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4.4.1 -

Plenary 4: How do we research and evaluate Transdisciplinarity? Prof. Eleonora Barbieri Masini (Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, Italy)

To overcome “the intrinsic limits of a mono-disciplinary perspective to global issues”,

Prof. Masini problem-solving.

stressed the

need

to

apply

a transdisciplinary

approach

to

She made reference to “‘global problematic” approaches” provided

a significant study of i.e., an ensemble by “many disciplines”

the Club of Rome devoted to the so-called

of problems together with

requiring

“a plurality

a “planetary

perspective”.

of

Prof. Masini made clear that, to characterize this study, which in the 70s had a significant impact on the academic community, the concept of “interdisciplinarity”

should preferably be utilized.

In fact, in Prof. Masini’s conception of interdisciplinarity

,

<<disciplines offer a parallel

analysis of problems)), while in a trasdisciplinary perspective ((disciplines offer their spectfic approaches and even basic assumptions, to a dialogue, in order to address

complex issues together))

Further developments in the field of “future perception of the importance of transdisciplinarity

studies” have seen an intensified with an increasing awareness on the

need for

a “closer

coordination”,

an “integration”

among

different

disciplines.

Prof. Masini explained that the need to develop effective “approaches and methods” through a ‘yoint effort” became clear, and how this can be achieved only in a transdisciplinary perspective.

Nevertheless, she pointed out how transdisciplinarity is still perceived with scepticism, thus encountering resistance in many fields of human and natural sciences.

Moreover, theoretical application,

she added that transdisciplinarity,

even

terms,

should

not

be

seen as an

abstract

since, on the

contrary,

it

is already being

though notion

used by

difficult to conceive in lacking of any significant “Future Studies”.

Future studies as well as their techniques, e.g. “Delphi”

and “scenario-building”,

are

examples of

“global

models”

“extrapolate

trends of

the past

and “definitely into the future”

transdisciplinary”.

They

attempt

to

and, on this basis, to build an image of

the

future

itself

This

is

done

through

“methods”

aiming

at “bringing

closer”

the “basic

assumptions of various disciplines” “non-predictive” analyses.

to perform

“extremely

rigorous”

although

Prof. Masini identified in this threefold quality of being “global” “transdisciplinary” , the explanation of the many criticisms directed at Future Studies, and “non-predictive”

based on the <awareness that the many variables necessary to understand the world are difficult to constrain in global mathematical models)).

32

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