather than inclusive, approach that limits its field of inquiry and therefore its range of knowing also to an inside exploration of the subjective.

In contrast to this positioning, a critical reflection on the current status and usage of phenomenology in integral theory is provided. The goal of this undertaking is to show that phenomenology–particularly in its more advanced forms–is more and different than something to put merely into “upper left” quadrant or to understand only as a “Zone 1” affair suggested in the conventional integral model.

In the first part the paper outlines an introductory understanding and examines classical (Husserlian) phenomenology as well as illustrates some of its limitations. Based on various critiques and further developments of phenomenology, the status and usage of phenomenology in integral (AQAL) theory is discussed critically. Particularly, this concerns the ordering of phenomenology into a separate realm or zone, the status of consciousness, including the debate related to its structure and states, and inter-subjective dimensions as well as the relation to contemplation and meditation.In a second part the paper introduces the more advanced phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty that overcomes the limitations of the previous versions of phenomenology. Advanced phenomenology entails a strong proto-integral potential and as such contributes to compensating for some of the weaknesses and limitations of integral theory.

Furthermore, a third part proposes that such advanced phenomenology provides the foundations for an “adequate phenomenology” in integral research. Based on the specific ontological, epistemological, and methodological considerations, this final part and the conclusion outline some perspectives on what is called integral “pheno-practice.” The explicated criticism and the proposed pheno-practical approach might enrich integral research, improve its theory building and empirical testing by offering perspectives of a more inclusive, coherent and relevant nexus of ideas and possibilities for integrative theory and practice.

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The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views

Jennifer Gidley

Abstract: In this article I aim to broaden and deepen the evolution of consciousness discourse by integrating the integral theoretic narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber, who each point to the emergence of new ways of thinking that could address the complex, critical challenges of our planetary moment. I undertake a wide scan of the evolution discourse, noting it is dominantly limited to biology-based notions of human origins that are grounded in scientific materialism. I then broaden the discourse by introducing integral evolutionary theories using a transdisciplinary epistemology to work between, across and beyond diverse disciplines. I note the conceptual breadth of Wilber’s integral evolutionary narrative in transcending both scientism and epistemological isolationism. I also draw attention to some limitations of Wilber’s integral project, notably his undervaluing of Gebser’s actual text, and the substantial omission of the pioneering contribution of Steiner, who, as early as 1904 wrote extensively about the evolution of consciousness, including the imminent emergence of a new stage. I enact a deepening of integral evolutionary theory by honoring the significant yet undervalued theoretic components of participation/enactment and aesthetics/artistry via Steiner and Gebser, as a complement to Wilber. To this end, I undertake an in-depth hermeneutic dialogue between their writings utilizing theoretic bricolage, a multi-mode methodology that weaves between and within diverse and overlapping perspectives. The hermeneutic methodology emphasizes interpretive textual analysis with the aim of deepening understanding of the individual works and the relationships among them. This analysis is embedded in an epic but pluralistic narrative that spans the entire human story through various previous movements of consciousness, arriving at a new emergence at the present time. I also discuss the relationship between these narratives and contemporary academic literature, culminating in a substantial consideration of research that identifies and/or enacts new stage(s) or movements of consciousness. In particular, I highlight the extensive adult developmental psychology research that identifies several stages of postformal thinking, and recent critical, ecological and philosophical literature that identifies an emerging planetary consciousness. In summary, my research reveals an interpretation of scientific and other evidence that points beyond the formal, modernist worldview to an emerging postformal-integral-planetary consciousness. I posit that a broader academic consideration of such an integration of integral theoretic narratives could potentially broaden the general evolution discourse beyond its current biological bias. The article concludes with a rewinding of narrative threads, reflecting on the narrators, the journey, and the language of the discourse. Appendixes A and B explore the theoretical implications of the emergence of postformal-integral-planetary consciousness for a reframing of modernist conceptions of time and space. Appendix C holds an aesthetic lens to the evolution of consciousness through examples from the genealogy of writing.

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Integral Re-views Postmodernism: The Way Out Is Through

Gary P. Hampson

Abstract: In this article I re-evaluate the potential contribution of postmodernism to integral theory via integrally-derived perspectives. I identify a premature foreclosure: the underappreciation of postformal modes of thinking (cognitive development beyond Piaget’s formal operations). I then enact certain forms of postformal reasoning in relation to integral theory. This includes an engagement with such perspectives as complexity theory, conceptual ecology, vision-logic, dialectics, genealogy, critical theory, and construct-awareness. A major theme concerns the dialectical relationship between reconstruction and deconstruction—partly explored through a developmental assessment of contra-indicative discourse by both Wilber and Derrida. Although the territory is complex, the relationship between current Wilberian theory and postmodernism is clearly problematised. I posit that a deeper engagement with postmodernism can lead to an autopoietic deepening of integral theory.

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A Process Model of Integral Theory

Bonnitta Roy

Abstract: In this article I introduce a Process Model of integral theory, combining Dzogchen ideas and Western works on process philosophy. I make a distinction between Wilber’s notion of perspective and the Dzogchen notion of view. I make the further distinction between Wilber’s use of process in his writings from what I consider to be a process view. I distinguish epistemological categories of knowing from ontological ways of understanding and propose ways to integrate the epistemological field with the ontological dimension by contextualizing both the ways they are related, and the characteristics that distinguish them. This article outlines the conditions of structural enfoldment and shows how they can help contextualize the limits of structural frameworks. I introduce how process models of cognition, conceptualization and value can be integrated into the Process Model.

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Integrales Lernen in und von Organisationen

Wendelin Küpers

Abstract: Bezogen auf das integrale Models von Ken Wilber untersucht der Beitrag die Bedeutung des Lernens in und von Organisationen. Nach einer Darstellung der Relevanz und des Grundverständnisses des Lernens im Organisationskontext, werden integrale Dimensionen des Lernens dargestellt. Im Einzelnen werden die verschiedenen Sphären eines inneren-subjektiven und äusseren-„objektiven“ Lernens des Einzelnen als auch ein gemeinschaftliches Lernen und Lernen im System auf der kollektiven Ebene dargestellt sowie deren interrelationaler Zusammenhang diskutiert. Schließlich beschreibt der Beitrag noch integrale Lernprozesse sowie integrale Gestaltungsfelder zur Förderung des Lernens in den verschiedenen Bereichen. Abschließend spricht der Artikel noch Schwierigkeiten und Probleme an sowie nimmt im Fazit ein perspektivischen Ausblick vor.

Abstract: Related to the integral model of Ken Wilber, this paper investigates the role of learning in and of organisations. After describing the relevance and basic understanding of learning in the context of organisations, integral dimensions of learning will be outlined. In particular learning in the sphere of an inner-subjective and exterior-objective learning of the individual and a communal learning and learning within a system on the collective level as well as its interrelations will be discussed. Afterwards integral learning processes and various measurements for enhancing integral learning in the different sphere will be discussed. Finally, difficulties and problems will be addressed and in conclusion some perspectives and implications are presented.

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Collaborative Knowledge Building and Integral Theory: On Perspectives, Uncertainty, and Mutual Regard

Tom Murray

Abstract: Uncertainty in knowing and communicating affect all aspects of modern life. Ubiquitous and inevitable uncertainty, including ambiguity and paradox, is particularly salient and important in knowledge building communities. Because knowledge building communities represent and evolve knowledge explicitly, the causes, effects, and approaches to this “epistemological indeterminacy” can be directly addressed in knowledge building practices. Integral theory’s approach (including “methodological pluralism”) involves accepting and integrating diverse perspectives in ways that transcend and include them. This approach accentuates the problems of epistemological indeterminacy and highlights the general need to deal creatively with it. This article begins with a cursory analysis of textual dialogs among integral theorists, showing that, while integral theory itself points to leading-edge ways of dealing with epistemological indeterminacy, the knowledge building practices of integral theorists, by and large, exhibit the same limitations as traditional intellectual discourses. Yet, due to its values and core methods, the integral theory community is in a unique position to develop novel and more adequate modes of inquiry and dialog. This text explores how epistemological indeterminacy impacts the activities and products of groups engaged in collaborative knowledge building. Approaching the issue from three perspectives–mutual understanding, mutual agreement, and mutual regard—I show the interdependence of those perspectives and ground them in relation to integral theory’s concerns. This article proposes three phases of developing constructive alternatives drawn from the knowledge building field: awareness of the phenomena, understanding the phenomena, and offering some tools (and some hope) for dealing with it. Though here I focus on the integral theory community (or communities), the conclusions of the article are meant to be applicable to any knowledge building community, and especially value-oriented groups who see themselves fundamentally as working together to benefit humanity.

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