Starting from the premise that the most dominant knowledge system today—what has been called ‘science’ in Europe and North America since the nineteenth century—is only one of many ways to establish knowledge about the world, Counterpoint engages with the opportunities, implications, and limitations of scientific knowledge, and looks at the alternatives that dominant power structures tend to devalue. Here, “modern science” particularly refers to the type of science that is based upon methodological reductionism and technology transfer. Alternatives to this model of “doing” science can be found in non-European traditions, but also in traditions that have been part of European culture since ancient times, as well as among voices within “modern science” itself.

We also live in an era of “big data,” information overload, misinformation, and “alternative facts.” Counterpoint argues that the solution to the problems arising from information saturation is not to retreat into one’s own knowledge system or communication bubble and discount all others as false. Instead, sustained dialogue on specific issues and contexts will help guide global societies toward creative solutions.  

Three pillars of research form the basis of all the ongoing activities of Counterpoint: critical reflection on scientific knowledge, non-European knowledge systems, and alternative knowledge systems in European culture. In addition, the Executive Committee, in consultation with the Advisory Board, decides on focus themes each year and develops a concrete annual research, event, and publication plan around these themes.