Decisions, Biases and the Creation of Knowledge

Workshop Series to be helt at ODU

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Project News:


The workshop series had to be delayed for funding reasons. A new date has not be determined.


Wisdom and knowledge impact decisions made in society from individual level to community, country, and global levels. How are the knowledge and wisdom created that inform decisions? To what extent is the creation of knowledge impacted, and limited, by individual, community, and cultural biases? What are the origins of these biases? How do the biases relate to the many aspects of diversity? How are the biases impacting, and generated by the granted or withheld privileges due to gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, religious identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics that impact the standing of an individual or a group in society?

In a post-positivistic world, it is accepted that, individually, we only see part of reality. The part of reality we can recognize and the social construct of reality we create individually and in groups are filtered through a web of individual and group biases. Only by accepting the inherent inability of seeing “the whole picture” and by being open for a dialogue respectful of the social construct of others can we enlarge the fraction of reality we recognize and get closer to an objective view.

In which ways do the biases drive progress and evolution of thoughts? Can adaptation happen without these biases, and how do the biases impact the interpretation of facts, evidence and, in particular, knowledge gaps? Importantly, how do the biases constrain science and research?

These are the core questions the workshop series will address. In the context of these questions, the workshops will examine the nexus of knowledge creation, biases and decisions in society. In an open forum, the participants will combine their own experiences with creation and usage of knowledge and decision-making in the context of their relationship to the world around them. Among others, participants will use thought experiments to practice out of the box thinking and to develop a deep understanding of the role and impacts personal and cultural biases have on science, humanities, knowledge creation and societal decision-making. In these experiments, they will analyze societal use of scientific knowledge, evidence and wisdom with the goal to engage in today’s society as problem solvers and skilled leaders.

Objectives of the Workshop Series: Creating an deliberative environment in which the participants are encouraged to push the boundaries of traditional divisions between different groups (including the academic groups in sciences and the humanities), while at the same time developing unique theories in search of a better understanding of the 21st century's diverse, interdisciplinary and global perceptions at their fundamental levels.