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The philosophy of interdisciplinarity: sustainability science and problem-feeding

Thorén, Henrik LU and Persson, Johannes LU (2013) In Journal for General Philosophy of Science 44(2). p.337-355
Abstract
Traditionally, interdisciplinarity has been taken to require conceptual or theoretical integration. However, in the emerging field of sustainability science this kind of integration is often lacking. Indeed sometimes it is regarded as an obstacle to interdisciplinarity. Drawing on examples from sustainability science, we show that problem-feeding, i.e. the transfer of problems, is a common and fruitful-looking way of connecting disparate disciplines and establishing interdisciplinarity. We identify two species of problem-feeding: unilateral and bilateral. Which of these is at issue depends on whether solutions to the problem are fed back to the discipline in which the problem originated. We suggest that there is an interesting difference... (More)
Traditionally, interdisciplinarity has been taken to require conceptual or theoretical integration. However, in the emerging field of sustainability science this kind of integration is often lacking. Indeed sometimes it is regarded as an obstacle to interdisciplinarity. Drawing on examples from sustainability science, we show that problem-feeding, i.e. the transfer of problems, is a common and fruitful-looking way of connecting disparate disciplines and establishing interdisciplinarity. We identify two species of problem-feeding: unilateral and bilateral. Which of these is at issue depends on whether solutions to the problem are fed back to the discipline in which the problem originated. We suggest that there is an interesting difference between the problem-feeding approach to interdisciplinarity and the traditional integrative perspective suggested by among others Erich Jantsch and his colleagues. The interdisciplinarity resulting from problem-feeding between researchers can be local and temporary and does not require collaboration between proximate disciplines. By contrast, to make good sense of traditional integrative interdisciplinarity we must arguably associate it with a longer-term, global form of close, interdisciplinary collaboration. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Jantsch, Sustainability science, Problem-feeding, Interdisciplinarity
in
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
volume
44
issue
2
pages
337 - 355
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000329606300004
  • scopus:84891901739
ISSN
0925-4560
DOI
10.1007/s10838-013-9233-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
07f27aaa-9f66-4a5f-aac9-b5d76eda8a13 (old id 4172976)
date added to LUP
2013-11-27 09:42:21
date last changed
2019-05-21 02:26:57
@article{07f27aaa-9f66-4a5f-aac9-b5d76eda8a13,
  abstract     = {Traditionally, interdisciplinarity has been taken to require conceptual or theoretical integration. However, in the emerging field of sustainability science this kind of integration is often lacking. Indeed sometimes it is regarded as an obstacle to interdisciplinarity. Drawing on examples from sustainability science, we show that problem-feeding, i.e. the transfer of problems, is a common and fruitful-looking way of connecting disparate disciplines and establishing interdisciplinarity. We identify two species of problem-feeding: unilateral and bilateral. Which of these is at issue depends on whether solutions to the problem are fed back to the discipline in which the problem originated. We suggest that there is an interesting difference between the problem-feeding approach to interdisciplinarity and the traditional integrative perspective suggested by among others Erich Jantsch and his colleagues. The interdisciplinarity resulting from problem-feeding between researchers can be local and temporary and does not require collaboration between proximate disciplines. By contrast, to make good sense of traditional integrative interdisciplinarity we must arguably associate it with a longer-term, global form of close, interdisciplinary collaboration.},
  author       = {Thorén, Henrik and Persson, Johannes},
  issn         = {0925-4560},
  keyword      = {Jantsch,Sustainability science,Problem-feeding,Interdisciplinarity},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {337--355},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Journal for General Philosophy of Science},
  title        = {The philosophy of interdisciplinarity: sustainability science and problem-feeding},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10838-013-9233-5},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2013},
}