The research planned for the new research community 'Research on the construction of integrated worldviews' is a continuation of the research within the former research communities (1995-2000, 2000-2005, 2005-2010). The new research community still uses as a framework the five main elements of a worldview. Research is planned to deepen the understanding of each of these key elements:
(1) The construction of a model of the world: research into the nature and functioning of the world (A).
(2) An explanatory model of the world: in addition to describing one also explains (A).
(3) A value model of the world: how do we value the global reality (B).
(4) An example of model construction: each model, albeit descriptive, explanatory or evaluative, implies a model structure (A, C).
(5) An integrated action model: we are not only knowing, appreciative and emotionally involved in the world, but also active (B, C). (A) 'Quantum Structural Research and Modeling Scheme': Previous results have clarified how 'the influence of context and environment' and the non-classical, non deterministic, and/or non-Boolean structure of entities and processes from the domain of the social sciences can be studied by means of models that originate in the non classical (e.g. quantum) exact sciences.
This is very similar to the 'complexity and chaos approach' of the eighties, where formal models of classical science were used to study entities and processes in the social sciences.
However, complexity and chaos models are unable to model 'the influence of context and environment', since they arise from classical mechanical theories. The models in the new approach are non-classical, and therefore are able to describe the influence of context and environment in a natural way. In the new research community there will be a continuation of the 'Quantum Structural Research and Modeling Scheme' program, started in the foregoing five years of the research community, where it gave rise to 30 joint articles of which 17 in ISI Impact factor journals, and several workshops, conferences and symposia, and publications in proceedings and books.
This research program is a collaboration between seven groups (i) CLEA (Diederik Aerts); (ii) CLPS (Erik Weber); (iii) QIEG (Marek Czachor); (iv) CCE (Liane Gabora); (v) EC (Graciela Domenech); (vi) QDTG (Emmanuel Haven) and (vii) QPQI (Jian-Wei Pan).
The global research aim for the coming five years is to elaborate the 'quantum structural modeling scheme' - technically using the standard complex Hilbert space quantum formalism as well as the generalized SCOP formalism - and elaborate it into a complete theory, applying it in even greater detail to the modeling of human thought, the way conceptual structures are handled and decisions are made. And specifically extending its application to situations in economics (for this reason the new group QDTG, headed by Emmanuel Haven has been invited to join). We also intend to investigate semantic analysis theories, information retrieval techniques, and holographic reduced memory structures in further detail. We want to apply the insights gained to (re)consider well known problems in quantum structure research itself, more specifically the problem of contextuality and the problem of the description of compound quantum entities. Also the possibility of new experiments relevant for these problems of quantum physics will be investigated (for this reason the new group QPQI - a young Chinese top level experimental and theoretical quantum physics group, e.g. three publications in Nature in 2010 - headed by Jian Wei Pan, has been invited to join). The general methodology consists in working on two planes with continuous feedback from the one to the other, more specifically in: (a) elaborating further the structural and mathematical aspects of the formalism itself (SCOP and how complex Hilbert spaces are used), and (b) working out very concrete examples, usually with data sets of experimental results from the different fields of application; (c) putting forward concrete models applying the general theory for these data sets pertaining to the different fields of application. The global aim is to arrive at a general theory which introduces a fundamental new mathematical modeling of human thought and decision processes and which, unlike existing approaches, is realistic in that it allows modeling (i) the influence of context and (ii) the influence of the constant emergence of new concepts when the human mind engages in conceptual combinations; while this emergence has not been identified in existing approaches, it has been revealed experimentally, for example in the 'pet fish problem', the 'disjunction effect' and the 'conjunction fallacy'.
(B) 'Identity, Boundary and Difference': The new research community continues also the research on 'Identity, Boundary and Difference' as research into the foundations of world views itself. This research program concerns a deep investigation into the difference between the self/same and the other. As a fundamental examination of the (implicit and explicit) materials of a worldview, it explores the genesis of identities and differences and their intersection. In a contemporary context, this means a philosophicalanthropological research into sense and meaning. This topic breaks down into four different projects to be conducted in collaboration between the Centre Leo Apostel, VUB and partners in Flanders as well as in the international sphere. 1. Starting from a reflection on the mechanism of experience and meaningfulness (as well as its deepening and broadening processes), the relationship between identity and citizenship will be explored. What dimensions of citizenship can be regarded as important sources of meaningfulness and a meaningful life within a late-modern, globalised society? Partnerships will be established with PRAGODI and CICI. 2. The contemporary body versus spirit debate will serve as a framework to examine how concepts in the area of awareness, the self and the body emerge as distinct notions and thus how identity is invested with meaning in the Western and in the indigenous Indian techno-scientific and medico-legal definitions of brain death and the related practice of organ acquisition. There will be close collaboration with CALC and CSCS. 3. Within a Sri Lankan context, research is conducted into how, as far as the need for food is concerned, the category of the person is being co-produced through an everyday combination of precarious life-sustenance and fragile relationality. This process highlights a self constituted in its dynamic relations, rather than a self which is singular. Close collaboration with CALC, IARA, LAAP, and ICES. 4. The fourth research project focuses on the context of globalisation and alterglobalisation, investigating the way in which identities of worldviews gain legitimacy in the contemporary global discourse. To this end, the implications of a philosophical meaning of the same or other ways of globalisation as a political moment will be examined. For this project, there will be collaboration with CCR and with DCS.
(C) 'Knowledge, Technology and Culture': The third main research program on 'Knowledge, Technology and Culture' contributes to the normative dimension of the global worldviews project. This research program will expand on the work that has been done over the last ten years on 'knowledge and constructivism' and which has mainly concentrated on a radical constructivist account of how scientific knowledge emerges from human activity starting from the insight that cognitive systems are subject to evolutionary and ontogenetic development. Within the current program, this approach is broadened towards studying the co-evolution of knowledge, technology and culture from a number of different though interrelated perspectives: historical, philosophical and socio-political. This research program encompasses collaboration between CLEA, TRG, SSU, PMT, CDO, CTK, FEM, SPHERE, CLPS and CHS. The global research aim for the coming five years is the elaboration of an a-modern conceptual framework that, on the one hand thinks beyond one-sided instrumental techno-scientific and substantive social frameworks and, on the other hand attends to the concrete practices science and technology are involved in. In this respect, the postphenomenological perspective as developed by Don Ihde (TRG) and further explicitated by Peter-Paul Verbeek (PMT) in terms of the technological mediation of the co-constitution of subjectivity and objectivity presents a valuable and rich basis to explore more deeply the entanglements between the natural order and the social order, that is to say between the world of science and technology on the one hand and that of society and politics on the other. The insights gained will also be used in reconsidering the role of science and technology in the pursuit of sustainability, in this way contributing more concretely to the normative dimension of the global worldviews project. In practice, the 'knowledge, technology and culture' program will be further unpacked in four mutually complementary, interactive research tracks: (a) study the entanglement between scientific knowledge production and societal formations, with a particular historical focus on the concrete practices and experiments of science (CLEA, CHS, TRG, CTK, SSU, FEM, SPHERE, CLPS); (b) study how a typically modern interpretation of knowledge production, which resulted in the occultation of this entanglement, took shape in the early modern period (CLEA, CHS, FEM, SPHERE); (c) study the entanglement between humans and technology, with a particular focus on the social and cultural roles of technology and the ethical and anthropological aspects of concrete human-technology relations (CLEA, TRG, PMT, SSU); (d) study the evolution of socio-technical formations (such as systems of mobility, housing and feeding) with a particular focus on developing entry points for actively steering or influencing this evolution in more sustainable patterns (CLEA, PMT, CDO, SSU, CHS, CTK).