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Interdisciplinary success without integration
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy. Helsinki University, Finland.
2016 (English)In: European Journal for Philosophy of Science, ISSN 1879-4912, E-ISSN 1879-4920, Vol. 6, no 3, 343-360 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some scholars see interdisciplinarity as a special case of a broader unificationist program. They accept the unification of the sciences as a regulative ideal, and derive from this the normative justification of interdisciplinary research practices. The crucial link for this position is the notion of integration: integration increases the cohesion of concepts and practices, and more specifically of explanations, ontologies, methods and data. Interdisciplinary success then consists in the integration of fields or disciplines, and this constitutes success in the sense that unification is epistemically desirable. In contrast to this account, I defend the thesis that successful interdisciplinary interaction does not necessarily imply the integration of these disciplines. I show this at the hand of two cases. In both the case of evolutionary game theory and the case of hyperbolic discounting, genuine interdisciplinary exchange took place. From both exchanges, the respective economic fields emerged substantially altered - it wasn't just a juxtaposition of disciplines in which disciplinary identities remained unchanged. Yet in neither case did the disciplines integrate. Rather, they developed their own concepts and methods, their own explanations, own ontologies, and their own views of what proper data standards were. Furthermore, the fields that emerged from these exchanges were very successful, if measured at the hand of properties like explanatory success, increase of control, bibliometrics and grant yields. Thus, I argue, there are cases of interdisciplinary success without integration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016. Vol. 6, no 3, 343-360 p.
Keyword [en]
Interdisciplinarity, Integration, Success
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-196986DOI: 10.1007/s13194-016-0139-zISI: 000386625100003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84991784066OAI: diva2:1055928

QC 20161213

Available from: 2016-12-13 Created: 2016-11-28 Last updated: 2016-12-13Bibliographically approved

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