Category Archives: social change

Transdisciplinarity, transversality, and tensions

Transdisciplinary research integrates methods and concepts of different disciplines in systematic processes that improve on any combination of knowledge produced by specialists in disciplines, perhaps going beyond the scope of disciplinary inquiry. It does so to address real world challenges, generating knowledge and action together. (As such, it might be better named transdisciplinary research and engagement.)
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Why is transdisciplinarity needed?

Transdisciplinary research integrates methods and concepts of different disciplines in systematic processes.
Q: Why is transdisciplinarity needed?
A: To address real world challenges.
Q: Why is transdisciplinary research needed to do that? What does it do that research in disciplines doesn’t do well? Continue reading

On transdisciplinarity

Because transdisciplinarity is radical, in the sense that it goes to the roots of knowledge, and questions our ways of thinking and our construction and organization of knowledge, it requires a discipline of self-inquiry that integrates the knower in the process of knowing.

 
Nicolescu, B. (ed.) (2008) Transdisciplinarity: Theory and Practice. Hampton Press.

Two extensions:
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Life has more possibilities and joys when…

Thinking about the question posted to commentators on this recent PBS show: How to make sense of Elizabeth Warren getting tangled by how she addresses her Native American heritage, while Trump’s innumerable prevarications are not a problem for him and his supporters. My first response was that there are many social dynamics going on–If there was one, someone would have named it succinctly and it would have gained wide circulation. After starting to list various dynamics, from the evangelical push for a Christian nation to profit-making by Fox-stream media, I shifted to see that Trumpism might be resisted by acting upon a unifying dynamic: Continue reading

Reconstructing Rawls and exposing the implicit social embeddedness of theories of justice

Taylor, Peter J., “Reconstructing Rawls and exposing the implicit social embeddedness of theories of justice” (1995). Working Papers in Critical, Creative and Reflective Practice. 4.
https://scholarworks.umb.edu/cct_ccrp/4
This essay (from 1995) prods moral philosophy towards more explicit attention to the political constructions of injustice. I do not appeal to practical or political relevance, but advance a particular kind of constructivist interpretation of moral argumentation (constructivism+) in which our interpretive horizons are extended to include the implicit views of social action, broadly construed—from the macro- to the micro-social, and from the past to the present and the possible—built into philosophical arguments.
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Re-districting without gerrymandering

A serious proposal as well as an opportunity for critical thinking: What holes or objections can readers identify?

Proportional representation eliminates gerrymandering by treating the whole state as one district and assigning multiple seats in that state according to the proportion of the vote gained by a given party. But let me put aside that possibility and stay with the traditional subdivision of a state into districts. Here is a way to do re-districting without gerrymandering and to reduce risk that votes for one party will be concentrated into a few districts.
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