Reflections on the Toolbox Process
Speaker: Michael O'Rourke
This talk/workshop concerns the roles that dialogue can play in generating mutual understanding. Drawing on the experiences and data of the Toolbox Project, a US NSF-sponsored effort that aims to facilitate communication and collaboration in cross-disciplinary research, I will begin by describing several modes of conceptual integration achieved via dialogue.
To supply the audience with a specific example of conceptual dialogue, I will then conduct brief, parallel Toolbox workshops around prompts of interest to the KI community. The session will conclude with guided discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of dialogue as a vehicle for building bridges between disciplines.
Michael O’Rourke is Professor of Philosophy and faculty in AgBioResearch at Michigan State University (MSU). In addition, he is Director of the Toolbox Project, an NSF-sponsored research initiative that investigates philosophical approaches to facilitating interdisciplinary research. His research interests include environmental philosophy, the nature of interdisciplinary research, and linguistic communication between intelligent agents. He has published extensively on the topics of communication, interdisciplinary theory and practice, and robotic agent design in journals such as The Journal of Philosophy, Synthese, BioScience, and The Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. He has been a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or collaborator on funded projects involving environmental science education, the facilitation of cross-disciplinary communication, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, resilience in environmental systems, and autonomous underwater vehicles.
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