Participation in interdisciplinary projects has always been an important part of my philosophical work.
In the 1960s, I cooperated with the economist D.J. Shaw in a project which we called African University in Transition. We produced three reports in 1967: A Survey of the Students in the University of Khartoum, A Survey of the Students in the University of Khartoum 62/63, and together with the philosopher A.P. Cavendish Staff Attitudes in an African University. Cf. our paper The Student Community in an African University and my book Afrikas universitet (both 1970).
History, Science and Society was a project within the framework of the Nordic Summer University which lasted for five years (1973-1977). The project was led by Kjell S. Johannessen and myself. The emphasis was on the history of the humanities and social sciences.The results were assembled in a book which was to be published in Denmark in 1980, but the publishing house ceased to exist in the middle of the printing process. A selection of the papers has been published in the volume Vitenskapenes vekst (1996).
At the same time, we began to cooperate with the departments of art history and theatre at the University of Bergen (Gunnar Danbolt,Tor Bastiansen Trolie et al.). For several years, we had common seminars once a week, which were attended by most of the students of art history and theatre. Two research projects were developed within this framework: The history of the theory of art and Philosophy of art and fundamental problems in art historical research. The aesthetic projects led to a number of books and papers, including my own essay on explanation and understanding in the history of art and papers on such themes as aesthetic competence and intention in art.
In the 1980s and 90s I took part in a couple of projects which aimed at digitalizing Ludwig Wittgenstein's Nachlass. I was a member of the Norwegian Wittgenstein project (1981-87), assisted in the establishment of the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen and was a member of the governing board for the first few years. More>
The philosophy of the humanities is a rather neglected area. When the faculty of arts at the University of Bergen decided to introduce a course on the history, aim and function of the humanities in the beginning of the 80s, I got the responsibility for leading the development in that area. Together with a handful of colleagues from various departments I compiled collections of texts which were tried out for some years. Since there was no up-to-date book on the history and philosophy of the humanities in any language, I started writing such a text myself. The first edition of Fra kunst til vitenskap. Humanvitenskapenes grunnlag i et historisk perspektiv was published in 1987. Later I also made a Swedish version of it.
The new approach to aesthetics and the humanities led to a series of symposia, postgraduate courses and conferences, e.g. Wittgenstein - Aesthetics and Transcendental Philosophy in Bergen in 1980 and Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Culture in Kirchberg am Wechsel in Austria in 1995.
At the same time, I took part in several other projects from the 70s to the 90s.
From the middle of the 1970s, I cooperated with Bo Göranzon in Stockholm in several projects. The first one was the PAAS Project, Conditions for change in working life, 1974-1983. Some of the results were summed up in the books Ideologi och systemutveckling (1976, 1978) and Datautvecklingens filosofi. Tyst kunskap och ny teknik (1984). My research report on evaluations and paradigms in computer-assisted development belongs to the same context. We were also invited to make an investigation of working conditions in the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm and to make research on part time work and home work for one of the Swedish labour unions.
In the 1980s, I took part in a project concerning communication of research results in working life studies, the FORM project, which was led by Ingela Josefson. The starting-point was an evaluation of a recent working life project, which led to critical reflection on the conditions of communication in that field and to an analysis of the conditions of understanding in general. More on that in the book Språk och erfarenhet (1985).
Research, Ethics and Development – Research Policy in the Sudan was a project which started in 1977, with Dr Ibrahim Ahmed Omer (University of Khartoum), professor Håkan Törnebohm (University of Gothenburg) and myself as participants. We produced many reports on the way to the final result, Research and Development in the Sudan, Khartoum University Press, 1985. Bergen Talks on Philosophy of Development (1982) gives some glimpses from our discussions at that time. (The picture: Håkan Törnebohm in Khartoum, 1977.)
Two other projects in the 70s dealt with transcendental pragmatics and research pragmatics. Both were led by Gunnar Skirbekk and myself. The projects led to my book on the Ought/Is-issue, Fra ”er” til ”bør”? (1984), and the collection of papers, Die pragmatische Wende (1986), edited by Dietrich Böhler, Tore Nordenstam and Gunnar Skirbekk.
Management and Change was a project led by professor Albert Danielsson, Industrial Economy and Organisation, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. It started in 1982 and ended four years later with the book Samtal om ledarskap, ledning och ledare. That project was followed by another one on ownership and ethics.
In the 1990s I cooperated with the economists Knut J. Ims and Andreas W. Falkenberg in the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen. The aim was to develop teaching and research in the field of economy and ethics. We compiled collections of texts for the annual courses on business ethics and strategy, and we authored a book on business ethics which was published in 1998.
In the last few decades I have followed the growth of the research field practical knowledge with great interest. Since 2000, I have cooperated with Ingela Josefson, Ruth Olsen, Anders Lindseth et al. in the Centre for Practical Knowledge at Bodø Regional University, which has now become the University of Nordland. The report Praktisk kunnskap – som erfaring og som forskningsfelt (2005) gives a survey of the development of the study of practical knowledge. Cf. Etik och praktisk kunskap (2013) and Practical Knowledge and Ethics (2013).