Interdisciplinearity LO22664 -Definitions

Steve Eskow (
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 09:44:03 -0600

Replying to LO22655 --

>Just to clarify -- or further muddy -- the waters, I'm passing along some
>definitions having to do with multiple disciplines. Of course, even the
>definitions are subject to question but maybe they will be helpful in the
>discussion. Harriett

I find these definitions most helpful: thank you.

And I'd appreciate more help: references, for example, to studies on the
issues--why the pressure to integrate, why the resistance, how well
multi,inter, trans, cross movements work, or don't.

And I could use some clarity on what is and isn't a "discipline."

Are "engineering," "nursing," "law" disciplines?

I am personally familiar with "general education" as it is practiced, and
usually praised, in US postsecondary education.

For some, perhaps many, students it is a kind of intellectual tragedy.
They approach the end of secondary education and the beginning of higher
education with a rite of passage set of hopes: college will be new,
different, I will become something in college.

And what they find is more English, more math, more "social science":
college as "high school with ash trays."

The engineering students, the nursing students, want to become, feel like,
engineers or nurses.

And they are forced to study (a different kind of apartheid)physics, or

The hunger for specializization seems connected to the quest for
competence, for identity.

And forced multidisciplinary general education seems to thwart that quest.

Perhaps the curriculum ought to be turned upside down, so that
specialization precedes philosophy and literature.

Steve Eskow


Steve Eskow <>

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