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Gavan J. McDonell Professor at School of Arts and Technology Studies Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia

Disciplines as cultures: towards reflection and understanding

[Transdisciplinarity]

stands in a long line of endeavours to produce

the

linked

accomplishments

of integrated

knowledge

and universal

language (...).

In the search for comprehensive knowledge and universal language lay the hope that human endeavour was capable of producing forms of knowledge which could express reliable, comprehensive and universally rational accounts of the world (. .).

Broadly and starkly expressed (...) in recent theorising on the conditions for the social production of knowledge, there are two polar camps in philosophy and social theory:

one, often called postmodernist,

and much the more popular

and influential,

emphasises and celebrates the fragmentation of knowledge and disciplines in our world (...). Those in the other camp seek to put in modern terms the Enlightenment hopes of a universal reason, shared, emancipator-y knowledge, and moral consensus on action (...).

I want to outline a project which (...) seeks to develop, as a first stage, cosmopolitan discourses of reflection and understanding among diverse cultures, including diverse cultures of knowledge. It is in this direction that I suggest we should move in considering the possibilities of cooperation among disciplines (. .).

I regard a discipline as residing in a cultural formation comprising a group of people

who, both explicitly and implicitly, professional knowledge which they here a shared acceptance, also both

share and practice a form of scientific and regard as distinct. There is necessarily involved explicit and implicit, of structures of uncertainty

and ignorance (. )

I would experts,

like to suggest members of

that we call ‘multidisciplinary

different

disciplines,

where

studies’ a collaboration among

the

relation

among

them

is

associative, ie where the work of each of them is added to that of all the others (...).

In ‘interdisciplinary

disciplines

collaborate

studies’,

in

such

I

suggest,

the connection

a

way that

each takes up

is relational, ie, where some of the assumptions

the and

worldviews and languages of the others (...).

Transdisciplinary therefore would exist,

according

to this

model,

where

the

integrating relationship is taken to the extent of there being a transcendent language, a metalanguage, in which the terms of all the participant disciplines are, or can be, expressed (. ..).

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