Disciplines and Reductionism: An Argument for Alt-IDS

  Western epistemology has employed various strategies of reductionism such as logical positivism, dualisms, and absolute truth to capture and subdue complexity into linear, understandable, and ultimately manageable forms of knowledge, says Welch IV (2009). The obvious utility of reductionism notwithstanding, its ability to deal with increasing complexity is limited and its methodologies limiting. AsContinue reading “Disciplines and Reductionism: An Argument for Alt-IDS”

Interdisciplinarity is not about knowing more: it’s about knowing differently.

Within the Interdisciplinary Studies literature, it is frequently asserted and/or implied that disciplines are the basis of interdisciplinarity, and from a definitional standpoint, this makes sense. But definitions can be limiting. Two types of interdisciplinarity are typically identified: instrumental and critical. Lattuca (2001, 3) writes: It is difficult to separate the willingness to question conventionalContinue reading “Interdisciplinarity is not about knowing more: it’s about knowing differently.”

From Objects to Relationships and The Place of Interdisciplinarity

Two ideas resonate throughout the interdisciplinary studies literature: complexity is at the heart of interdisciplinarity and an epistemology of complexity is predicated on non-reductionist methodologies. Complexity theory is a theory of development, adaptation and change that examines the regularities in systems that at times seem chaotic and even random. Complex systems are ubiquitous throughout theContinue reading “From Objects to Relationships and The Place of Interdisciplinarity”

Cultivating Creativity

Interdisciplinary Studies is about creativity, at least that’s the claim, but where is this creativity exercised? In choosing one’s career path? In choosing one’s compilation of courses? Or, as I hope to suggest is the most significant place, in the daily academic practices of interdisciplinarians? In the Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies textbook that I andContinue reading “Cultivating Creativity”

Making Mistakes and Moving Forward

Learning through failure is now a staple trope of progressive pedagogy, yet it remains one of the hardest elements to install into our classrooms and our own lives. Within academia, at least in the academic spheres I’ve been party to, the stakes are high, failures are very costly, and individuals are scared to step beyondContinue reading “Making Mistakes and Moving Forward”

Teaching Interdisciplinarity

While I have been teaching in post-secondary settings for several years now, I have not before taught Interdisciplinary Studies explicitly, until this year. My current teaching load includes two Cornerstone and two Capstone courses. The cornerstone courses are designed to furnish students with a foundation in the theories, concepts, and methods pertinent to doing interdisciplinaryContinue reading “Teaching Interdisciplinarity”

The Problem and the Problems with the Problem–Notes on Chapter One

Jerry Coyne’s recent book could not have come at a better time. The science-religion debate is out of control. In the first chapter of this book, Coyne lays out the problem: the notion that science and religion are compatible is detrimentally influential and widespread despite overwhelming and mounting evidence that the two are irredeemably atContinue reading “The Problem and the Problems with the Problem–Notes on Chapter One”

Trust in…Whom?

Over the last few weeks in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Situating Science has presented two installments in the national lecture series “The Lives of Evidence.”  On February 28, Carl Elliot from the University of Minnesota gave a talk entitled “An Atypical Suicide: Psychiatric Research Abuse at the University of Minnesota.” In this talk, Dr. Elliot toldContinue reading “Trust in…Whom?”