Philosophy Matters - Examining the Value of Knowledge Page: 2
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philosophers could do so, if they wanted. According to Thales, however, philosophers are
interested in things more valuable than money.
At the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity (CSID), philosophers continue to examine the
value of knowledge. From the perspective of the mid- to late 20th century, societal pressures
revealed gaps and inadequacies in the disciplinary structure of the academy: connections not
being made, and topics not being examined. Interdisciplinary programs were developed in
areas such as women's studies, area studies, and environmental studies to address these
needs. This period also saw the development of a scholarly literature on interdisciplinarity (first
codified by Klein, 1990) and the creation of professional societies (in the US, the Association
for Integrated Studies, AIS, in 1979) devoted to exploring these issues.
However, interdisciplinarity may also be seen as the most recent expression of a set of
perennial questions concerning the pertinence of knowledge for the goal of living well. Such
questions span the entirety of Western culture, and reassert themselves with particular force
during times of cultural change (see, for instance, Rousseau's Discourse on the Moral Effects
of the Arts and Sciences (1750), Goethe's Faust (1808), or Nietzsche's On the Use and Abuse
of History for Life (1873)). Today this question once again takes on renewed importance as we
face a new set of challenges tied to the development of the internet and other new information
CSID places its work within this second, larger compass, seeing "interdisciplinarity" as a
placeholder for more general concerns with the rapidly changing place of the academy and
knowledge generally within 21st century society.
From the local and state to the federal level, society today demands greater accountability
from researchers. Whether in the sciences or the humanities, knowledge production today
must simultaneously be:
o Theoretically rigorous
o Policy relevant
o Culturally significant
o Economically sustainable
CSID research aims to achieve all of these goals, as well as helping others to achieve these
goals through their own research.
One example is CSID's CAPR project, pronounced 'caper'. The Comparative Assessment of
Peer Review (CAPR) is a four-year project (2008-2012) studying the changing nature of the
peer review processes across six US and foreign public science agencies. CAPR is funded by
the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP)
Peer review is the governing mechanism of the academy - the means to determine hiring and
promotion, vetting of publications, and the distribution of research funds. As such, peer review
has been a disciplinary concept, and peers have most often been defined in disciplinary terms.
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Frodeman, Robert & Holbrook, J. Britt. Philosophy Matters - Examining the Value of Knowledge, paper, May 10, 2012; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84353/m1/2/?rotate=90: accessed May 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.