Multidisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity, and Transdisciplinarity: The Tower of Babel in the Age of Two Cultures

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Abstract

Despite the continuous emphasis on globalization, we witness increasing divisions and divisiveness in all domains of human activities. One of the reasons, if not the main one, is the intellectual fragmentation of humanity, compared in the title to the failed attempt at building the Biblical Tower of Babel. The attempts to reintegrate worldview, fragmented by the specialization of education (C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures) and expected to be achieved through reforms in curricula at all levels of education, were based on the assumption that the design of a curriculum should focus on the wide distribution of subjects of study, as if the distribution was the goal. The key point is not the distribution of themes, but the development of skills in the integration of knowledge. The quantitative assessment of the width of knowledge by the number of disciplines is of secondary importance. We cannot expect the miracle that students without any intellectual tools developed for this purpose would perform the job of integration, which their teachers do not promote or demonstrate, and which they cannot achieve for themselves. There are many other reasons for the increasing interest in making inquiries interdisciplinary, but there is little progress in the methodology of the integration of knowledge. This paper is a study of the transition from multidisciplinarity to interdisciplinarity, and further, to transdisciplinarity, with some suggestions regarding the use of methodological tools of structuralism and the choice of a conceptual framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalPhilosophies
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr

Keywords

  • Education
  • Integration of knowledge
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Structuralism
  • Transdisciplinarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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