Speaker: Michael O'Rourke, Michigan State University
Nobody ever said it would be easy, but why is integrating knowledge across the disciplines so hard? One reason has to do with the philosophical character of what we know, i.e., the conceptual commitments that give form and content to our knowledge. This character is largely invisible if you work within a particular system or discipline, but can become visible and problematic if you try to work across disciplines. In this talk, I will develop this problem and then describe the Toolbox Project, which is working on an approach to its solution.
Michael O'Rourke is Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. His research interests include environmental philosophy, the nature of epistemic integration and communication in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, and the nature of linguistic communication between intelligent agents. He is Director of the Toolbox Project, an NSF-sponsored research initiative that investigates philosophical approaches to facilitating interdisciplinary research. He has published extensively on the topics of communication, interdisciplinary theory and practice, and robotic agent design.
He has been a co-principal investigator or collaborator on funded projects involving autonomous underwater vehicles, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, and resilience in environmental systems. He co-founded and served as co-director of the Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference, an interdisciplinary conference on philosophical themes, and as co-editor of the Topics in Contemporary Philosophy series published by MIT Press.
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