Michael Kleineberg, Classifying Perspectives: Expressing Levels of Knowing in the Integrative Levels Classification in:

International Society for Knowledge Organziation (ISKO), Marianne Lykke, Tanja Svarre, Mette Skov, Daniel Martínez-Ávila (Ed.)

Knowledge Organization at the Interface, page 489 - 493

Proceedings of the Sixteenth International ISKO Conference, 2020 Aalborg, Denmark

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-95650-775-5, ISBN online: 978-3-95650-776-2,

Series: Advances in Knowledge Organization, vol. 17

Bibliographic information
Michael Kleineberg – Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany Classifying Perspectives Expressing Levels of Knowing in the Integrative Levels Classification Abstract: Recent classification research calls for multi-perspective knowledge organization systems that support users to identify and interrelate different authorial perspectives on the same subject matter (Gnoli 2011; Kaipainen and Hautamäki 2011; Szostak 2014). In opposition to inductively derived modes of perspectives or viewpoints, Kleineberg (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) proposes the organizing principle of integrative levels of knowing that takes recourse to already existing models of cognitive development deduced from rational reconstructions of learning processes that follow an invariant sequence of thought styles. This contribution offers some preliminary thoughts on a potential application of such levels of knowing to the Integrative Levels Classification (ILC) under consideration of its core elements like dimensions, levels, and facets. 1.0 Introduction Documents concerned with the same subject matter can be created by authors taking very different perspectives. Users of information systems should be supported to identify and interrelate such authorial perspectives in order to make relevance decisions or to explore the so-called epistemological dimension of human knowledge (Kleineberg 2013). A particular challenge for knowledge organization systems that seek to incorporate this dimension is the sheer complexity of potential perspectives that can be defined in very different terms and at very different levels of specificity. For example, Swift, Winn, and Bramer (1978, 186) propose a “multi-modal approach” to the indexing of documents that is not only concerned with the aboutness of research literature but also with underlying theoretical orientations and methods of research (cp. Biagetti 2006; Szostak 2014). The theoretical orientation can be specified, for instance, in terms of approach (e.g., structural-functionalist) and discipleship (e.g., Durkheimian). In a similar way, Austin’s (1984, 168) PRECIS thesaurus entails an operator called “viewpoint-as-form” that distinguishes between viewpoint, perspective, and aspect. While viewpoint refers to a class of people (e.g., Christian viewpoint, Trade Union viewpoint), perspective corresponds to a discipline (e.g., sociological perspective, philosophical perspective), whereas aspect means a particular focus on a given knowledge subject in special studies (e.g., economic aspect, social aspect). A further influential distinction is introduced by Langridge (1989) between topic and form of knowledge. While the topic is related to perceived phenomena, the form of knowledge describes the way in which these phenomena are perceived. Langridge (1989, 45) identifies a broad range of such “formal characteristics” that include the perspective from which a document is created in terms of religious or ideological world view (e.g., Christianity, Marxism), philosophical viewpoint (e.g., rationalism, empiricism, pragmatism, realism, idealism, humanism), school of thought (e.g., behaviorism and Gestalt school in psychology), epoch (e.g., ancient, medieval, modern), culture (e.g., Western, Chinese, Indian), intellectual level (e.g., elementary, advanced), 490 or rhetoric form (e.g., description, analysis, interpretation, narrative, prescription, evaluation). But as Taylor and Joudrey (2017, 463) in their textbook The Organization of Information conclude, document characteristics like point of view or perspective are “rarely if ever translated into controlled vocabulary terms or classification notations; instead, it may be addressed in summary statements or abstracts.” In the following, it will be argued that integrative levels of knowing offer a promising tool for a systematic, comprehensive, and relatively stable organization of authorial perspectives, and it will be demonstrated how this, as controlled vocabulary, could be adopted by the Integrative Levels Classification. 2.0 Levels of knowing The above-mentioned modes of perspective (i.e., theoretical approach, discipleship, class-related or philosophical viewpoint, disciplinary perspective, religious or ideological worldview, school of thought, epoch, culture, or rhetoric form) have in common that their underlying typologies need to be inductively derived from the literature and will hardly arrive at the status of exhaustive classifications. This is because of the dynamic and overlapping nature of these kinds of authorial perspectives (problem of collocation or class-building) and the missing hierarchical relations between different types within a given mode of perspective (problem of subsumption or subclassbuilding). The advantage of integrative levels of knowing as a mode of perspective is that there already exist well-elaborated models of cognitive development that offer solutions for both problems. The idea is best-known from, but not limited to, the Piagetian tradition of developmental structuralism (Habermas 1979; Barnes 2000). Accordingly, developmental stages or levels of knowing present qualitatively distinct cognitive structures or styles of thought along an invariant sequence of increasingly differentiated and integrated structures (Kleineberg 2014). In other words, models of integrative levels of knowing present well-defined thought styles or perspectives (class-building) that are arranged as hierarchical integrations (subclass-building). This provides a useful organizing principle to reduce the diversity of perspectives to a manageable amount of cognitive structures or thought styles, as Michael Barnes (2000, 45; emphases his) suggests: “Piaget's description of stages helps to categorize thought styles more clearly. His theory also helps to recognize the particular sequence in which stages of thought appear in cultural history. In cultures as in individuals, the easier modes of thought appear first and continue to be used even when more difficult modes of thought are added.” In fields like psychology, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies, models of integrative levels of knowing are rationally reconstructed for individual and collective learning processes that cover a broad range of domain-specific cognitive competences, such as mathematico-logical reasoning, physical thinking, aesthetic judgment, ego identity, self-understanding, social cognition, moral consciousness, and religious thought (for an overview of several dozen models see Wilber 2000 and Kleineberg 2017). Empirical findings suggest that these kinds of basic cognitive structures or thought styles are cross-culturally and across historical times valid (Habermas 1979; Barnes 2000). This means that these cognitive-developmental models present comprehensive and relatively stable (rational reconstructions are still fallible) 491 classifications of perspectives that offer useful tools for multi-perspective knowledge organization systems (cp. Esbjörn-Hargens and Zimmerman 2009; Kleineberg 2018). 3.0 Integrative Levels Classification The experimental Integrative Levels Classification 1 is an ongoing international research project under the lead of Claudio Gnoli and presents one of the most ambitious attempts to express multiple viewpoints or authorial perspectives within a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and phenomenon-based knowledge organization system (Gnoli 2020). The core elements of ILC are dimensions, levels, and facets. Dimensions define different kinds of metadata that describe phenomena, perspectives, documents, collections, information needs, and people (Gnoli 2016). The ontological dimension of phenomena functions as the basis for the classification scheme and can be related to the other dimensions by using the analytico-synthetic technique of freely combinable facets. For the incorporation of the organizing principle of integrative levels of knowing, the epistemological dimension of perspectives is of most importance and in the focus of this paper. However, levels of knowing can also be treated as phenomena, for example, in regard to books on cognitive development; or they may be applied to the sociological dimension of people, for example, in regard to user groups like children (cp. Beak 2014). Levels define the main classes of the classification scheme reflecting phenomena along a sequence of increasing organization and evolutionary order, inspired by the theory of integrative levels (Gnoli 2017a). The main classes are indicated by lower- case letters from a to z (e.g., a forms, e atoms, f molecules, l bacteria, m organisms, p consciousness, s communities, w artifacts, y knowledge) and are divided into several subclasses or types as genus-species relations by adding further lower-case letters to the notation (e.g., mq animals, mqvo birds). Facets define particular properties or relationships of a given phenomenon in terms of fundamental categories or subcategories indicated by digits (Gnoli 2017b). The recent second edition ILC22 includes the following fundamental categories: 0 perspective, 1 time, 2 place, 3 agent, 4 disorder, 5 transformation, 6 property, 7 part, 8 form, and 9 kind. The perspective facet 0 is intended to embrace the whole epistemological dimension in terms of viewpoint, aspect, bias, discipline, theory, method, domain of discourse, activity field, locus and epoch of knowledge, and cultural context (Gnoli 2016, 2017b). But its subcategories, indicated by a combination of several digits (e.g., 05 activity field/sphere/domain, 053 discourse community, 059 culture/civilization), seem to express only those modes of authorial perspective that are described above as inductively derived and less systematic. This paper proposes to incorporate the more systematic integrative levels of knowing as a further subcategory of the perspective facet. Since the different values or foci of a given facet are supposed to be taken from any other place of the ILC’s scheme, there are two potential classification notations to begin with, one for the individual dimension and one for the collective dimension of cognitive development. The individual dimension can be related to main class p consciousness and its subclass po cognition, 1 2 492 where already subclasses exist like por reason or pou moral consciousness. Likewise, the collective dimension can be related to main class y knowledge and its subclass yas style of thought, where already subclasses exist like yasm magic thought, yass scientific thought, or yasw world views. For both dimensions, it would be easily possible to expand the ILC’s scheme with subclasses that borrow their terminology from existing cognitive-developmental models with their well-defined and technically named levels of knowing (e.g., Kohlberg’s moral consciousness: preconventional—conventional—postconventional; Habermas’s world views: magical-animistic—mythological—rationalized—reflexive). Classifying authorial perspectives could then look like this example: John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice presents a document on the subject matter or phenomenon of justice theory, created by an author taking a perspective of mature postconventional moral consciousness according to Kohlberg’s stage or level 6 called ”universal ethical principle orientation” in his model of individual moral development (cp. Kleineberg 2018). In ILC, this could be expressed by a combination of the phenomenon class yisral justice theory (knowledge > disciplines > empirical sciences > sociology > justice theory) and the perspective facet 0pouv universal ethical principle orientation (consciousness > cognition > moral consciousness > universal ethical principle orientation), resulting in the classification notation: yisral0pouv. 4.0 Conclusion After these preliminary thoughts, some important open questions remain. First and foremost, how could integrative levels of knowing be defined as a special subcategory and placed within the perspective facets? Second, should all domain-specific models of individual (or collective) cognitive-development subsumed under the same class, for example, por reason (or yas style of thought)? And finally, which of the existing models of cognitive development should be adopted as controlled vocabularies at all? References Austin, Derek. 1984. PRECIS: A Manual of Concept Analysis and Subject Indexing. London: The British Library. Beak, Jihee. 2014. A Child-Driven Metadata Schema: A Holistic Analysis of Children’s Cognitive Processes During Book Selection. Doctoral dissertation. Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Barnes, Michael Horace. 2000. Stages of Thought: The Co-Evolution of Religious Thought and Science. New York: Oxford University Press. Biagetti, Maria Teresa. 2006. “Indexing and Scientific Research Needs.” In Knowledge Organization for a Global Learning Society: Proceedings of the Ninth International ISKO Conference 4-7 July 2006 Vienna, Austria, edited by Gerhard Budin, Christian Swertz, and Konstantin Mitgutsc. Advances in knowledge organization 10. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 241- 246. Esbjörn-Hargens, Sean and Michael E. Zimmerman. 2009. Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World. Boston: Integral Books. Gnoli, Claudio. 2011. “Animals Belonging to the Emperor: Enabling Viewpoint Warrant in Classification.” In Subject Access: Preparing for the Future, edited by Patrice Landry, Leda Bultrini, Edward T. O’Neill, and Sandra K. Roe. Berlin: De Gruyter, 91-100. Gnoli, Claudio. 2016. “Classifying Phenomena. Part 1: Dimensions.” Knowledge Organization 43: 403-415. 493 Gnoli, Claudio. 2017a. “Classifying Phenomena. Part 2: Types and Levels.” Knowledge Organization 44: 37-54. Gnoli, Claudio. 2017b. “Classifying Phenomena. Part 3: Facets.” In Dimensions of Knowledge: Facets of Knowledge Organization, edited by Richard P. Smiraglia and Hur-Li Lee. Würzburg: Ergon, 55-67. Gnoli, Claudio. 2020. “Integrative Levels Classification.” In ISKO Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization, edited by Birger Hjørland and Claudio Gnoli. Habermas, Jürgen. 1979. Communication and the Evolution of Society. Boston: Beacon Press. Kaipainen, Mauri and Antti Hautamäki. 2011. “Epistemic Pluralism and Multi-Perspective Knowledge Organization: Explorative Conceptualization of Topical Content Domains.” Knowledge Organization 38: 503-514. Kleineberg, Michael. 2013. “The Blind Men and the Elephant: Towards an Organization of Epistemic Contexts.” Knowledge Organization 40: 340-362. Kleineberg, Michael. 2014. “Integrative Levels of Knowing: An Organizing Principle for the Epistemological Dimension.” In Knowledge Organization in the 21st Century: Between Historical Patterns and Future Prospects: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International ISKO Conference 19-22 May 2014, Kraków, Poland, edited by Wieslaw Babik. Advances in knowledge organization 14. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 80-87. Kleineberg, Michael. 2017. “Integrative Levels.” Knowledge Organization 44: 349-379. Also available with an extended appendix in ISKO Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization, edited by Birger Hjørland and Claudio Gnoli. Kleineberg, Michael. 2018. “Reconstructionism: A Comparative Method for Viewpoint Analysis and Indexing Using the Example of Kohlberg’s Moral Stages.” In Challenges and Opportunities for Knowledge Organization in the Digital Age: Proceedings of the Fifteenth International ISKO Conference 9-11 July 2018 Porto, Portugal, edited by Fernanda Ribeiro and Maria Elisa Cerveira. Advances in knowledge organization 16. Baden-Baden: Ergon, 400- 408. Langridge, Derek Wilton. 1989. Subject Analysis: Principles and Procedures. London: Bowker- Saur. Swift, D.F., V. Winn, and D. Bramer. 1978. “‘Aboutness’ As Strategy for Retrieval in the Social Sciences.” Aslib Proceedings 30, no. 5: 182-187. Szostak, Rick. 2014. “Classifying for Social Diversity.” Knowledge Organization 41: 160-170. Taylor, Arlene G. and Daniel N. Joudrey. 2017. The Organization of Information, 4th edition. Westport, London: Libraries Unlimited. Wilber, Ken. 2000. Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston, London: Shambhala.

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The proceedings explore knowledge organization systems and their role in knowledge organization, knowledge sharing, and information searching.

The papers cover a wide range of topics related to knowledge transfer, representation, concepts and conceptualization, social tagging, domain analysis, music classification, fiction genres, museum organization. The papers discuss theoretical issues related to knowledge organization and the design, development and implementation of knowledge organizing systems as well as practical considerations and solutions in the application of knowledge organization theory. Covered is a range of knowledge organization systems from classification systems, thesauri, metadata schemas to ontologies and taxonomies.


Der Tagungsband untersucht Wissensorganisationssysteme und ihre Rolle bei der Wissensorganisation, dem Wissensaustausch und der Informationssuche. Die Beiträge decken ein breites Spektrum von Themen ab, die mit Wissenstransfer, Repräsentation, Konzeptualisierung, Social Tagging, Domänenanalyse, Musikklassifizierung, Fiktionsgenres und Museumsorganisation zu tun haben. In den Beiträgen werden theoretische Fragen der Wissensorganisation und des Designs, der Entwicklung und Implementierung von Systemen zur Wissensorganisation sowie praktische Überlegungen und Lösungen bei der Anwendung der Theorie der Wissensorganisation diskutiert. Es wird eine Reihe von Wissensorganisationssystemen behandelt, von Klassifikationssystemen, Thesauri, Metadatenschemata bis hin zu Ontologien und Taxonomien.