Alan N. Shapiro, Visiting Professor in Transdisciplinary Design, Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, Germany

Blog and project archive about transdisciplinary design, media theory and creative coding

Anticipating the Future through Knowledge of the Fiction in Social Reality, by Alan N. Shapiro

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I was the keynote speaker at the conference on “Das Wissen der Zukunft” (“Knowledge of the Future”) that took place at the University of Vienna on November 4-5, 2011.

My topic was “Anticipating the Future through Knowledge of the Fiction in Social Reality.”

I have heard a lot of statements and discussions about the dialogue between art and science. However, I have the distinct impression while listening to these discourses that, in spite of the massive focus on it by conferences of this sort, the dialogue between art and science is not going very well. The scientists don’t care about art and don’t respect it as a form of knowledge. My own view is that the presence of a third party at the table is very much required in order to bring this debate and project of the unification of knowledge forward. The third party to the debate is fiction. If many scientists do not take art seriously as a form of knowledge, it is very clear that they take fiction even less seriously as a legitimate form of knowledge. In my view, this is a very big mistake. In order to comprehend what is going on in the contemporary world – in many, many areas – we are going to need to bring in the perspective of fiction and start to show it a great deal of respect. I will demonstrate the truth value or logical value of my assertion that we need a rigorous new science of fiction in order to fathom what is going on around us.

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