Knowledge Federation Can Transform Social Creation of Truth and Meaning

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Changes made possible

  • From fitting pieces into a worldview of a tradition [1], to federating truth and meaning [2].


Since our 'official' worldview still tends to be the worldview of 19th century physics [3], this change can enable our worldview to continue evolving, and us to continue evolving culturally.

Knowledge Federation works with this important issue within the TNC Prototype project.


Notes

  1. The word tradition here includes both academic disciplines — where the worldview is passed from one generation of professionals to the next — and world traditions.
  2. Knowledge Federation enables this change by developing and implementing a practical method, more precisely a socio-technical system, for practicing an epistemology where contending worldviews are kept in a federation and reconciled on a higher level — which is knowledge federation by definition.

    The idea that reality has (or that our interpretations of it must have) levels is a recent product of evolution of science and philosophy. In Transdisciplinarity as Methodological Framework for Going Beyond the Science-Religion Debate (which is itself a federation of Husserl's phenomenology and Piaget's transdisciplinarity and Gadamer's hermeneutics and... and of course key epistemological insights from contemporary physics — Nicolescu is a quantum physicist at CNRS Paris) Basarab Nicolescu observes the following:
    A single level of Reality can only create antagonistic oppositions. It is inherently self-destructive if it is completely separated from all the other levels of Reality. A third term which is situated at the same level of Reality as that of the opposites A and non-A, cannot accomplish their reconciliation. (..) [T]he action of the logic of the included middle on the different levels of Reality induces an open structure of the unity of levels of Reality. This structure has considerable consequences for the theory of knowledge because it implies the impossibility of a self-enclosed complete theory. Knowledge is forever open.

  3. Werner Heisenberg writes in "Physics and Philosophy":

    In this way, finally, the nineteenth century developed an extremely rigid frame for natural science which formed not only science but also the general outlook of great masses of people. This frame was supported by the fundamental concepts of classical physics, space, time, matter and causality; the concept of reality applied to the things or events that we could perceive by our senses or that could be observed by means of the refined tools that technical science has provided. Matter was the primary reality. The progress of science was pictured as a crusade of conquest into the material world. Utility was the watchword of the time.

    On the other hand, this frame was so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our language that had always belonged to its very substance, for instance, the concepts of mind, of the human soul or of life.

    [O]ne may say that the most important change brought about by [the results of modern physics] consists in the dissolution of the rigid frame of concepts of the nineteenth century. Of course many attempts had been made before to get away from this rigid frame which seemed obviously too narrow for an understanding of the essential parts of reality. But it had not been possible to see what could be wrong with the fundamental concepts like matter, space, time and causality that had been so extremely successful in the history of science. Only experimental research itself, carried out with all the refined equipment that technical science could offer, and its mathematical interpretation, provided the basis for a critical analysis – or, one may say, enforced the critical analysis – of these concepts, and finally resulted in the dissolution of the rigid frame.


See also

  • The vignette in Ode to Self-Organization - Part Two beginning with In an old joke a bishop came to a village.. is a brief explanation why the conventional epistemology is inconsistent with the results of 20th century physics, cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy... Indeed, the very fact that this epistemology remains dominant in spite of counter-evidence is an excellent illustration of our inability to federate fundamental insights from academic disciplines where they are reached, to disciplines whose methodology and worldview they put into question, and to culture at large.


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