The purpose of this paper is to clarify the role of academia in broader society. What is academia’s role beyond being a business and providing qualified professionals to other businesses? What kind of organization and ethos is consistent with academia’s proper role in society, considered as a higher-order cognitive system?
Society as a whole is modeled as a viable system, with subsystems dedicated to self-production in the here and now (systems 1-3) and subsystems engaged in exploring the outside and future of the system and in consolidating an identity and an ethos (systems 4 and 5). The role, ethos and proper organization of academia are derived from this model and from cybernetic considerations on the proper architecture of system 4 and system 5 cognitive systems.
To fulfill its role as part of society’s system 4 and system 5, academia must include areas that are sometimes considered redundant or an expensive luxury, such as the humanities or basic research. The humanities must strive to catalyze broad community participation as part of their contribution to system 5 and must strive to produce bridge languages between communities and disciplines to increase the connectivity of the World Brain. The publish-or-perish ethos of academia must be replaced by an erotic spirituality, understood as desire for otherness.
This paper integrates broad philosophical considerations on the role of academia with the use of cybernetic models of viable systems and of distributed cognition, yielding practical guidelines for the organization of academia.
This paper is the partial result of the research project: Metrocosmética: sobre la satisfacción superficial de indicadores en educación superior, supported by the Vicerrectoría de Investigación y Transferencia (VRIT) – Universidad de La Salle, 2017.
Bula, G.U. and González, S.A. (2018), "Academia and the World Brain: The role of academia in society considered as a higher-order cognitive system", Kybernetes, Vol. 47 No. 9, pp. 1821-1835. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-11-2017-0453Download as .RIS
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