Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity: A Constant Challenge to the Sciences
Association for Interdisciplinary Studies
The following text will present an outlook on some new forms of supradisciplinary collaboration where traditional disciplinary bounderies are crossed. It will be shown (a) that the decision as to which form of supradisciplinary collaboration has to be chosen depends strongly on the quality of the given scientific problem; (b) that there does not exist any scientific hierarchy prefering transdisciplinary approaches versus interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary ones and vice versa. The suggestions are empirically based on various observations and experiences with research programs in the fields of Ecology realized in Switzerland and Germany. As the discussion in Europe on supradisciplinary collaboration during the last three decades has specially progressed in the German speaking part of Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), the text mainly discusses important contributions in German literature. After a general introduction we first talk about the expectations (part 2) and the methodological preconceptions (part 3) which are related to these forms of research. In part 4 we clarify the term Interdisciplinarity, and in part 5 we offer a casuistry “an argument using general principles of ethics to determine right and wrong in questions of conduct“ as a way of discussing how an interdisciplinary approach can be realized. In part 6 and 7 the discussion is then focused on the nature of transdisciplinary approaches, followed by a conclusion. American readers have to be aware that in Europe the term "science" is used in a less restrictive way and beside natural sciences includes also technical and social sciences as well as humanities.
Ecology, Interdisciplinarity, Methodology, Multidisciplinarity, Philosophy of science, Terminology, Transdisciplinarity
Kotter, Rudolf and Philipp W. Balsiger. "Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity: A Constant Challenge to the Sciences." Issues in Integrative Studies 17 (1999): 87-119.