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Epistemological dynamics in scientific domains and their influence in knowledge organization María J. López-Huertas María José López-Pérez University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Epistemological dynamics in scientific domains and their influence in knowledge organization María J. López-Huertas María José López-Pérez University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Epistemological dynamics in scientific domains and their influence in knowledge organization María J. López-Huertas María José López-Pérez University of Granada, Spain

2 Introduction Scientific specialties, understood as discourse communities, have a social dimension. This characteristic favours the interaction between socio-cultural contexts and sciences This interaction varies depending on the specialty in a way that, in some instances, it influences not only the development of theories within the fields and practice, but also the epistemological development of them It is interesting to find out how external changes interact with theories within a particular specialty and to what extent a scientific domain is affected by those changes

3 Introduction There is a need for studying how scientific specialties are built and how they grow regarding external circumstances On the other hand, contextualized knowledge has been produced since the begining of last century (Inter/transdisciplinary knowledge), here understood as a result of a specific kind of interaction between science and society. It means here a two way interaction in contrast to the traditional model that it is one way, usually from science to society and that it is related to Mode 2 society

4 Introduction By studying the nature and the intensity of the two way interaction science-society, it could be possible A) to identify which are the domains more affected, to look at their theoretical foundation and to evaluate its response in the development of the field, B) to have a further foundation for the design criteria of KOS. External circumstances affecting specialties are also of concern to KO. This parameter should be considered as a design feature for KOS

5 Introduction This paper is a first look at two fields where the impact of external circumstances is considerable: LIS with emphasis in KO and and Psychiatry Looking at two main issues: the kind of interaction between each specialty and society and the role of reflexibility on the interaction process

6 Knowledge Organization and LIS In the last two decades claims put forward by different specialists pointed to the theoretical problems detected in the field of KO and LIS Different authors have agreed upon: A lack of theoretical coherence, Theoretical weakness, A lack of well articulated body of theories and methods, A lack of novel theories that take to revisit and to reformulate basic questions in KO

7 Knowledge Organization and LIS We can add the problematic situation of terminology in LIS that we understand is in relation to its conceptual and theoretical foundations problems Two main issues that are influential in this state of affairs are the following: 1) the strong impact of external environments, in this case Technology, (Hjørland, 2003) as the most visible one, and 2) the fact that KO and LIS are interdisciplinary (López- Huertas, 2008)

8 Knowledge Organization and LIS 1) Looking at the external influences They have caused an effect of jumping from one platform to another without generating enough research to produce new basic knowledge. The five stages afecting LIS and KO do not define a cumulated fund of findings, theories or principles The field is lacking a well articulated set of theories and it shows an absence of communication among the different view points The overall panorama is not a satisfacory circumstance for a discipline with the ambition of being a science,

9 Knowledge Organization and LIS Others say that this situation is a shortcoming in Information Science (IS) as a specialty (Hirschheim & Klein, 2003). Interdisciplinarity of KO and LIS has a general consensus, but it has not yet been studied in depth Interdisciplinary fields show problems related not only to conceptualizations and terminology, but also to theoretical coherence and epistemology We do recognize theoretical heterogeneity but we do not get integration of theories/paradigms merging in our field

10 Knowledge Organization and LIS At this point, two questions arise : Can we say we have a truly interdisciplinary field without this integration to happen? Will it be the case that we are focussing our research and our field from a multidisciplinary point of view, so we cannot get integration? Some answers could be found moving toward to what has been called Mode 2 knowledge production (Gibbons et al., 1994; Norwotny, Scott & Gibbons, 2001; Gibbons & Nowotny, 2001)

11 Knowledge Organization and LIS Mode 2 society is characterized by pluralism and diversity and also volatility and transgressivity (Norwotny, Scott & Gibbons, 2001, 21) The State, Market and Culture have become fuzzy categories, Science too has become fuzzy because its success has pushed it into even more contextualized and contextualizing arenas In this Society knowledge is now produced in the context of application This new knowledge is characterized by inter- transdisciplinarity, heterogenity, organizational diversity, social accountability, reflexibity and integration,

12 Knowledge Organization and LIS Knowledge coming from this approach is produced by: first having a context of aplication as a result of the two-way interaction between science and social demands, then recognizing the actors needed to solve the problem at hand who might come from different sectors, not only from the sientific one

13 Knowledge Organization and LIS From here on: There should be much communication and interaction and implication among actors in order to get an integrated design. Without this integration nothing can be started, because heterogeneity should be solved before starting reseach, before action. Methodologies, theories, etc., should be agreed beforehand. The knowledge produced in this way is integrated.

14 Knowledge Organization and LIS Both aspects: the influence of external circumstances without much reflexion on them and the aparent multidisciplinarity of our field that pevents of integration of theories, could be in part responsible for the epistemological problems that have been detected. On the other hand It has been argued that KOS should take into account the theory of sciences, in special the epistemological dynamics of a given domain (Hjorland, 2005).

15 Knowledge Organization and LIS But is this enough when dealing with specialties where the epistemology is not given satisfactoy answers? In this case, KOS would reflect the epistemological problems that the study of theoretical models cannot avoid, because these are the problematic part of it

16 Knowledge Organization and LIS Sould KOSs categorize the epistemological problems that exist in a given domain? By doing this, are not we worsen the situation? In other words: Should KO simply be committed to study the paradigmatical environment of sciences in order to create contextualized KOS or should it go beyond that? Should KO be also sensible to this situation and to go a little further in order to detect paradigmatical problems and to put some light on it before constructing KOS?

17 Psychiatry Psychiatry, a knowledge halfway between the empirical sciences and the humanities with a strong technoscientific tinge, reflects some challenges facing knowledge organization To think that it can be conducted without taking into consideration socioeconomic and cultural contexts, it is a naïve position which increases the difficulty and complexity of psychiatric practice and research Nevertheless, the theoretical models used in the field ignore these facts very often

18 Psychiatry To that effect an epistemological change is necessary to overcome this situation and to help to define precisely the proper object of study of this discipline Because We find a complex set of models, concepts and approaches without much internal coherence when defining what is psychopathic Knowledge organization cannot forget that the concepts and the categories constructed are optional and provisional tools in order to guide observation and interpretation of the natural world

19 Psychiatry In the same way, concepts and criteria we use are the result of a long elaboration over time In this sense, the concept of mental illness is quite recent, but not so the concept of madness or possession that always seem to have existed The conceptual burden that each word is adding to its semantic field is defined by a complex system of relationships composed of social, historical, cultural and economic factors that passes through

20 Psychiatry Scientific progress is only possible from the interaction between conceptions and models that face one another in an attempt to explain and to understand a fuller and deeper understanding of reality This takes us to an epistemic scenario marked by uncertainty, which makes you feel the pressure of an emerging paradigm shift in order to respond to questions previously raised We can not keep on thinking new developments with old organizations of concepts and categories

21 Psychiatry It is necessary to build and revise, from a critical reflection, the language that set the various narratives about the mental The narratives and the concepts that articulate them are not neutral. Behind them there is a complex set of goals intended to establish some form of bridge between the beliefs (prejudices) dominant at any given time and a few facts. That is why the images or referents or symbols that a society will understand as human will be crucial in constructing images of the psychopathological (Belloch, 1993).

22 Psychiatry Therefore, There is a need for more complex paradigms and new epistemologies that explain the field in a comprehensive way Knowledge Organization should consider this situation by starting from questioning the epistemological basis, namely, the depletion of our classical, conceptual apparatus which is characterized by objectivity, determinism, testing, experimentation and the principle of causality, eliminating the uncertainties and chaos

23 Psychiatry Positivism is insufficient and inadequate for approaching problems that occur in a heterogeneous, multireferencial and paradoxical world. A carefully new reading of the sources, from where the organization of knowledge is built, is needed KOSs are epistemological tools that allow to understand the complexity of discourses and the difficulty of representing and grouping scientific theories

24 Psychiatry KO should not forget that There exit a previous interpretation, supposedly objective, conducting science within the margins of the dominant (positivist) culture. This model is inadequate to explain the psychopathic KOS are artificial abstractions that have created categories in historical moments that may need be broken despite the vertigo that this might generate, in order to face the psychopathic reality.

25 Psychiatry Only under this perspective transexuality, a sexual identity disorder which has grown from a serious delusional symptom to be treated as an appendage of our individual rights, can be understood It is in this process of enrichment and conceptual articulation where KO pragmatic purpose lies

26 Conclusions This exploratory study has shown some weakness in two important aspects that are interrelated and that affect much to knowledge organization: epistemological problems in the analized domains and a lack of awareness of KOS with respect to this situation The studied domains are of different kinds but they show some epistemolgical similaries as it is the the lack of a coherent theoretical foundation

27 Conclusions The causes of this common pattern of behaviour are slightly different: In the case of KO and LIS, a lack of integration of theoretical models and a slow theoretical growth. In the case of Psychiatry, the existence of a linear, dominant, reductionist theoretical model to approach the object of study. Actual epistemology does not consider the complexity of the reality that it interprets and explain

28 Conclusions In both cases, there are little interaction between the production of knowledge and external circumstances, societal demands. It is known that they exist but there is not a reflective attitude towards them that finally causes a change in models and methods to produce new knowledge. This dynamic prevents an adequate scientific growth and practice. LIS and KO should look for research methodologies capable of producing integrated knowledge as it was previously said.

29 Conclusions KO and KOS designers should explore in a reflexive way the impact of external circumtances on the knowledge that will be represented and organized, trying to identify the bias that such a domain might have. This aspect should be considered a criterium for KOS desing and construction. It cannot be forgotten that a weak reflexibility in the interaction between external circumstances and knowledge production adversely affects epistemological development and good science

30 Thank you!

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