Thursday, March 06, 2008

Transdisciplinarity and Parallel Universes

After a long period of silence, here am I again working on Transdisciplinarity. I am going to pick my first post on the matter: Transdisciplinarity and levels of awareness and pinpoint Transdisciplinarity-1 as one of the “approaches to understanding Transdisciplinarity”, as corroborated by JUDGE (1999) who says:

"This form of transdisciplinarity is being progressively clarified through pressure on individual disciplines to interrelate their insights. This in part arises from the inadequacies detected in uni-disciplinary programmes and the consequent demands by society for more integrative approaches. Disciplines have traditionally resisted such pressures and university faculties have done much to reinforce this anti-integrative orientation. Increasing social opposition to the sciences in recent years has been a consequence. The classic text that positions this form of transdisciplinarity in relation to the preoccupations of individual disciplines, interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity, is that of Erich Jantsch (1972). The continuing work that best exemplifies this form is that of general systems research, however its concerns are seen to overlap with the discipline of cybernetics (cf the International Society for Systems Sciences and the World Organization of Systems and Cybernetics) and the increasing interest in chaos theory and self-organization. Also relevant are attempts at a so-called Theory of Everything (TOE) in fundamental physics, as well as the concern with knowledge organization as exemplified by such bodies as the International Society for Knowledge Organization"

This "Theory of Everything (TOE) in fundamental physics", lead to a couple of findings, which seems to open new ways of research on the so called Parallel Universes.

I invite you to watch the interesting video, produced by BBC on this matter:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Creative thinking and Emergence

Here am I again!

Creative thinking is, in some points of view, a way of climbing the steps of a better level of awareness. Edward de Bono is regarded as the leading authority in the world in the field of creative thinking. This author, in his remarkable book “Six Thinking Hats introduces us to a concept he calls Provocative operation. A kind of operator that allows us to break the logic of un idea, opening the field to a complete new system of rules and permitting new ideas, as if we were in another level of perception. This is an exercise under “the emergence phenomenon” I evoked in Transdisciplinarity and levels of awareness when I stated that “ emergence leads to new levels of reality and awareness”

I leave you with a definition of emergence given by Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam:

Emergence is...
  1. ...what parts of a system do together that they would not do by themselves: collective behavior.
  2. ...what a system does by virtue of its relationship to its environment that it would not do by itself: e.g. its function.
  3. ...the act or process of becoming an emergent system
You can go on reading a little more about that, trough the article Concepts in Complex Systems.

Finally, let’s end this post, exploring emergence.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Mode-2 knowledge production

Improving our levels of awareness under a transdisciplinary way of thinking, may probably give us a new vision of reality and allow a better understanding of the world.
But now what? How can we go further?
As we saw on the previous post, Anthony Jude stated that:
“it is useful to hypothesize the existence of a fifth form (Transisciplinarity-4) that might in future combine the characteristics of the other forms in a more operationally fruitful way”
This, pulls Transdisciplinarity into the position of being a tool of excellence in problem solving strategies. On the other hand, Transdisciplinarity should play an important role on the making of new knowledge. This is what we can call transdisciplinary research.
One virtue you need when working in transdisciplinary research: patience. You must be very patient indeed. The evidence clearly shows that developing transdisciplinary teaching takes time and commitment from both academics and institutions.
Helga Nowotny

On her paper on The Potential of Transdisciplinarity, Helga Nowotny announces that “a new form of knowledge production has emerged”. She and some other authors, like Michael Gibbons, called it Mode-2. They introduced the idea of Mode-2 “in order to bring in a new way of thinking about science, which is often described in strictly disciplinary terms”.

… in Mode 1 problems are set and solved in a context governed by the, largely academic, interests of a specific community. By contrast, Mode 2 knowledge is carried out in a context of application. Mode 1 is disciplinary while Mode 2 is transdisciplinary. Mode 1 is characterised by homogeneity, Mode 2 by heterogeneity. Organisationally, Mode 1 is hierarchical and tends to preserve its form, while Mode 2 is more heterarchical and transient. Each employs a different type of quality control. In comparison with Mode 1, Mode 2 is more socially accountable and reflexive. It includes a wider, more temporary and heterogeneous set of practitioners, collaborating on a problem defined in a specific and localized context.
(Gibbons et al., 1994, p.1)

Gibbons, M., Nowotny, H., Limoges, C., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P. & Trow, M. (1994). The New Production of Knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London : Sage

Recently, (20 December 2005) some of these authors, presented a reaction to the mixed reviews on that book. They say on the Introduction of ‘Mode 2’ Revisited: The New Production of Knowledge:
Some philosophers, historians, and sociologists of science regarded the argument in the book as either simplistic or banal (or perhaps both), while science policy analysts worried about the empirical evidence for the trends it identified (or argued that these trends were not new). However, the book’s broad thesis – that the production of knowledge and the process of research were being radically transformed – struck a chord of recognition among both researchers and policy-makers
Helga Nowotny, Peter Scott & Michael Gibbons

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Transdisciplinarity and levels of awareness

"To transform life into experience, experience in science, science in action and action in life... and so on until the infinite".Can you better summarize the essence of Transdisciplinarity?

NICOLESCU (1996) in his article about “a new vision of the World” extracted from his book “La Transdisciplinarité - Manifeste”, elucidates us about this concept:
“as the prefix "trans" indicates, transdisciplinarity concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond all discipline. Its goal is the understanding of the present world , of which one of the imperatives is the unity of knowledge”
Life and experience (Culture) is then tied to Science and Science to action (Technology/ Art) providing new levels of life. This complex way of relations between and among all this, deals with what is called emergence and leads to new levels of reality and of awareness. These levels of awareness corroborate JUDGE (1999) who says that there are different “approaches to understanding Transdisciplinarity”:
The most common (Transdisciplinarity-1) is that based on efforts to formally relate the insights of particular disciplines, providing some form of logical meta-framework through which they may be integrated at a higher level of abstraction than interdisciplinarity. The second (Transdisciplinarity-2) is that associated much more intimately with individual experience in the moment. These two approaches are themselves contrasted with three other forms. Illustrative use of metaphor and figurative language may be considered a primitive form of transdisciplinarity (Transdisciplinarity-0). This should be considered distinct from that form of transdisciplinarity (Transdisciplinarity-3) associated with use of generative root metaphors having fundamental cognitive implications. Finally, it is useful to hypothesize the existence of a fifth form (Transdisciplinarity-4) that might in future combine the characteristics of the other forms in a more operationally fruitful way
This is the abstract of "Transdisplinarity-3 as the Emergence of Patterned Experience" contribution made by Anthony Judge to the 1st World Congress of Transdisciplinarity Arrabida, Portugal, November 1994. Abridged version published in: Jose Manuel Ferreira (ed.) Proceedings of the First World Congress of Transdisciplinarity. Lisbon: Hugin Editores, 1999

Friday, March 10, 2006

First steps on this TransD Blog in English


Sorry, just started. On the meantime you can go to the portuguese version TransdisciplinarCV or step down at the site of CIRET (Centre International de Recherches et Etudes Transdisciplinaires) held by the "guru" of Transdisciplinarity, the "18,600 Google entries" BASARAB NICOLESCU.

As stated on the frontpage of their english version site:
The International Center for Transdisciplinary Research (CIRET) is a non-profit organization, located in Paris and founded in 1987. The aim of our organization is to develop research in a new scientific and cultural approach - the transdisciplinarity - whose aim is to lay bare the nature and characteristics of the flow of information circulating between the various branches of knowledge. The CIRET is a priviledge meeting-place for specialists from the different sciences and for those from other domains of activity, especially educators.
Go then to the site by clicking on the following button