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David Rapport

Professor Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario

E.O. Wilson in his provocative essay “Back From fundamental unity that underlies all forms of knowledge

ongoing fragmentation reflections for the real

of knowledge and the resulting world but artifacts of scholarship”

Chaos” (. .) argues for a

(. .). He suggests that “the chaos in philosophy are not (. .).

I would argue (and no doubt Wilson would agree) that the ongoing fragmentation has far more than intellectual consequence. If thinking informs our activities in the “real world” (. .), the fragmented approach to intellectual life has produced a chaotic and disjointed world (. ..).

knowledge

(. .). One may

quibble about

“discipline”

in an area in

which holism

“Transdisciplinarity”

is the

path back from

the chaos; the antidote to fragmentation of the term - particularly the connotation of should predominate without constraining

structures (. .). The It is the emergence domains, that is the

prefix “trans” in the sense of “transcendence”

of integrative knowledge, essence of transdisciplinarity

insights, (. .).

formed

implies emergence. from the segmented

It is the tug of war between holism and reductionism that in principle comprises the dynamic of progress in human understanding if only it was a fair game. But the allure, seduction and power of specialization has rendered the match far less than fair. Boundaries, intellectual and otherwise give rise to power and its many abuses. Intellectual boundaries have spurred on their own brand of turf wars (. ).

Transdisciplinarity or Specialized Knowledge, the value of one without

Integrative

Knowledge

should not be at the expense of

but rather complement it the other may be reduced

(. to

,.). These zero (. .).

are

true

complements:

The road out of the chaos is to reintegrate knowledge (. ,), Transcendence is the key to discovery of the fundamental unity that Wilson and many other scholars throughout

the ages have referred to (. .).

My

motivation

was

simply

to

use

the

knowledge

I had acquired in one field

(economics) to provide a fresh perspective on another (ecology). By serendipity, these explorations provided ecology, eventually, with a body of theory drawn directly from models and concepts that had been widely used in economics for decades (. .).

Thus began a transfer across disciplinary boundaries rich in concepts but poor in experimentation, experimentation but theory poor (. ..).

from

a field

to a

field

(micro-economics) (ecology) rich

in

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