Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Josep Gallifa, Ph. D. in Philosophy and Education, Full Professor at FPCEE Blanquerna-Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Department Head, and Principal Investigator of a research group in the fields of Psychology and Education. He is author of several books and academic articles in the fields of Thinking Skills, Human Development and Integral Education.

Reposted from Creative Education, Vol.9 No.7, June 2018


Rethinking the 'interobjective' quadrant

Aristotle's views applied to refine the interobjective dimension of the Integral Theory

Josep Gallifa

Abstract: Wilber's Integral Theory is a framework, widely used in different fields, aimed at unifying the premodern, modern and postmodern legacies and worldviews in one system. The subjective, objective and intersubjective dimensions of the Integral Theory correspond respectively to each one of the mentioned worldviews. This article reviews and explores in depth the interobjective dimension, necessary for a truly quaternary integral approach, which has to include appropriately the human work and creativity. This is achieved through understanding the interobjective character of the tekhne logic. tekhne is the Aristotelian word to designate 'productive science'. The study discusses the foundation of the interobjective at different levels (ontological, anthropological, cultural and psychological) and describes the evolutionary character of the tekhne logic. Finally, the article explores the relevance of this characterization to the Integral Theory; but also to Metaphysics, Epistemology and especially to Education.

Keywords: Integral Theory, Human Evolution and Development, Epistemology, Arts, Education.


Aristotle systematized the diverse and distinct forms of knowledge under the word episteme. But although episteme is usually translated as science, their meaning was broader than the definition that we use today. The broader sense could be translated as to know, to understand or to be acquainted with. Aristotle distinguished between three kinds of episteme: teoretike, praktike and poietike. In the first one, the focus was the research of truth and their necessary character, as in mathematics, physics or ontology. In the case of the episteme praktike, the object of knowledge was human behavior, centered in the perfection of the agent. It's the Aristotelian practical knowledge of ethics or politics. The episteme poietike, in turn, was oriented to productive knowledge. This kind of episteme was guided by the poiesis and, unlike the two previous ones, more than one potential outcome is possible. The poiesis guides the perfection of the work. This kind of knowledge was identified by the word tekhne, which in Latin was translated as ars: a kind of rational human way of constructing knowledge, productive knowledge.

Generally speaking Modernity, after Illustration, developed sciences in every possible field, following the model of the Newtonian Physics. The theoretical kind of science was generalized, and the tekhne mode was discredited and diminished in the intellectual panorama, by the preeminence of theoretical thinking. The ars scope was reduced to fine arts, and their intellectual character was limited to esthetics. Specialization and fragmentation were progressively consolidated and the modern sensitivity and corresponding worldview was generalized and taught at modern schools and universities. Theory and praxis seemed covering completely the human intellectual endeavor. Nevertheless, by discarding the Aristotelian perspective it happened that the intellectual character of the tekhnes was almost lost, episteme lost the intelligence of telos, metaphysics and theology were excluded from the episteme, creative work remained as an irrational-emotional endeavor, poiesis was limited to esthetics, the practical dimension was reduced to praxis, etc. Discarding Aristotle happened what can be summarized in the sentence: “throwing the baby out with the bathwater'. This accumulation of circumstances, among other ones, had consequences in the worldview, and the modern consciousness was formed.

With the subsequent consolidation of the postmodern worldview and the rising of plural voices, a new contemporary need appeared: to think comprehensively, integrally. One of the more accepted frameworks to approach this kind of need for comprehensive perspectives is the denominated Integral Theory. Wilber (2001, 2005, 2007) integrated modern and postmodern worldviews to the premodern one. The Wilber model considers four dimensions in any consciousness act: subjective, objective, intersubjective (cultural) and interobjective (social) (Helfrich, 2008, p. 6). Three of them correspond respectively with the cited premodern, modern, and postmodern worldviews, but what happens with the fourth? To which worldview does the interobjective dimension correspond? It seems that probably a better characterization of the nature of interobjectivity remains to be done. And this clarification is interesting and necessary because Wilber's model is widely used in different approaches: Beck and Cowan (2005) in the V-Memes of a culture, Esbjörn-Hargens (2005) or Murray (2009) in Integral Education, Laloux (2014) in the evolution of organizations, Thomas (2018) in Integral Leadership, among many others. Given this wide acceptation and use, it seems necessary to have a more precise knowledge of the interobjectivity.

This article explores this less systematized interobjective dimension. The first part can be understood as a characterization of the 'interobjective'. The point of view developed is that the mentioned interobjective dimension is closely related to the mentioned and underestimated tekhne. This article will present the logic of tekhne. In particular, the thinking and rationale that is specifically known as tekhne or ars will be justified and proposed as the articulating agent of the interobjective world. Once having the interobjective dimension well characterized, a second part will explore their evolution, and the third part their consequences and relevance.

The tekhne logic

As has been introduced the Aristotelian episteme can be productive episteme (episteme poietike). This is practical knowledge that enables the realization of things. For example, an artisan is one who has a technical knowledge (tekhne), an art of production, an ability to create 'objects', 'know-how'. The object of knowledge of a tekhne is the production of creation outside the agent; it's a productive science. A tekhne is a superior knowledge, which is more than mere experience, because while by experience one knows of a concrete number of cases, by tekhne the knowledge is about all the cases of the same phenomena, in unity. Although Aristotle considered that the poietic knowledge of tekhne had above the knowledge of praxis, as well as the theoretical or scientific knowledge, it needs as well the superior human faculties and in particular the intellectual capacities.

Because in Latin the word for tekhne is ars (art), in the premodern Middle Age the word ars did not mean only what we understand today by art (fine arts), but was used, with the same meaning of tekhne, to designate all the productive capacities, both the ones that generate aesthetic objects and the ones that produce useful objects, with or without aesthetic value. We find this general meaning in words derived from ars (art) as arti-ficial or arti-san (cfraftsman). The objects produced by the arts are called arti-facts (created by an art-tekhne).

A tekhne, therefore, is a thought-knowledge that allows producing objects of different nature rationally. The difference between tekhne (creative) and episteme (theoretical) is that the episteme seeks the essence of the phenomena by reaching necessary conclusions, whereas the tekhne can produce several valid solutions because it has the implicit trait to be a creative agent.

A special mention deserves the development of techniques, technology, and techno-science, which are not the same than the tekhne. While the tekhne is an effective operation that uses a rational knowledge about the reasons for its effectiveness or a theory to apply efficient procedures in an already constituted practical-productive knowledge, the modern technology was developed from an alliance of the development of techniques with the knowledge of theoretical sciences. Thus, technology is understood as applied science, either as an instrumental discipline (technique) or more recently as techno-science, that is a discipline with blurred boundaries between science and technology that has a high impact on contemporary societies (Gonzrález & others, 1996).

Some examples of tekhnes

According to the type of 'objects', there is a diversity of tekhne or ars. Some examples are:

  1. Materials and related to the body: Craftwork, Medicine, Gymnastics
  2. Linguistics: Poetics, Rhetoric, Dialectics
  3. Social constructions: Management, Leadership
  4. Symbols of the inner world: Spirituality, Existential Arts

The inclusion of these disciplines as ars is not exclusive. For example, Medicine is also scientific in the empirical-theoretical sense, of course. Their consideration as tekhne alludes to the part of the medical professional knowledge, which is learned by experience. On the other hand, the inclusion of Spirituality lies in the consideration of the knowledge about the 'spiritual work' or 'spiritual exercises' in a given tradition. But spirituality can be understood as well as praxis.

Rethinking the 'interobjective'

Ontology of the 'interobjective'

Wilber (2001, 2005, 2007) used the term 'social' as the defining element of the interobjective field. Nevertheless, the term 'social' has a broad meaning. For example, is not the same 'social' than 'societal'. On the other hand, some aspects of 'social' are indistinguishable of 'cultural' (intersubjective). According to Harari (2014), all the social representations are imaginary. In this sense, it's interesting to understand the nature of institutions, organizations, companies or legal entities, that despite appearing to have an entity, an existence, this one is given only in the representative mind of people. An example of Harari (2014) is:

"In what sense can we say that 'Peugeot' exists? ... Peugeot is a fiction of our collective imagination ... We can't point it out, it's not a physical object, but it exists as a legal entity. Like you or me, it depends on the laws of the countries in which operates, can open a bank account and have property, pays taxes and can report for it, and even can be taken independently from the owners or employees" (Harari, 2014, p. 52). "A large part of the history revolves around this question: How do convince millions of people to believe in certain stories about gods, nations or limited society companies? Getting it gives immense power to sapiens because it allows millions of strangers working with a common goal. Imagine how difficult it would be to create states, churches or legal systems if we could only talk about things that exist like rivers, trees or lions" (Harari, 2014, p. 55).

Therefore the 'social' representations are of the same nature and located in the same dimension than the cultural ones. Although societal developments are seemingly more static (the word state is related to static) than the cultural, which seem more flexible, all are referred to internal intersubjective meanings. Without doubt, societal dimensions can be understood as developmental intersubjective lines, as well as there are developmental individual lines in the subjective domain (Wilber, 1993). Nevertheless, in the intersubjective dimension, the consciousness is collective while in the subjective sphere consciousness is individual. Once having the nature of the intersubjective established, it can be questioned what does it remains as genuinely interobjective.

Going to basics to answer this question, Wilber defined the interobjective world as made up of relations between objects. This is how Wilber defined the space for the "Its" as being differentiated from the intersubjective “We”. Beginning from this more abstract Wilber starting point, once the 'objects' from the objective dimension are well known, it can be understood what the 'relationships' between these objects are. Note that the emphasis is in the word 'relationships'. The new things in this area are the relationships, this area consists of relationships, in sum: it's relational. Advancing in that idea, there are different types of 'objects' in coincidence with recent neuropsychological findings (Damasio, 1994, 2001; Gazzaniga, 2012): a) Objects that are representations of objects from the natural world, including the human brain. b) Mental images that are representational systems: human language, numbers, etc., essential for the perception and awareness of the objects. c) Mental images that are representations that are believed real, such as social or cultural systems, organized by belief systems. d) And representations of the collective unconscious or symbols.

Starting with the natural world, as Wilber does, there are natural relationships that can be observed in the physiosphere and the biosphere. For example galaxies, the solar system, the Gaia system for our planet, ecosystems, societies from the animal world based on instincts, etc. These are examples of systems based on relationships between physical objects or non-human biological beings. Observing accurately the objective reality it can be found how the relational nature is in everything. For example, an atom is a whole but at the same time is a relation between electrons, protons, and neutrons. A living organism is individual and undivided but it is composed of related organs (organ-ism), etc. Thus this relational dimension is present in all objects.

An observation is that these relationships exist insofar they are studied. The sciences understand these relationships and the rules or laws that govern them. Mechanistic models work in the way explained by the Newtonian paradigm. Nevertheless, in relationships that involve living beings, there is a greater diversity of possibilities. In an ecosystem, for example, an unexpected phenomenon, that alters the conditions and gives an unpredicted result, can occur with greater probability. This also happens in the physical systems, for example, unpredictable factors that condition the climate can be manifested, and more than one climatic outcome is possible. The study of relationships shows, also in nature, how this area is subjected to greater complexity and uncertainty. Therefore it's difficult to apply laws that give a single result. Rather it is necessary to apply models with more than one possible result. And considering the human and 'noospheric' world, this greater complexity and uncertainty increases.

Relationships between objects: Anthropological rationale

What is the nature of a relationship between two or more objects?

First of all, it is a projection of the subject. For example, the lines in the constellations of the firmament don't exist in the object. Humanity projected order in the perceptible chaos. The chaos once ordered, relational, became Cosmos. Once the Cosmos was organized human cultures gave to it the character of an agent, ordering time, space, movement, and human societies themselves!

Relationships can occur both in space and time. In space as relationships between objects in the same field (constellations are examples of spatial relationships), but also can happen in time: The relationship of an object at a given time with this same object in another moment can be an example. Relationships can include actions and transformations between an object before and an object after, in a lapse of time. One of the first examples and experiences of this kind of relationships that humanity had was with the action of fire: A food (meat) after being cooked by fire underwent a transformation and became another reality: Raw meat changed to a succulent grilled steak. A very obvious relationship of transformation! This temporary and non-static dynamism is also evident in Ecology. And sapiens realized that could intervene in the transformation of the 'objects'.

Another enormously meaningful example was transforming stones into tools: Selecting the appropriate flintstones, discarding the inappropriate, strike adequately (relationship of one stone with another) to break it and leaving an edge in the right place. Learning is needed. Trying, again and again, keeping in mind the purpose of making a spear point to help in hunting, a knife to cut skins or food, or an ax to cut wood. They are relationships between objects, through human action, that foresees the development towards a new reality: from stone to tool, a transformational relationship.

In these relationships of transformation, the presence of the 'final state' is characteristic, as well as the 'intentional' nature of the transformation. An idea appears in the transformative relationships between objects: the idea of ??improvement, of producing something useful, a new artificial object. Something that did not exist is created from an object or raw material that is transformed. The potential for human creativity was discovered. And these objects, for example, the spear, by improving the effectiveness of hunting, helped the survival and security of the group pushing the evolution. The greater possibility of feeding with proteins from meat in a species not well adapted for it (dentition) surely allowed the increase of brain, the need for premature birth, the exposure to caregivers before the neuronal maturity, hominization, in short. In other words, the relational knowledge entered into evolution. Indeed, knowing these relational elements between objects began to be a key element that helped survival. Therefore this relational knowledge, these procedures to properly select objects and transform them into assets for the community, was transferred from one generation to another. Human learning through Education began: humanization.

The technical knowledge of a group consists of relationships between objects to transform them into something necessary, useful, beautiful or novel. Present elements are final state, intention, transformative action, persistence in the objective, correction, practice, satisfaction for achievement, motivation in unifying the action towards the objective, cultural and group acceptation, teaching novices. All are constituent and complementary parts of the interobjective domain. The aim of the human interobjective knowledge is, therefore, to create from natural objects (raw material) and transform them into goods for the community. Knowledge, techniques, and procedures are used. An example of this is a guild, common in the Middle Age. Within the guild a set of techniques is mastered, this is the knowledge of the group. These techniques have complexity and are unknown outside the group.

The unity of the interobjective relationships can be denominated as a group technique or group skill. In the natural world, these relationships also include strategic behaviors of the different groups, instinctive and/or learned. The explanation is that there is a collective mind of a group where the relationships between objects are represented. Thus the human interobjective world consists of a set of knowledge, techniques, and procedures in an intentional and creative context. It is also a tradition, specific group practices or knowledge of a 'guild'. There is a process of mediation within the group between experts who master these techniques and apprentices or 'novices' who learn them. This kind of knowledge is what Aristotle named as tekhne. An illustrative example of this knowledge can be the art of Neapolitan pizza making, which recently won a world heritage status.

There may be 'relationships' of a group that has a certain relational knowledge or tekhne with other groups. Relationships can be collaborative or competitive. It can also be observed in Ecology, where some groups cooperate or compete with other groups. Objects produced by a group through a tekhne may be interesting to other groups. There may be an exchange, competing groups, etc.

The interobjective relationships can be represented as nested, ones within the others (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Interobjective relationships

Intellectual arts: Cultural rationale

Until here, it has been treated the interobjective world with physical objects from nature or with biological 'objects'. Nevertheless, it's possible, as we explained, developing tekhnes or ars in the field of human representations.

In this sense, for example, Aristotle (2014) developed the tekhne Retorike. The objects of this tekhne-art are the words, while the relations are the knowledge about the combinations that make a given speech eloquent and persuasive. This interobjective knowledge is precisely what Aristotle denominated as tekhne Rhetorike. The knowledge (very rational) of Rhetoric consists in a set of relationships between words (forms, rules, techniques, topics, genres) to guide the poiesis, that in this case is the realization of a persuasive speech. A persuasive discourse, being the product of a tekhne, has more than one possibility. The same dynamism exhibited in Rhetoric could be explained analogously in other tekhne or ars with a diversity of representational 'objects'. In this sense the traditions in ways of interpretation are tekhnes. For example, Spence (1994) explained Psychoanalysis as a tekhne.

The arts, tekhnes, have a purpose, an objective; need techniques, intentional action, evaluation, transformation, creation of prototypes; criticism is also needed and there is learning, product creation, external evaluation. Those processes are all rational complexes of relational interobjective knowledge. They can be learned by studying examples or cases. Arts are justified by their results in the practice, are pragmatic-oriented disciplines: A speech is judged for the effect in the audience, a tool for its practical use, etc.

The psychological rationale of the tekhnes

The psychological correspondences of the tekhnes are the skills and abilities, referred generally also as competences (McClelland, 1973), which are related to practical, productive and creative talent. Today these terms are present in Education and all organizational consultancies (Boyatzis et al., 2002), being personal talent the element recognized as the most significant for any organization and its evolution. It is not strange that relational knowledge, or tekhne, becomes the new center of the contemporary fluid organizations since is aligned with the process with which humanity was developed. The tekhnes are fully embedded in the human anthropology. The human species, according to Bruner (1984), has a defining technical-social lifestyle. Language is a sophisticated tool. At the developmental level, the symbolic play occupies that dimension in the child development and is the ground for the subsequent learning of tekhnes.

If cognition as mental capacity corresponds to the operations in the sphere of the 'objective', the 'interobjective' world is founded in 'metacognition' (Flavell, 1976). Cognitive Psychology developed the concept of metacognition to designate the control processes of cognition or the knowledge of the cognitive resources and their use in practical situations. This kind of metacognitive knowledge is experiential and their acquisition requires interaction with the task. There are different kinds of metacognitive skills. Particularly interesting is the acquisition of metacognitive skills in cooperative learning (Brown, 1987, 1997) or the metacognitive competences helpful to advance towards post-formal thinking stages (Commons & Richards, 2002, Botella & Gallifa, 1995). Related with metacognitive skills there are heuristic, creative, practical-tacit knowledge abilities, which define personal talent, and 'know-how' in diverse fields. All these modalities of thinking can be examples of tekhnes.

On the other hand, Bereiter and Scardamalia (2003) systematized 'design thinking', the thinking mode based on design, which has the traits of being proactive, product-oriented and directed to critical and purposeful improvement. It contrasts with the argumentative thinking mode centered on the presentation of arguments to convince others about the adoption of certain ideas. Design thinking is tekhne oriented.

These psychological counterparts of the tekhnes point out the relevance of the human will in psychological processes. Will was undertreated and almost abandoned as a psychological relevant category, by favoring other constructs like intelligence (Gimenez-Camins & Gallifa, 2010, 2011). The inclusion and recovering of tekhnes help in the comprehension of the free will and free choice. Human freedom is limited, as today point out brain researchers (e.g. Gazzaniga, 2012) but, although limited, the possibility to choose makes a difference in human behavior and has been a distinctive and foundational human trait.

Description of the evolutionary traits of the interobjective tekhne logic

Evolution of tekhnes

Table 1 shows the evolution of tekhnes in the hominization-humanization processes.

Table 1. Human evolution and the development of tekhnes.

The creation process in tekhnes

Next table (Table 2) presents the evolution in the creation of an artifact, product, good or service. It's an artifact insofar as is produced by a tekhne or ars. It can be an artisan product, a book, a television program, a new technological application, a play, a work of art, a consumer product, personal growth techniques, even a scientific article, etc. The following evolution is inspired by Aristotle's view of the tekhne, in Wilber (2001b, pp. 40-41) and Phenomenology (Merleau Ponty, 1945). Table 2 shows also the unified process that tekhnes follow in physical, mental and spiritual spheres.

Table 2. Creation process from prototype to the artifact.

Personal development and tekhne mastery

Inside each tekhne, there is a potential developmental personal process. In this case (Table 3) each stage, from 1 to 8, is developmental, this means that surpasses and replaces the previous one.

Table 3. Personal development in a tekhne

Developed factual tekhnes

The evolution of the tekhnes created historically developmental fields of group experience. An illustrative classification of tekhnes is presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Classification of tekhnes

Consequences and relevance

Consequences and relevance to the Integral Theory

As far as the Wilber Integral Theory is concerned some consequences can be derived after the more detailed characterization of the fourth quadrant, the 'interobjective'. This characterization provides Integral Theory with a specific feature that makes possible a real fourth dimensionality, clearly independent of the other three and with appropriate meaning and relevance.

Having explored the "Its" as the place of the relational group-knowledge, applied to different kind of 'objects' through a tekhne or ars, we reviewed Wilber's initial approach, aligning it with ontological, anthropological and psychological knowledge. This proposal is also compatible with the neuropsychological research about the represented forms of the social organization, that Wilber situated in the “Its” but that, after careful exploration, are more clearly considered as collective representations, therefore part of the intersubjective world. Effectively societal and human organizations are among the imagined collective representations (Harari, 2014). Wilber, on the other hand, clearly included the relational group-knowledge in the “Its”: "It is common to look at social evolution in terms of various modes of techno-economic production, ranging from the search for food, to the horticultural, to the agrarian, the industrial, the informational (to what I will call the lower right quadrant or social systems). Complementing this analysis with an approach to the worldviews (which change correlatively from archaic to magical, to mythical, to mental, to global)" (Helfrich, 2008, p. 21). Our proposal gives centrality to this inclusion.

The development established by dedicating the "Its" to the knowledge of tekhnes and considering the social structures as representations that are part of the "We", gives to the interobjective field the character of an independent agent, and not dependent or consequence of the other three dimensions. This clarifies, distinguishes and characterizes the interobjective dimension, allowing a real fourth dimensionality to the model.

The described model makes justice to human work and at the same time includes the created and transmitted human group knowledge. Group knowledge in the general sense goes beyond to the knowledge of the objective science that is located in the Wilber's 'objective' quadrant. Without abandoning intellect and rationality this approach completes the common theoretical bias of conventional intellectual theories, making some theories closer to the real and meaningful human actions. By having this quadrant well defined, there is an unambiguous placement in integral approaches for the active and creative human potential.

Evolutive relevance

There is also a correspondence with the evolutional levels in the other three dimensions, forming the whole holarchy. Table 5 is the result of integrating the specific work developed in the present study concerning tekhnes, with the table extracted from A brief history of everything (Wilber, 1995, p. 74) and the table from What Is Integral Spirituality? (Wilber, 2005 -first draft, June 2005-, p. 5).

Table 5. The whole holarchy in the four dimensions

Humanity evolved by revolutions highly dependent of the tekhne-logic development. It seems clear that the different revolutions (i.e. cognitive, horticultural and agricultural, economic, scientific, industrial, technological-communications, consciousness) implied some kind of necessary tekhne-related improvement. This gives a special centrality to the interobjective quadrant in the Integral Theory.

Relevance for personal development

We presented (Table 3) the potential personal development in arts. This evolution begins with the dominion of a set of rules and/or interpretive parameters, starting as beginner or novice. The direction points to acquire 'mastery', arriving step by step to the level of master/teacher. Note that the word 'master' (from magister) is more related in its etymological meaning with tekhne than 'teacher', but teacher acquired in English also the same meaning. A developed master/teacher can relate the art with life, develops from the art that dominates a vital philosophy, makes of the artistic logic a meaningful part of his/her life. Teaching in the corresponding art help teachers in their self-realization. Novices in the art learn from the teacher the vital relevance of the art, and for this feel strongly attracted towards learning it in depth. This attraction is called 'vocation' (a kind of call) and has anthropological and psychological roots. Consequently, tekhnes have also relevance to the evolution of the 'subjective'.

Metaphysical relevance

By creating new objects or artifacts, human groups, at the same time and in different places, understood the act of creation. The 'artist' (Aristotelian) knows the relationship between the creator and the creation. In the physiosphere and biosphere is immediate the question: 'Who created all of this?' 'How is animation possible?' From the logic of tekhnes, the creative-active dimension of the entire cosmos can be understood, because the human thought of a tekhne can be projected more broadly to reality as a whole. The relationship artist-artifact can be projected easily to the relationship between Creator-creature in natural 'objects'. The basis for a meaningful part of the metaphysic thinking is founded in this kind of consciousness. The Creator is in the creation but is not the same than the creation, however, part of Him is in it. Although metaphysics in Aristotle was part of the episteme teoretike, the active knowledge of the interobjective sphere provides the model and possibility to understand the dynamics of metaphysical systems. This knowledge can be useful to understand metaphysics, without presupposing that a personal belief system is better than other, or can be applied in the possibility of understanding equivalences between diverse metaphysical systems.

Epistemological relevance

Wilber presented the different epistemologies in the four quadrants of his system. By considering the interior and the exterior of each quadrant, eight zones were created that define the different epistemological traditions (Helfrich, 2008):

  • Top left quadrant UL (Subjective intention)
    • Zone 1: Introspection, Phenomenology.
    • Zone 2: Structuralism
  • Lower left quadrant-LL (intersubjective cultural systems)
    • Zone 3: Hermeneutics
    • Zone 4: Cultural Anthropology
  • Right upper quadrant - UR (Objective behavior)
    • Zone 5: Autopoiesis
    • Zone 6: Empiricism, Behaviorism
  • Right lower quadrant-LR (Inter-objective social systems)
    • Zone 7: Social Autopoiesis
    • Zone 8: Ecological Sciences, Systems Theory, Anthropology

Aligned with the approach developed for the interobjective quadrant, social autopoiesis doesn't seem clear, because this quadrant was redefined as the quadrant of the relational group-knowledge. Alternatively, this quadrant can be characterized epistemologically with the preponderance of the developed tekhne logic. Zones 7 and 8 in coherence with this development can be redefined (Gallifa, 2018a, 2018b):

Zone 7, interior:
Interpretative tradition, authority in a field, Aristotelian art. E.g. Psychoanalysis (Spence, 1994). Includes criticism, rationality, artistic production (not only aesthetics but functional, sensorial, social, cultural, ethical, etc.). Rational dialectic exercise (Toulmin, 1984). The Design-Based Research (Bereiter, 2002) is an appropriate methodological approach for this zone.

Zone 8, exterior:
Ecological Sciences. Theory of Systems. Complexity Theory. Integral Theory.

Relevance to Education

A relevant and central conclusion from the evolutional descriptions of the tekhnes is that Education is a tekhne, an irreplaceable tekhne that makes possible all the other. Education can be understood as the process by which the mind of the group passes into the individual mind (Vigotski, 1980).

In particular, tekhnes are very relevant in all kinds of professions. Effectively any professional 'know-how' shares this kind of tekhne oriented thinking. Because of this presence and importance, as well as their meaning in the development of humanity from prehistoric times, is very important that tekhne logic becomes a meaningful part of Education. Also, we live today in a universe where the mass media have a crucial influence as creators of collective group representations. Mass media use more Rhetoric and Aristotelian tekhne ways of thinking than logical-scientific ones. The same can be said about the today influence of publicity, sports, entertainment industries, etc. On the other hand, leadership is also an art in this Aristotelian conception. The same happens with many fields and most of the practical/productive approaches.

These tekhne logic related perspectives and ways of thinking are present in contemporary societies. Therefore they have to be present in Education, to understand professions, human groups, and the group human ways of constructing knowledge and group-thinking. All the professions, as we explained, can be understood as tekhnes, and in contemporary professions the creative problem solving and the social construction of knowledge is crucial. Because of that reason the creative problem solving, as well as the product invention, are more and more present in present-day Education (Doak et al. 2013). That's the reason why the 'learning by doing', proposed by Dewey and other thinkers and educators of the 'nouvelle schools', is so meaningful in Education. Besides, as if that were not enough, Education as a profession is itself a tekhne, a tekhne of theknes.

This advocating for tekhne logic doesn't have to be misinterpreted as an antiscientific stance. The argument is that other dimensions have to be added to 'modern' curricula and worldview. The possibility of subjective development, on one side (personal dimension), and on the other side what we can denominate as the tekhne logic dimension (the artistic logic), have to be included in Education at the same level than scientific oriented competences, as Gardner proposed, by providing the scientific framework for that inclusion (Gallifa, 2016).

Finally, this has also a socio-economical correspondence: “Globally, creative industries are estimated to account for more than 7 percent of the world's gross domestic product and are forecast to grow, on average, by 10 percent a year” (Zuhdi, 2014, p. 197). Education needs promoting and developing tekhne logic thinking through Arts Education.

Final remark and conclusions

We developed the tekhne logic way of thinking, an intellectual endeavor that requires rationality. Aristotle introduced it and it's a necessary part to complement integral visions. Otherwise, the comprehensive Sophia would be limited. Effectively the suppression of the Aristotelian views brought a limitation: The reductionism of the theory-praxis. Without tekhne, the knowledge was reduced to episteme teoretike and praktike (phronesis oriented), translated as theory and praxis (the phronesis aim is praxis). Because praxis is also synonymous with practice, it was probably thought that the epistemic possibilities had been exhausted, although praxis -in Aristotle- means to think about the perfection of the agent, as in morals and ethics. With the binomial theory-practice, the tekhne or the group-knowledge was underestimated, despite that, it was the basic form through which humanity developed. Nevertheless, in Modernity the humanity continued developing intensely tekhne thinking, but without the framework of rationality that surely would be appropriate, and the tekhne remained on the margins of the 'intelligentsia' and the university and therefore was marginalized in the intellectual education of young people, who are the elites of tomorrow. The tekhnes were maintained in a diminished tone and the less considered manual professions or the fine arts. The logic and rationality of the arts were lost or diminished, and at the same time, the same happened with the rationale of the creative acts that, in turn, are behind the metaphysical frameworks. These circumstances, among other reasons, caused the limitation of the modern soul and the opening of the paths to postmodernity. After the fragmentation and postmodern pluralism, comprehensive approaches are required and to accomplish this proposal the tekhne logic needs to be recognized and promoted.

The Wilber's Integral Theory has been reexamined with the tekhne logic perspective in mind. The tekhne logic has been proposed as the organizing element of the interobjective quadrant. The unit in this area is the human ability, skill or competence (i.e. manual, verbal, thinking related, etc.). It requires an imagined final state and a process of transformation that is adapted until reaching the achievement of the purpose or telos. The process needs teaching and learning processes. This interobjective field explains the representational knowledge of a group and the nature of the intentional action. This was the way that hominization followed (tools, signs), and this was the process that contributed to humanization (technological revolutions, symbols).

From this comprehension, different consequences have been detailed. Among other the epistemological framework for the Design-Based Research and other tekhne-related methodologies, which were presented, as well as the understanding of the evolution towards 'mastery' or the comprehension of vocation, human will, and freedom. Otherwise, these dimensions would have no appropriate placement in comprehensive approaches, needed today in any field. The perspective makes justice to the human action, human work, creativity and the knowledge of a group. In the society of knowledge where we live, 'knowledge of a group' has a broader meaning than scientific knowledge, without diminishing the importance of the last one. A tekhne logic approach requires also pragmatic considerations. This is how arts (Aristotelian) work.

It has been explored the possibility of the elevation of the consciousness applying existential tekhnes: the knowledge of a group intended to develop self-knowledge and personal development. The tekhne logic is the appropriate framework to understand and explain spiritual exercises or existential work in comprehensive approaches.

Especially meaningful is the relevance of this study in Education where the tekhne logic is consubstantial to their essence and evolution. Artistic Education is central and necessary to develop the tekhne logic. On the other hand, the personal evolution in a particular tekhne is an adequate framework to understand what characterizes a master/teacher, and the necessary relationship that the tekhne logic has with the meaning for personal life in an authentic teacher.

Better comprehension about the means with which humanity developed, and the processes of transfer from group to individuals, help to understand human evolution and revolutions as well as the impact in the developmental processes. Knowing the tekhne logic helps to understand and manage the human transformational processes. The tekhnes can be useful in the elevation of consciousness and in understanding the today taking place tekhne-logic revolution.

To cite this article:

Gallifa, J. (2018). The tekhne-Logic Revolution. Rethinking the “Interobjective” Dimension of the Integral Theory. Consequences and Relevance to Education. Creative Education, 9(7), 1084-1104.


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