The Oxford Protocol : Modules


We are gathered in one sense around a problem—that we think might be widely shared—of stuckness.  But it seems, looking at our module contributions, that we might have a more specific interest (or several interests) in the concept of problem—in its nature, its purpose, and its potential for collaboration.

We face “wicked problems” (Science/Humanities module), or perhaps “virtuous problems” of time and temporality (Topology).  We are challenged by the problem of change (Core technology).  We take on the “notorious problem with defining information within physics” (Constructor), and pose the question of “getting the parameters of problems right” (Threshold).  In a rather different sense, we try to avoid the “problem” of too much faith in market theory. Outside the group, the Carnegie Foundation is now pushing the notion of ‘improvement sciences’—those studies and new knowledges that can demonstrate their potential for moving beyond description or prediction to improving the world (or at least one particular and challenging problem).  Knowledge at work in the world?   Is solving a problem a way to create new knowledge?  Is new knowledge even a by-product of problem solving?  Or is it the goal?

Before the parameters can be defined, we might take up the problem of what kinds of problems we think our platform might build toward, and the question of whether we use the concept of ‘problem’ to indicate something that needs to be figured out or explained, resolved or even fixed.

Oxford Group, January 2014: Academy Turned Inside Out | Apotheosis | Core Technology | The Dedisciplinary Environment | Explanatory/Descriptive? | Fiction | Good Explanation | Mediation | Platform | Polemic | Portal | Problems | Protocol | Protocol (II) | Search*/Know* | Sciences/Humanities | Stuckness | Threshold Effects | Topology | Touchstones