Evelyn Brister, Interdisciplinary Integration as “Coordinated and Unified Action”

Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science colloquium
Evelyn Brister
Event Date & Time
| -
Event Location
125 Nicholson Hall

216 Pillsbury Drive Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Interdisciplinary Integration as “Coordinated and Unified Action”

Evelyn Brister,
Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology

There is a fundamental paradox in interdisciplinary research: while aiming to tear down the epistemic and linguistic barriers between disciplines it also leads to increasingly specialized knowledge. Scientific research and training institutions are set up so that knowledge grows toward greater specialization. Often, what starts as interdisciplinary research becomes a discipline in its own right. And yet, the downsides to scientific specialization have long been recognized. Otto Neurath’s anti-reductionist approach to unified science illuminates contemporary hurdles to interdisciplinarity—and, in particular, to research that draws on disparate fields, such as from natural and social sciences. I argue that we should conceptualize interdisciplinary integration as aiming, in Neurath’s words, at “coordinated and unified action” and that the predominant metric of interdisciplinary integration fails to show whether this epistemic goal has been achieved.

This event is free and open to the public.

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