Something Essential about Interdisciplinary Thinking
The integrative thinking essential to interdisciplinary inquiry requires not only critical reflection concerning the points of convergence and dissonance between disciplinary insights, but also something more personal and less predictable that this paper describes as "holding in relationship different ways of knowing." Using the process of teaching a poem by Robert Hass as illustration and metaphor, this paper models its subject. Interdisciplinary "truth," the paper asserts, is phenomenological in nature, always partial and provisional, emergent as opposed to fixed. The paper gives readers an experience of a dialectical and nonlinear learning process, tolerance for confusion in the midst of complexity, and tolerance for the inherent challenges of holding different ways of knowing simultaneously in one's mind, all of which are essential characteristics of interdisciplinary thought. Both a celebration of interdisciplinarity and skeptical of intimations for exclusivity, the paper makes the case that the essential qualities of interdisciplinary thought are characteristics of creative thinking in many disciplines.
Dreyfuss, Simeon. "Something essential about interdisciplinary thinking." Issues in Integrative Studies 29 (2011): 67-83.
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