Knowledge in Crisis

Under Construction! Please note that the official Cluster website is currently in development. In the meantime, a description of the project and its activities can be found below.

Knowledge in Crisis

Duration: 1. October 2023 – 30. September 2028

Funding: FWF Cluster of Excellence

Consortium: CEU (Lead), University of Graz, University of Salzburg, University of Vienna

 

NEWS

Our next public event Why Do We Disagree About Politics is on 21 February! More details & registration here.

Read about our kickoff event here!

 

EVENTS

21 February, Vienna – Panel Discussion & Reception: Why Do We Disagree About Politics? (Public)

26 February, Online – Board Meeting (Closed)

11 March, Graz – Research Group Meeting: Language (Closed)

18 March, Graz – Research Group Meeting: Mind (Closed)

3–4 June, Vienna – All Cluster Meeting (Closed)

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Knowledge is the ultimate human resource: without knowledge we cannot effectively manage the environment, our cities, healthcare, governments, education systems, science, culture and everything else. Knowledge is what makes our societies flourish and grow.

But today we face a crisis of knowledge. Our claims to knowledge are being threatened by rapid and spectacular developments in technology, as well as by attacks on the very ideas of knowledge and truth themselves.

Photo by Kajetal Sumila (Unsplash)

The flood of information on the internet challenges our ability to tell truth from falsehood. Artificial Intelligence produces apparently plausible texts which have little connection to reality. Across many areas of inquiry, there is a widespread rejection of standards of evidence and expertise. Misinformation is spread as if it were information (for example, about democratic elections). There are conspiracy theories about the authority of science: for example, about climate change and vaccines. What explains this crisis, how should we understand it, and how should we deal with it?

 

At the heart of the crisis of knowledge are philosophical problems about the relationship between knowledge, truth, science, ethics and politics; and ultimately our relationship to reality itself. Some of these questions are among the perennial questions of philosophy. For example: What is truth? What is knowledge? Who or what is a knower? Does science have any special authority in telling us what to believe? But some questions arise especially for us today. For example: how can we tell whether information on the internet is fake? Are there alternative facts? How can we allow a plurality of views and tolerate disagreement? How should scientific knowledge function in our democratic societies? What is democracy and how can it be defended?

 

We need a new approach that brings thinkers from many areas of philosophy together – not just in the small part of philosophy that deals with questions about knowledge, but also in the fields of ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophies of science, mind, language and reality. These areas normally pursue their questions independently; Knowledge in Crisis will probe the deep connections between them, enabling a completely new understanding of today’s crises of knowledge.

Knowledge in Crisis brings together 33 philosophers to investigate questions within 6 key areas:

 

  1. Knowledge  The Reach of Human Knowledge
  2. Mind              Knowledge Production in the Human Mind
  3. Science         Science and its Discontents
  4. Ethics            Knowledge of Ethics and the Ethics of Knowledge
  5. Society          Shared Humanity and Social Differences
  6. Language     Language, Truth and Knowledge

  

Board of Directors

Tim Crane (Director of Research)

Katalin Farkas (Deputy Director of Research)

Jason Means (Director of Management and Transfer)

Paulina Sliwa (Director of Training)

Marian David

Max Kölbel

Hans Bernhard Schmid

Charlotte Werndl

Key Researchers

Central European University:

Anca Gheaus

Asya Passinsky

Cathy Mason

Ferenc Huoranszki

Maria Kronfeldner

Simon Rippon

 

University of Graz:

Guido Melchior

Katharina Felka

Martina Fürst

Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl

Ursula Renz

 

University of Salzburg:

Bettina Bussmann

Julien Murzi

Patricia Palacios

 

University of Vienna:

Angela Kallhoff

Benjamin Schnieder

Felix Pinkert

Herwig Grimm

Markus Peschl

Mark Coeckelbergh

Tarja Knuuttila

 

Associate Researcher

Julian Reiss, Johannes Kepler University Linz

 

Key International Collaborators

Quassim Cassam, University of Warwick

Georgi Gardiner, University of Tennessee

Jessie Munton, University of Cambridge

Jason Stanley, Yale University

Questions? Contact kic@ceu.edu.