[Registration Needed] Mini-Symposium Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Osaka University – University of Groningen Agreement “Meta-Science – Towards a Science of Meaning and Complex Solutions”, free webinar on 7th of November 2022

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Osaka University and University of Groningen has communicated closely with the Agreement of Academic Exchange and Cooperation signed by both universities in 2002.

This time, we will hold a mini-symposium “Meta-Science – Towards a Science of Meaning and Complex Solutions” on 7th of November in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of this agreement.

Date and place

Date/Time: 7 November, 2022 14:30-17:30 (JST)
Language: English
Registration Deadline: 2 November, 2022
Organizer: Osaka University

Purpose of the event

Science has lost its ethical imperatives as it moved away from a science of ought to a science of is. Subsequently, it might have answers for how we can address global challenges, such as climate change and poverty, but not why we should. This supposedly neutral stance leaves it to politics and religions (in the sense of non-scientific fields of social engagement) to fill in the values. The problem is that through this concession, science implicitly acknowledges that it is not of universal relevance. This leaves the ethics embodied in current economic and legal systems fundamentally unchallenged. This split into scientific and non-scientific domains of existence is rather odd. One would assume that science to fulfill its claim for universal validity is equally interested in the domains of matter as well as that of ideas. Objective knowledge, as Karl Popper calls for, might be less easily attainable in the world of ideas and within the confines for scientific idealism. However, if ideas, values, and meaning have equal claim to be drives of change in the sense of causation, aspiring to identify objective knowledge about the world of ideas and of meaning is necessary. If the sciences and disciplines aim to give objectively valid reasons for our actions (and for how to address global challenges), we need to elevate the study of meaning beyond the cultural, disciplinary, and ideational delineations. As scientists, we need to bridge between the ideological divides, which separate the what and how from the why and what for in the struggle to solve complex global challenges. We need to come to a meta-understanding of values and meaning equal to objective knowledge about the material world. But differently than in the material world, this meta-understanding needs to incorporate individual and subjective experiences as cornerstones of objectivity on a meta-level. We need a science of meaning; one that can scientifically answer Immanuel Kant’s third question of “What may I hope for?” Furthermore, if science needs to be able to deal with the complex challenges that the world is currently facing, it needs to be able to adapt complex solutions that also reflect the experiential world of human society, culture, and religion. The question of meaning and hope is thereby inextricably connected with the application of complex solutions to solve global complex challenges.


14:30 Opening address
     Prof. Dr. Genta Kawahara, Executive Vice President of Osaka University

14:35 Opening address
     Prof. Dr. Jouke de Vries, President University of Groningen

14:40 Introduction by Prof. Dr. Andrej Zwitter
14:45 Introduction by Prof. Dr. Takuo Dome
14:50 Meta-Science as the Science of Meaning and of Complex Solutions
     Prof. Dr. Andrej Zwitter
     Dean, Faculty Campus Fryslân
     / Academic Director, Cyan Centre on Climate Change Adaptation
     / Professor, Department of Governance and Innovation, University of
15:00 Corresponding Practice Keynote:
     Jacques Buith

     Senior Partner / Head of United Nations Affairs, Deloitte International
15:10 From Fundamental Incapability to WE-turn:
     Prof. Dr. Yasuo Deguchi
     Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Ethics,
     Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University
15:20 Policing and its quest for meaning:
     Prof. Dr. Michael Mulqueen
     Professor of Policing and National Security, School of Justice,
     University of Central Lancashire
15:30 Corresponding Practice Keynote:
     Dr Clíona Saidléar
     Executive Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI),
     Health Research Board
15:40 Towards a philosophy of decision making
     Dr. Michael Hoelzl
     Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy and Religion, The University of
15:50 Global engagement education: a pluralist history and future of science
     Dr. Indira van der Zande
     Programme Director University College Fryslan
     / Assistant Professor, Campus Fryslan, University of Groningen
16:00 From Space to Place: XY Placeholder text
     Prof. Dr. Michihiro Kita

     Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
16:10 Hoping for a Mutual Aid Society Supported by Sympathetic Capitalism
     Prof. Dr. Takuo Dome
     Advisor to the President / Director, Social Solution Initiative
     / Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University
16:20 Corresponding Practice Keynote:
     Dr. Chihiro Takayama

     Fellow, Eisai Co., Ltd.
16:30 Break
16:45 Discussion
17:25 Closing address
     Prof. Dr. Genta Kawahara, Executive Vice President of Osaka University


Intarnational Affairs Division