Synthesis in Provence

Sacrebleu! I’ve had an abstract on interdisciplinarity and Synthesis accepted for the International Journal of Arts & Sciences conference in Aix-en-Provence in southern France. It goes a little something like this: Most would agree that interdisciplinary research (IDR) is oft lauded but relatively little employed in contemporary academia. While the Read more…

Chaos, Levels of Explanation and Interdisciplinarity

I’ve been thinking a lot about interdisciplinary research (IDR) of late. (One day I’ll spend a lot of time thinking about finishing my thesis, but hey.)

It seems that one of the most fundamental questions to ask is: why do we have separate disciplines at all?

Seems obvious, but often the unanswered obvious questions are the most interesting. Delving into them can reveal something illuminating about our assumptions about how things are, and even reveal some false intuitions.

The simple answer might be that there’s no one discipline that can tackle every question we might want to ask. Okay, why?

Well, probably because such a discipline would be unmanageably complex. Far easier to carve up nature – and the questions we want to ask about her – into bite size pieces.

But why carve it where we do?