The methodology for thinking about ways of knowing
The Knowledge Engineering Review has just published an exciting special issue on visualization, visual representation, and reasoning with visual knowledge. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) understood as “the methodology for thinking about ways of knowing” (in the 1988 words of Seymour Papert), computer scientists and knowledge engineers are increasingly interested in alternatives to text as forms of knowledge and as means for its representation. Visual representations and diagrams, sonifications (knowledge represented as sound), even haptic (touch-based) and pheromone (chemical-based) representations have become topics of research within AI and Computer Science in recent years. This interest is motivated partly by the growth of animated computer games and partly by the adoption within computing of ideas from biology, as well as by the profound recognition that no form of knowledge representation is best for every application domain. As a consequence, we may be witness to a decline in the centuries-long hegemony of text within the culture of the modern western world.
Along with different types of knowledge representation, different modes of reasoning and decision-making using this knowledge may also potentially arise. For this special issue these questions are explored for visualization in nine fascinating papers by a multi-disciplinary group of authors: philosophers of mathematics and science, computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and industrial design engineers.
The papers for this special issue were solicited, anonymously refereed, and selected by a team of three leading philosophers of the visual, the invited special issue co-editors: Mélanie Frappier (History of Science and Technology Programme at the University of King’s College, in Halifax, Novia Scotia), Letitia Meynell (Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Novia Scotia), and James Robert Brown (Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Ontario).