Browsing by Subject "epistemology"

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  • Cosens, Barbara; Ruhl, J. B.; Soininen, Niko; Gunderson, Lance; Belinskij, Antti; Blenckner, Thorsten; Camacho, Alejandro E.; Chaffin, Brian C.; Craig, Robin Kundis; Doremus, Holly; Glicksman, Robert; Heiskanen, Anna-Stiina; Larson, Rhett; Similä, Jukka (National Academy of Sciences, 2021)
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sep 2021, 118 (36) e2102798118
    The speed and uncertainty of environmental change in the Anthropocene challenge the capacity of coevolving social–ecological–technological systems (SETs) to adapt or transform to these changes. Formal government and legal structures further constrain the adaptive capacity of our SETs. However, new, self-organized forms of adaptive governance are emerging at multiple scales in natural resource-based SETs. Adaptive governance involves the private and public sectors as well as formal and informal institutions, self-organized to fill governance gaps in the traditional roles of states. While new governance forms are emerging, they are not yet doing so rapidly enough to match the pace of environmental change. Furthermore, they do not yet possess the legitimacy or capacity needed to address disparities between the winners and losers from change. These emergent forms of adaptive governance appear to be particularly effective in managing complexity. We explore governance and SETs as coevolving complex systems, focusing on legal systems to understand the potential pathways and obstacles to equitable adaptation. We explore how governments may facilitate the emergence of adaptive governance and promote legitimacy in both the process of governance despite the involvement of nonstate actors, and its adherence to democratic values of equity and justice. To manage the contextual nature of the results of change in complex systems, we propose the establishment of long-term study initiatives for the coproduction of knowledge, to accelerate learning and synergize interactions between science and governance and to foster public science and epistemic communities dedicated to navigating transitions to more just, sustainable, and resilient futures.
  • Mäkinen, Joonas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis is an attempt to explore the conceptual relations between the notions of knowledge and information by trying to present and argue for an analysis of knowledge in terms of information. Much of the work is done in the footsteps of Luciano Floridi, although in the end we end up criticizing his epistemology. I begin by introducing and arguing for Floridi’s strongly semantic conception of information, according to which information is well-formed, meaningful and truthful data. We also touch on the reasons for it being the prime candidate for being a starting point for information-based epistemology, e.g. the way it already encapsulates truth. Then, we continue our discussion about Floridi’s epistemology. The substantial features of its conditions, namely the notion of being informed, epistemic relevance and the network theory of account are discussed one by one in moderate length. After putting his analysis together, we took a critical look at it, the conclusion being that Floridi’s jump straight from the informational terms of his conditions to knowing seems unwarranted, given our intuitive grasp on what knowing means. There seems to be an unwarranted conflation of the notions of knowledge and knowing, i.e. that a definition of knowing also contains the full definition of knowledge. However, this conflation is not limited only to Floridi’s analysis but can be found also in much of contemporary epistemology. It is hypothesized that this is partly due to them favouring the third person point of view in their analyses, but if we combine the third person view on knowledge and knowing with e.g. the first person one, the distinction becomes clearer. Another possible reason for the confusion might be a certain equivocation of two senses of knowledge. First, knowledge is often thought of as a kind of extension of knowing: all that is known constitutes knowledge. Here, knowledge is defined through the intension of knowing. The other sense refers to knowledge on its own terms and equates it more closely with its content. While the former sense is more natural in mainstream epistemology and the latter when approached from the point of view of information, the equivocation can still be found in mainstream epistemology. The suggested solution is to make the distinctions between knowledge, having knowledge and knowing clearer. Now, Floridi’s analysis can be taken as a decent attempt at capturing the meaning of ‘S holds the knowledge that i’, but to define actual knowing something additional is required. Some very tentative thoughts are given with regards to what that might be, boiling mostly down to it having to be something providing conscious access, or transparency, to the knowledge we hold. This distinction is the result of approaching knowledge and knowing in informational terms. What ultimately validates making the distinction, and thus also indirectly the framework from it grew out of, is the insight it provides to existing epistemological problems and discussions.
  • Jokinen, Sonja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The aim of this study was to explore the epistemologies and conceptions of learning upper secondary school students (13-15-year-olds), high school students and their teachers express, and to compare the differences of these epistemologies and conceptions between the three groups. The theory of this thesis is based on earlier research related to epistemologies and conceptions of learning that suggest that epistemologies and conceptions of learning evolve with education and age towards a more sophisticated view of knowledge and learning. The data for this pilot study was collected from a small region in Finland in November 2015. The participants; upper secondary school students, high school students and their teachers (N=380), answered an online survey with two-part Likert-type statements measuring various kinds of epistemologies and conceptions of learning (collaboration, valuing metacognition, deep approach, surface approach and certain knowledge). The data was analyzed through looking at correlations and comparing the results of the three groups using ANOVA. The results of this study partly confirm previous study results of differences in epistemologies and conceptions of learning. Differences between secondary school students, high school students and teachers did occur, older students as well as the teachers tended to have more complex views of knowledge and learning. However, the results of the high school students suggest that they valued certain knowledge too, which is considered a less sophisticated epistemology. The results also show that the teachers valued collaboration and metacognition, but that the students didn't experience these two epistemologies to be practiced in class.
  • Lüpke, Friederike (2021)
    Aims and objectives: This paper captures social dimensions of language in highly diverse small-scale multilingual contexts that appear to pose challenges for (socio)linguistic description and documentation. I focus on the seeming contradiction of monolingual imaginations of places with heterogeneous and multilingual inhabitants, on great fluidity and variability of language use and the concomitant limits of reification-based identification of codes, and on personalised repertoires shaped by individual trajectories and relational, rather than categorical, stances. Approach: I propose patterns and perspectives as two interrelated dimensions to guide research in configurations of this kind, illustrating epistemological and methodological points through data from multilingual settings in Casamance, Senegal. Data and analysis: I focus on data collected in the village of Agnack Grand and its surroundings, but also include data from across the Lower Casamance and adjacent regions of Guinea-Bissau, discussing patterns of multilingual organisation and extracts from conversation and how their speech forms are categorised. Findings: The paper brings sociohistorical dimensions of small-scale multilingualism to the fore and identifies their lasting influences on spatial representations of language regimes. Linguistic spaces influence perspectives on speech events taking place in them and circumscribe speech participants' and observers' choices in describing repertoires, producing and analysing speech forms. Beyond the selection of language modes, perspective also determines how speech forms are categorised. I demonstrate that the patterns speakers and observers have experienced and the perspectives they assume are decisive in shaping their perception. Originality: My central observation is that there is no objective, neutral viewpoint on (multilingual) speech, but that positionality frames it at all levels. I develop new epistemologies for studying these dimensions. Significance: Putting the categorisation processes employed by speakers and observers and their underlying motivations centre stage and integrating sociolinguistic and anthropological linguistic methods and historical knowledge into linguistic description and documentation constitutes an innovative research programme.
  • Welsh, John W (2021)
    This historical materialist analysis places rankings into the imperatives both to govern and to accumulate, and positions academic ranking in particular as the telos of a more general audit culture. By identifying how rankings effect not merely a quantification of qualities, but a numeration of quantities, we can expose how state governments, managerial strata and political elites achieve socially stratifying political objectives that actually frustrate the kind of market-rule for which rankings have been hitherto legitimised among the public. The insight here is that rankings make of audit techniques neither simply a market proxy, nor merely the basis for bureaucratic managerialism, but a social technology or 'apparatus' (dispositif) that simultaneously substitutes and frustrates market operations in favour of a more acutely stratified social order. This quality to the operation of rankings can then be connected to the chronic accumulation crisis that is the neoliberal regime of political economy, and to the growing political appetite therein for power-knowledge techniques propitious for oligarchy formation and accumulation-by-dispossession in the kind of low-growth and zero-sum environment typical in real terms to societies dominated by financialisation. A dialectical approach to rankings is suggested, so that a more effective engagement with their internal and practical contradictions can be realised in a way that belies the market-myths of neoliberal theory.
  • Lehtonen, Saana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how a poetic metaphor challenges our common sense notions about the world (the estrangement effect) and enables unorthodox ways of thinking and acting (creative imagination). In the study, I will compare and evaluate theories that investigate the role that metaphor has in lived human experience. All the theories discussed share the view that metaphor is epistemologically important for humans. Two different characterisations of this epistemic importance can be identified: 1) the cognitive view, which emphasises the role of metaphor in unconscious, prelinguistic and embodied thought; 2) the pragmatic and phenomenological view of metaphor as a creative activity, a re-imagining of experience and a communicative phenomenon. Defending the latter position, I argue that metaphor has epistemic value, but not because metaphor serves as a cognitive foundation for shared human knowledge, but because it is a creative human pursuit of imagining new possibilities and ways of being. I will criticise the cognitive metaphor theory (CMT), as proposed by Lakoff and Johnson, which holds that metaphors are the foundation of human thought and reasoning. This position advocates ideas about global and fixed ways of interpreting metaphor. As such, it fails to explain novel poetic or scientific metaphors, but fairs better with common everyday metaphors, which already have fixed meanings. I will argue that the existence of universal cognitive metaphors is highly doubtful. As an alternative to the problematic framework of the cognitive metaphor theory, I propose pragmatic and phenomenological theories. The pragmatic view of metaphor, proposed by Davidson and Rorty, succeeds better at describing the experience which a novel metaphor incites in the reader. This position suggests that metaphor has an effect, which cannot be explained by extension of a word’s meaning. Metaphor is a linguistic stimulus, which forces the reader to do some creative guesswork about its intention and meaning. Metaphor has pragmatic potential, because it motivates human innovation and discovery. The phenomenological position, espoused by Ricoeur, describes the sense of wonder and excitement that living metaphor evokes in us. This view suggests that metaphorical estrangement is closely aligned with the phenomenological method of epoché, suspension of everyday judgment. Ricoeur suggests that poetic metaphor, similar to the epoché, can help us distance ourselves from the natural attitude and reveal novel ontological possibilities for humans. Despite their differences, both the pragmatist and the phenomenological position characterise metaphor as a creative use of language and arrive at similar conclusions. Committing metaphoric acts has positive consequences because metaphors motivate critical thought, prompt self-reflection and re-evaluation of our previous thought, and enable creative problem solving, speculation and invention.