The Rational Foundations of Interdisciplinarity: From a Normative to A Dynamic and Integrative Epistemology

By Stanislas Bigirimana.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication

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Classically philosophy was the foundation of the sciences. The development of modern science and normative epistemology created a situation where philosophy struggled to become scientific. Philosophy and other disciplines that aspired to the status of science had to model themselves on the physical sciences. This model reduces human knowing to logico-deductive processes that are amenable to mathematical operations, rules of logical inference or computer algorithms. Moreover, it portrays knowing as a conscious step by step process that occurs in isolated minds. A dynamic and integrative epistemology can fill the gaps by defining knowing as information processing i.e. accumulating insights through enriching the immediate data of experience with meaning and value for the purpose of decision-making and problem-solving. This process not only takes into account genetic, physiological, social, cultural and technological aspects that play a programming role in the process of human knowing; but also, it calls for an integration of processes of experiencing, understanding, judging (choosing, deciding), and acting. Dynamic and integrative epistemology requires a dynamic and integrative model of rationality that obviously transcends the boundaries of individual academic disciplines founding interdisciplinarity not in these disciplines but in human rationality itself. This approach avoids a possible “fragmentation of reason.”

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Rationality, Dynamic and Integrative Epistemology, Information Processing, Levels of Consciousness, Levels of Programming

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication, Volume 8, Issue 2, November 2014, pp.11-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 394.012KB).

Dr. Stanislas Bigirimana

PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Baden Wurtenberg, Germany