Interdisciplinearity LO22643

tabeles (
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 17:05:41 -0400

Replying to LO22622 --

Steve Eskow writes, in part:

> Those who resist fusion and "integration" might believe that what the
> school and college can do, the most and the best the academy can do, is to
> equip students with the "tools" of the disciplines, so that students
> acquire easy skill with these very different tools.
> (The hammer quite different from the saw and the plane and the drill, and
> resisting "integration.")
> And students leave the school equipped with these tools of science,
> literature, mathematics, and social science, and use them to build their
> own worlds and world views.

I think that the question is not just disciplinarity vs
interdisciplinarity, but also one of degree and purpose. Specialists in
areas are of great value as we see in medicine. But, medicine has also
seen that the tendency to create sub specialties and sub-sub specialties
grew at the expense of the general practioner. Now there is a reversal
with a balance being achieved and a determination of how much micro
management of medical knowledge makes sense.

The same, it seems, would hold for academia where a new "scholarly"
journal is being created at the drop of a couple of new theses that need
to be in print, driven, in part by the tenure/pub/perish syndrome- have to
find a niche to get published. Yes, esoterica is worthy of pursuit, but
not at every academic institution regardless of size or at every
restructuring of a body of knowledge. How many categories of academic sub
specialists are needed to screw in a light bulb...grin....

The same has occured in industry where practicing social scientist needs
to have a unique niche identified by either a sub specialty or by the
attachment to the philosophy of a particular practioner ( Jungian,
Freudian, etc in psych), Chaos/complexity theory, KM and LO also form
support groups to differentiate their marketable skills.


tom abeles


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