Walter Watson and David Dilworth’s Archic Matrix

Throughout the history of philosophy, there have been many conflicting stances both towards claiming what exists (ontology), and how we can know our claims are valid (epistemology). There are the oppositions between idealism and realism, between rationalism and empiricism, between thinking all is change and all is changeless, between all is many and all is one, and so on. One approach to overcome these oppositions is to combine them to form their Hegelian synthesis. Another is to deconstruct them à la Derrida. Another pluralistic approach is to consider that there is a germ of truth on each side of the conflicting stance, an aspect of reality for which that stance is valid. Some might think that pluralism is the same as relativism, but it is not. Relativism and pluralism form yet another philosophical opposition like others mentioned above.

Regardless of the validity of pluralism, it can be very useful to analyze what philosophical stances are possible and how they relate to one another. The philosopher Richard McKeon created a rich schema for philosophical semantics that deserves greater recognition. This schema was both simplified and elaborated on by Walter Watson and David Dilworth in their books about the Archic Matrix. There are four main aspects, all exemplified by ancient philosophers: the Sophists, Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle. Everything else is a combination of these original aspects, or essentially a rehashing of them. The main aspects are perspective from the Sophists, reality from Democritus, method from Plato, and principle from Aristotle. These partition “what is”, however it is conceived, into four aspects, each of which can be interpreted in four different ways.

Considering Whitehead’s Criteria, note that perspective has consistency, method has coherency, reality has applicability, and principle has adequacy.

Walter Watson / The Architectonics of Meaning: foundations of the new pluralism

David A. Dilworth / Philosophy in World Perspective: a comparative hermeneutic of the major theories




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9 Responses to “Walter Watson and David Dilworth’s Archic Matrix”

  1. Carl Jung’s Psychological Types « Equivalent Exchange Says:

    […] is sixteenfold less than the 256 different philosophical personalities represented by the Archic Matrix. It would be interesting if someone would create a Myers-Briggs type test for philosophers that […]

  2. Plato’s Divided Line « Equivalent Exchange Says:

    […] the measure of the Aspects of Knowing or the Archic Matrix, Dianoia could be considered the method/knowledge and Noesis the reality/knowable of Plato’s […]

  3. Archic Matrix: Principles « Equivalent Exchange Says:

    […] the Archic Matrix can be thought of as the union of four separate fourfolds, each of the fourfolds of perspective, […]

  4. Archic Matrix: Methods « Equivalent Exchange Says:

    […] the Archic Matrix can be thought of as the union of four separate fourfolds, each of the fourfolds of perspective, […]

  5. J.-Y. Girard’s Transcendental Syntax « Equivalent Exchange Says:

    […] these four levels are in good agreement with Richard McKeon’s schema for philosophical semantics, represented by the fourfold of reality, method, perspective, and […]

  6. Epistemic Virtues of Objectivity « Equivalent eXchange Says:

    […] I thought it was also remarkable that these four aspects of objectivity were very similar to the four aspects of the Archic Matrix of Watson and Dilworth. […]

  7. The Four Treasures, Part 2 | Equivalent eXchange Says:

    […] qualities will not be described. But consider the general features of each item in relation to the Archic Matrix and the four operators of Linear […]

  8. The Archic Philosophers | Equivalent eXchange Says:

    […] systems can be divided into four parts. This division into a four-by-four matrix is called the Archic Matrix and was written about at length in the separate but complementary works of Walter Watson and David […]

  9. Four Philosophies | Equivalent eXchange Says:

    […] inclination is to start with the Archic Philosophers, discussed by Robert McKeon and his students Walter Watson and David Dilworth. These would be the Sophists, Plato, Democritus, and Aristotle. Philosophies aren’t usally […]

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