Where Is the Method to Our Integral Madness?
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Integral metatheory does not currently employ any formal research method for developing or evaluating its frameworks, propositions, and knowledge claims. As is the case with almost all other metatheory, Ken Wilber’s AQAL framework has been developed according to a creative and idiosyncratic mix of personal insight and traditional scholarship. The AQAL conceptual lenses, their relationships, and the AQAL metatheoretical system, which they constitute, are largely the result of one man’s analysis of extant scientific and cultural knowledge. It may be expert analysis that is based on traditional methods of scholarship, but that informal approach needs to be augmented and evaluated by more rigorous and transparent methods of research. More importantly, those methods need to be developed and applied by communities of researchers, practitioners and scholars who are aware of, and competent in, the methods and techniques of metatheorising. The purpose of this article is to show why this is an important issue in the future development of Integral metatheory and to contextualise the absence of a formal method within a general framework for describing an integral meta-studies. The importance of method is discussed within an integral cycle of learning model that shows why method plays such a crucial role in metatheory building and in scientific disciplines in general. An overview of integral meta-studies is presented to contextualise the discussion of method.