Main Article Content
This article summarizes the Tree of Knowledge (ToK) System (Henriques, 2003; 2011), and compares and contrasts its depiction of cosmic evolution as four “dimensions of existence” (i.e., Matter, Life, Mind and Culture) with Big History’s eight thresholds of complexity. Both systems share the concern with the current fragmentation in academic knowledge and advocate for a more consilient and integrative vision that places the disciplines in coherent relationship to each other, and both views argue that such efforts are needed to advance wise decision making in the context of the accelerating rate of change. The major differences between the two perspectives are found in how the ToK conceptualizes the different dimensions of existence. Following Matter, the dimensions of Life, Mind and Culture are seen as emerging as a function of different semiotic or information processing systems that give rise to strongly emergent properties. In addition, given its emphasis on psychology and the mental dimension of existence, the ToK highlights some aspects of cosmic evolution that have not been featured prominently in most models of BH. The article ultimately suggests that there is potential for a fruitful synergy between the historical emphasis of BH with the more psychological focus of the ToK System.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).