Transdisciplinarity: Wikis

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Transdisciplinarity connotes a research strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach. It applies to research efforts focused on problems that cross the boundaries of two or more disciplines, such as research on effective information systems for biomedical research (see bioinformatics), and can refer to concepts or methods that were originally developed by one discipline, but are now used by several others, such as ethnography, a field research method originally developed in anthropology but now widely used by other disciplines.

Transdisciplinarity has two common meanings.

Contents

German Usage

In German speaking countries, it refers to integration of diverse forms of research, and includes specific methods for relating scientific knowledge in problem-solving [1]. A 2003 conference held in Göttingen showcased the diverse meanings of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity and made suggestions for converging them without eliminating present usages. [2]

When the very nature of a problem is under dispute, transdisciplinarity can help determine the most relevant problems and research questions involved.[3] A first type of question concerns the cause of the present problems and their future development (system knowledge). Another concerns which values and norms can be used to form goals of the problem-solving process (target knowledge). A third relates to how a problematic situation can be transformed and improved (transformation knowledge). Transdisciplinarity requires adequate addressing of the complexity of problems and the diversity of perceptions of them, that abstract and case-specific knowledge are linked, and that practices promote the common good [4].

Transdisciplinarity arises when participating experts interact in an open discussion and dialogue, giving equal weight to each perspective and relating them to each other. This is difficult because of the overwhelming amount of information involved, and because of incommensurability of specialized languages in each field of expertise. To excel under these conditions, scientists need not only in-depth knowledge and know-how of the disciplines involved, but skills in moderation, mediation, association and transfer.

Wider usage

Transdisciplinarity is also used to signify a unity of knowledge beyond disciplines [5].

Jean Piaget introduced this usage of the term in 1970, and in 1987, the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research (CIRET) adopted the Charter of Transdisciplinarity[1] at the 1st World Congress of Transdisciplinarity.[6]

In the CIRET approach, transdisciplinarity is radically distinct from interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinarity, like pluridisciplinarity, concerns the transfer of methods from one discipline to another, allowing research to spill over disciplinary boundaries, but staying within the framework of disciplinary research.

As the prefix "trans" indicates, transdisciplinarity concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond each individual discipline. Its goal is the understanding of the present world, of which one of the imperatives is the overarching unity of knowledge.

Transdisciplinarity is defined by Basarab Nicolescu through three methodological postulates: the existence of levels of Reality, the logic of the included middle, and complexity. In the presence of several levels of Reality the space between disciplines and beyond disciplines is full of information. Disciplinary research concerns, at most, one and the same level of Reality ; moreover, in most cases, it only concerns fragments of one level of Reality. On the contrary, transdisciplinarity concerns the dynamics engendered by the action of several levels of Reality at once. The discovery of these dynamics necessarily passes through disciplinary knowledge. While not a new discipline or a new superdiscipline, transdisciplinarity is nourished by disciplinary research; in turn, disciplinary research is clarified by transdisciplinary knowledge in a new, fertile way. In this sense, disciplinary and transdisciplinary research are not antagonistic but complementary. As in the case of disciplinarity, transdisciplinary research is not antagonistic but complementary to multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity research. Transdisciplinarity is nevertheless radically distinct from multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity because of its goal, the understanding of the present world, which cannot be accomplished in the framework of disciplinary research. The goal of multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity always remains within the framework of disciplinary research. If transdisciplinarity is often confused with interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity (and by the same token, we note that interdisciplinarity is often confused with multidisciplinarity) this is explained in large part by the fact that all three overflow disciplinary boundaries. This confusion is very harmful, because it hides the huge potential of transdisciplinarity.

In Arts and Humanities

Transdisciplinarity can be found in the arts and humanities. For example, the Planetary Collegium seeks "the development of transdisciplinary discourse in the convergence of art, science, technology and consciousness research."

In Human Sciences

The range of transdisciplinarity becomes clear when the four central questions of biological research ((1) causation, (2) ontogeny, (3) adaptation, (4) phylogeny [after Niko Tinbergen 1963, see also Tinbergen's four questions, cf. Aristotle: Causality / Four Major Causes]) are graphed against distinct levels of analysis (e.g. cell, organ, individual, group; [cf. "Laws about the Levels of Complexity" of Nicolai Hartmann 1940/1964, see also Rupert Riedl 1984]):[7]

Causation Ontogeny Adaptation Phylogeny
Molecule
Cell
Organ
Individual
Group
Society

In this “scheme of transdisciplinarity”, all anthropological disciplines (paragraph C in the table of the pdf-file below), their questions (paragraph A: see pdf-file) and results (paragraph B: see pdf-file) can be intertwined and allocated with each other [for examples how these aspects go into those little boxes in the matrix, see e.g. the table "The Framework of Anthropological Research" (pdf). http://homepage.uibk.ac.at/~c720126/humanethologie/ws/medicus/block1/4BQ_E.pdf.  ]. This chart includes all realms of anthropological research (no one is excluded). It is the starting point for a systematical order for all human sciences, and also a source for a consistent networking and structuring of their results. This “bio-psycho-social” orientation framework is the basis for the development of the "Fundamental Theory of Human Sciences" and for a transdisciplinary consensus. (In this tabulated orientation matrix the questions and reference levels in italics are also the subject of the humanities.)

References

  • Bambara, E., "Alle radici della Transdisciplinarità. Edgar Morin e Basarab Nicolescu", PhD Thesis, University of Messina, 2000
  • Hamberger, E., Luger, K. (Hrsg.)(2008): Transdisziplinäre Kommunikation. Aktuelle Be-Deutungen im fächerübergreifenden Dialog, Wien: Österr. Kunst- und Kulturverlag, ISBN 9783854372646
  • Jaeger J., Scheringer M. 1998. Transdisziplinarität. Problemorientierung ohne Methodenzwang. GAIA 7(1): 10-25.
  • Ronald Jones, Interdisciplinarian, The Experience Design Group,Konstfack University of Art Design and Craft, Stockholm, Sweden [2]
  • Max-Neef, Manfred A. "Foundations of Transdisciplinarity" Ecological Economics 53(2005) 5-16.
  • Jürgen Mittelstrass: Transdisziplinarität - wissenschaftliche Zukunft und institutionelle Wirklichkeit. 2003 ISBN 387940786X
  • Nicolai Hartmann: Der Aufbau der realen Welt, Berlin, 1939 (2nd Ed. 1964), de Gruyter
  • Basarab Nicolescu, "Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity", State University of New York Press, New York, USA, 2002, translation from the French by Karen-Claire Voss.
  • Rupert Riedl: The Biology of Knowledge. Chichester, 1984, John Wiley
  • Niko Tinbergen: On Aims and Methods in Ethology. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 1963, 20: 410-433

See also

External links

Sources

  • Basarab Nicolescu Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity, State University of New York (SUNY) Press, New York, 2002 , translation from French by Karen-Claire Voss.
  1. ^ Mittelstrass 2003
  2. ^ Brand/Schaller/Völker 2004
  3. ^ (Funtowicz & Ravetz 1993)
  4. ^ Hirsch Hadorn et al. 2008, Jaeger & Scheringer 1998
  5. ^ Nicolescu 2002
  6. ^ Convento da Arrabida, Portugal, November 1994
  7. ^ [Excerpt from Medicus 2005, with the authors permission
  • Basarab Nicolescu (Ed.) Transdisciplinarity - Theory and Practice, Hampton Press, Cresskill, NJ, USA, 2008.
  • Article by Jürgen Mittelstrass entitled On Transdisciplinarity (URL accessed on 2 April 2006)
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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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Definition, Principles, Aims, Ethics, Scope, Methods and Post-criticism of Transdisciplinarity

Definition

Transdisciplinarity is a holistic congregation of disciplines and views together in order to create applicable and processing concepts and projects with a broad perspective. It is a tool to confront conflicts and destructions.

Principles

  1. Reducing human being. Single person has a certain perspective, which is incompatible with the transdisciplinary vision.
  2. Recognition of different levels of reality governed by different types of logic. The philosophical quest of what is right can be set through different views, but not postulated. The acceptance of a certain view should be done by the viewer.
  3. Complementing disciplinary approaches and aiming to share rather than mastery. Emphasis should be level in order not to mislead the viewer to a limited perspective.
  4. Semantic and practical unification of meanings traversing and laying beyond different disciplines. This requires a reconsideration of definitions and objectivity.
  5. Openness to all disciplines. This includes positive sciences, arts, literature, poetry and spiritual experience.
  6. Multi-referential, multi-dimensional and even transhistorical view. This is an interactive quiry where the researchers are not still at one standing point and impressed by the question, but in action.
  7. It doesn't claim to be a science of sciences, a new religion, new philosophy or a new metaphysics.
  8. Human dignity should be recognised as a nation and trans-national planetary and cosmic entity. It is an international law of two-fold belonging.
  9. Openness towards myths, religions and their respect in a transdisciplinary spirit. The study should be addressing humans who share different beliefs.
  10. Transcultural view with no privileges. This way the study can avoid biases caused by cultural discrimination.
  11. Evaluing intuition, imagination, sensibility and body in the transmission of knowledge. Where authentic education is contextual, concrete and global; the abstract aspects of human perception should also be welcome.
  12. Economy must serve human-being. The use-abuse distinction should be discerned. Exploitation of resources, ethics of exploitation and caching should be revised.
  13. Respect for collective and individual otherness. It rejects attitudes refusing discussion and dialogue. Although being united by a common life on the same earth, diversity is inevitable.
  14. Attitude involves rigour, openness and tolerance. Accounting all existing data, acceptance of the unknown, unexpected and unforeseen, acknowledging the right to ideas and truths opposing ours.

Aims

Transdisciplinarity aims hybridation of theories and methods to serve projects where a common appeal can be maintained. Bias due to miscommunication and cultural and individual orientation are aimed to be eliminated by embracing diversity and offering a wide perspective where a universal view is sought.

Ethics

Scope

  • Foresight-Scientific monitoring systems and forums for relevant topics. Exchange within and among the sciences.
  • Raising awareness- Guidelines prepared for indicating the ethical responsibility of the sciences.
  • Promoting dialogue-Science and society should act together by avoiding technical terminology.

Methods

Post-Criticism

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Divisions and Departments of the School exist on pages in "topic" namespace. Start the name of departments with the "Topic:" prefix; departments reside in the Topic: namespace. Departments and divisions link to learning materials and learning projects. Divisions can link subdivisions or to departments. For more information on schools, divisions and departments look at the Naming Conventions.

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