Knowledge is Culture Lourdes Arizpe-Schlosser President International Social Science Council
Knowledge and Information • “all knowledge which can be codifiedand reduced to information can now be transmitted over long distance with very limited costs….”(OECD, 1996) • Some knowledge cannot be articulated in linguistic form because it is embedded in non-technological forms of communication: • Spatial language • Body language • Metonymic sequences • Attitudes and etiquette in social relations • Cultural frameworks
Recent research on animals has shown they have: Linguistic expression and sign recognition Sensibility Emotions Capacity to communicate Learning capabilities Capacity to transmit all of these to younger generations A proto-culture? The frontier of language, intelligence and culture, once thought to be exclusively human, has expanded. The research tasks ahead: Scientific: to redefine cognition and language. Philosophical: what is human nature within the biosphere? Ethical: rights and obligations to other living beings in the biosphere. A Culture of Bio-Life The Frontiers of Knowledge:No longer two kingdoms but one biosphere
Genes and the social environment Universal human grammar (Naom Chomsky) A series of mental programmes embedded in the brain in the course of evolution (Steven Pinker) One example: almost half of the I.Q. is inherited; approximately 600 genes are involved . The rest is influenced by conditions of the uterus, family, school and, very importantly, peers. No genetic, biological or social determinism , We are all mutants The Frontiers of Knowledge:No longer “Two Cultures” but “One Sphere of Knowledge”
Knowledge society: a New Framework • Ilya Prigogyne: “we have left an epoch of certainty to go into the era of uncertainty” • Ulrick Beck: a world risk society has emerged out of the limited control we have over the dangers we have created. • Joseph Stiglitz: the unkept promises of development. • Budapest Science Agenda 1998: “the mayor challenge of the coming century lies in the ground between the power which humankind has at its disposal and the wisdom which it is capable of showing in using that power”. Five years later we can only report continued progression in science and dismal regression in wisdom.
Knowledge cannot be understoodwithout culture Conscience, culture, soul. -The synergy between scientific and vernacular knowledge -The loss of intangible heritage: embedded, incorporated and embodied knowledge. UNESCO Convention. -No knowledge without diversity -”Tacit knowledge” and local scientific knowledge
Towards a “World Knowledge Commons”Urgent tasks • Integrate scientific research in “one sphere of knowledge” • Link new knowledge to sustainable development • Develop the stock of intangible capital related to knowledge creation and human capacities in all science sectors, especially social science, and in all countries. • Give emphasis to building human networks through ICT connectivity