Into the Unknown: Open Inquiry and Radical Innovation

Lecture: “Into the Unknown: Open Inquiry and Radical Innovation”

Wednesday, September 25, 5:00 to 6:30 pm, room 0.16

We value diversity and inclusion as an important feature of a fair and open society. Equity demands that the conditions we are born into have minimal influence on the choices available to us. In turn, inclusivity enables us to tap humanity’s full potential. The more people actively contribute to society the better. Few would disagree with this, but the importance of diversity in research and our knowledge-based economy goes even further. In fact, diversity is at the very core of the production of adequate and sustainable knowledge, the type of knowledge we call wisdom; and wisdom is what the world needs right now. Humanity is facing a number of unprecedented environmental and societal challenges. Tackling these challenges will require knowledge that is broad, adapted, flexible, and solidly grounded in scientific, philosophical, and moral principles with the widest possible societal and political support. In this lecture, I will make an argument based on epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge) that examines the role of diversity in the generation of human wisdom. Our collective knowledge grows through the incorporation of individual perspectives. The creative association of different views leads us to new kinds of thinking. This lays the foundation for a new model of research and innovation, a model based on inclusion and cooperation among diverse actors. I argue that such a shift of economic and scientific focus, from competition to collaboration, is essential if humanity is to survive and thrive in these unpredictable times.

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