Lack of objectivity Subjective assessment according to own group values
Recent developments in physics have abolished the predictability of matter and obliterated the distinction between observer and observed. Modern architecture and functional design have banished historical allusion or even temporal reference. Contemporary literature has forsaken extrinsic "things" and "events" for a subjective, self-reflexive reality. Sophisticated cybernetics raises fundamental issues concerning the meaning of intelligence.
The sense of objective reality, namely the comforting conviction that there is a natural world "out there", apart from ourselves and perceptible in the "middle distance", has diminished to total obsolescence.
Although it is true that no one can claim to know the whole truth about anything, it by no means follows that all assertions are equally true or false, and that it is not possible to ground some statements on the basis of evidence, as better or truer than others. Indeed to hold that objectivity is a myth is tantamount to denying the distinction between fiction and history, guilt and innocence, in relation to the admitted evidence.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.