Dominique Rousseau, Michel Morvan

Error The Era of Knowledge Publication date : November 1, 2000

The previous century saw countless clashes between different forms of knowledge; the present century should be an era of reconciliation. The time has come to set aside dogmatic definitions of different disciplines and to break open closed forms of reasoning and academic compartementalizing. We should create areas where it will be possible to exchange various types of knowledge and to study their involvement in our political and social history. Such is the goal of The Era of Knowledge, a thematic quarterly magazine which publishes the results obtained by the think-tank of the Institut Universitaire de France, whose members include dozens of renowned university lecturers representing a wide range of subjects. Each issue of the magazine is divided into three parts: a theme which is examined in the light of various academic disciplines; an interdisciplinary debate; a bibliography, including works that have not yet been published in French. The second issue of Le Temps des Savoirs, focuses on the subject of error: errors in forecasting (whether in predicting economic trends or earthquakes), faulty reasoning, linguistic errors, legal mistakes, and errors in arbitration and calculation. Why are mistakes often more interesting than the truth? Does this mean that we should go so far as to give errors the same status as truth? The present issue includes a conversation between Anne Fago-Largeault and Axel Kahn on “Bio-technologies and Human Transformation” — a crucial debate as France prepares to revise its 1994 bio-ethical laws, and after Britain has permitted embryonic research.