Cross-disciplinary Science and the Structure of Scientific Perspectives
Keywords:interdisciplinary science, communication, disagreement, scientific perspectives, perspectivism
Cross-disciplinary use of science is needed to solve complex, real-world problems, but carrying out scientific research with multiple very different disciplines is in itself a non-trivial problem. Perspectives matter. In this paper we carry out a philosophical analysis of the perspectival nature of science, focusing on the synchronic structure of scientific perspectives across disciplines and not on the diachronic, historical structure of shifting perspectives within single disciplines that has been widely discussed since Kuhn and Feyerabend. We show what kinds of cross-disciplinary disagreement to expect due to the perspectival structure of science, suggest how to handle different scientific perspectives in cross-disciplinary work through perspectives of a second order, and discuss some fundamental epistemic differences between different types of science.
Alrøe, H.F. and E.S. Kristensen (2002), “Towards a systemic research methodology in agriculture: Rethinking the role of values in science,” Agriculture and Human Values 19: 3-23.
Andersen, H., Barker, P. and Chen, X. (2006), The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Anderson, R. L. (1998), “Truth and objectivity in perspectivism,” Synthese 115: 1-32.
Barad, K.M. (2007), Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press
Bohr, N. (1949), “Discussion with Einstein on epistemological problems in atomic physics,” in P.A. Schilpp (ed.), Albert Einstein Philosopher-Scientist. Evanton, IL: The library of living philosophers, 200–241.
Bracken, L.J., and E.A. Oughton (2006), “What do you mean? The importance of language in developing interdisciplinary research,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 31: 371–382.
Byrne, J. and Glover, L. (2002), “A common future or towards a future commons: Globalization and sustainable development since UNCED,” International Review for Environmental Strategies 3: 5-25.
Cartwright, N.D. (1999), The dappled world: A study of the boundaries of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chen, X. (1997), “Thomas Kuhn’s latest notion of incommensurability,” Journal for General Philosophy of Science 28: 257–273.
Collins, H. (2004): “Interactional expertise as a third kind of knowledge,” Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3: 125-143.
Collins, H. and R. Evans (2007): Rethinking expertise. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Dewulf, A., G. François, C. Pahl-Wostl, and T. Taillieu (2007), “A framing approach to cross-disciplinary research collaboration: experiences from a large-scale research project on adaptive water management,” Ecology and Society 12(2): 14.
Evely, A. C., I. Fazey, M. Pinard, og X. Lambin (2008): “The influence of philosophical perspectives in integrative research: a conservation case study in the Cairngorms National Park,” Ecology and Society 13(2): 52.
Favrholdt, D. (ed.) (1999), Niels Bohr Collected Works Volume 10, Complementarity beyond Physics (1928-1962). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Fraser, D. (1995), “Science, Values and Animal Welfare: Exploring the 'Inextricable Connection',” Animal Welfare 4(2): 103-117.
Galison, P. (1997), Images and Logic: A Material Culture of Micro-Physics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Giere, R.N. (1988), Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Giere, R.N. (1994), “The cognitive structure of scientific theories,” Philosophy of Science 61: 276-296.
Giere, R.N. (2002), “Discussion Note: Distributed Cognition in Epistemic Cultures,” Philosophy of Science 69: 637-644.
Giere, R.N. (2004), “How models are used to represent reality,” Philosophy of Science 71: 742-752.
Giere, R.N. (2006a), “Perspectival pluralism,” in S.H. Kellert, H.E. Longino and C.K. Waters (eds.), Scientific Pluralism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Giere, R.N. (2006b), Scientific Perspectivism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gieryn, T.F. (1983), “Boundary-work and the demarcation of science from non-science: Strains and interests in professional ideologies of scientists,” American Sociological Review 48: 781-795.
Foerster, H.v. (1984), Observing systems (2. ed.). CA, US: Intersystems Publications.
Habermas, J. (1972) Knowledge and human interests. London: Heinemann.
Harrison, S., D. Massey and K. Richards (2008), “Conversations across the divide,” Geoforum, 39(2): 549-551.
Hinrichs, C.C. (2008), “Interdisciplinarity and boundary work: challenges and opportunities for agrifood studies,” Agriculture and Human Values 25: 209-213.
Hirsch Hadorn, G., S. Biber-Klemm, W. Grossenbacher-Mansuy, H. Hoffmann-Riem, D. Joye, C. Pohl, U. Wiesmann and E. Zemp (2008), “The emergence of transdisciplinarity as a form of research,” in G. Hirsch Hadorn et al. (eds.) Handbook of Transdisciplinary research. Springer, pp. 19-39.
Hoffmeyer, J. (1997) “Biosemiotics: Towards a New Synthesis in Biology,” European Journal for Semiotic Studies 9(2): 355-376.
Johnson, A. (2009), “Modeling Molecules: Computational Nanotechnology as a Knowledge Community,” Perspectives on Science 17(2): 144-173.
Kellert, S.H., H.E. Longino and C.K. Waters (eds.) (2006), Scientific Pluralism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Kitcher, P. (1999), “Unification as a regulative ideal,” Perspectives on Science 7(3): 337-348.
Knorr Cetina, K. (1999), Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kuhn, T.S. (1996), The structure of scientific revolutions (3. ed., first published 1962). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Kukla, R. (1992), “Cognitive models and representation,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 43: 219-232.
Kukla, R. (2008), “Naturalizing Objectivity,” Perspectives on Science 16(3): 285-302.
Longino, H.E. (1990), Science as social knowledge. Values and objectivity in scientific inquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Longino, H.E. (2006), “Theoretical pluralism and the scientific study of behavior,” in S.H. Kellert, H.E. Longino and C.K. Waters (eds.), Scientific Pluralism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Luhmann, N. (1990), Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Luhmann, N. (1995), Social Systems. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Maruyama, M. (1974), “Paradigmatology and its Application to Cross-Disciplinary, Cross-Professional and Cross-Cultural Communication,” Dialectica 28: 135-196.
Maruyama, M. (1978), “Endogenous Research and Polyocular Anthropology,” in Perspectives on Ethnicity (Edited by Holloman, R. and Arutiunov, S.). The Hague: Mouton Publisher.
Maruyama, M. (2004), “Polyocular vision or subunderstanding?” Organization Studies 25: 467-480.
Miller, T. R., T. D. Baird, C. M. Littlefield, G. Kofinas, F. Chapin, III, and C. L. Redman (2008), “Epistemological pluralism: reorganizing interdisciplinary research,” Ecology and Society 13(2): 46.
Ortega y Gasset, J. (1961 ), The modern theme (ed. James Cleugh). New York: Harper & Row.
Palmquist, S. (1993), Kant’s System of Perspectives: An architectonic interpretation of the Critical philosophy. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Peirce, C.S. (1998 ), “Excerpts from Letters to Lady Welby,” in The essential Peirce Vol. 2 (Ed. The Peirce Edition Project). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Pennington, D. D (2008), “Cross-disciplinary collaboration and learning,” Ecology and Society 13(2): 8.
Pohl, C. and G. Hirsch Hadorn (2008), “Methodological challenges of transdisciplinary research,” Natures Sciences Sociétés 16: 111-121.
Potochnik, A. (2010), “Explanatory Independence and Epistemic Interdependence: A Case Study of the Optimality Approach,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61: 213-233.
Rorhlich, F. (1988), “Pluralistic ontology and theory reduction in the physical sciences,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39: 295-312.
Rouse, J. (1987), Knowledge and power. Toward a political philosophy of science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Rouse, J. (2002), How Scientific Practices Matter. Reclaiming Philosophical Naturalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rueger, A. (2005), “Perspectival models and theory unification,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56: 579–594.
Schjønning, P., Elmholt, S., and Christensen, B.T. (eds.) (2004), Managing soil quality: challenges in modern agriculture. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing.
Stichweh, R. (1992), “The Sociology of Scientific Disciplines: On the Genesis and Stability of the Disciplinary Structure of Modern Science,” Science in Context 5: 3-15.
Stichweh, R. (1996), “Science in the system of world society,” Social Science Information 35: 327-340.
Uexküll, J.v. (1982), “The theory of meaning,” Semiotica 42(1): 25-82.
van Fraassen, B.C. (2008), Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Weisberg, M. (2007), “Who is a modeler?,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58: 207-233.
How to Cite
§1. Object of the agreement and rights
The author guarantees that she/he has the copyright to the work and that this specific publishing does not offend other persons’, organizations’ or companies’ copyright.
- 1.1. The author gives the Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication a non-exclusive right to publish the work in the electronic version of the non-commercial journal The Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication. This journal is an open access journal and will be available for free on the internet and as thus available for all internet users worldwide. The work will be published in English.
- 1.2. The journal is published under a Creative Commons license Attribution Non-commercial No derivatives (cc by-nc-sa) http://creativecommons.org/about/license/. This license allows others to download your work and share it with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
- 1.3. The author is the copyright holder and the author agrees to the above mentioned Creative Commons license.
- 1.4. The Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication is not entitled to transfer the obtained right in this agreement to a third party.
§2. Publishing on the Internet
The Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication is under an obligation to publish the work within a reasonable time span and within the first year after the manuscript has been accepted for publication. The Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication is entitled to use the work or parts of the work for marketing purposes.
The Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication is edited, peer reviewed and proofread by the editors and the international peer review board in collaboration with the author.
§4. Availability on the Internet
The article will be published on the Internet at www.jookc.com.