Modern Transdisciplinarity: Results of the Development of the Prime Cause and Initial Ideas

Vladimir Mokiy, Tatiana Lukyanova
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 19  •  2022  •  pp. 097-120
This paper focuses on systematizing and rethinking the conformity of modern transdisciplinarity with its prime cause and initial ideas.

The difficulties of implementing transdisciplinarity into science and education are connected with the fact that its generally accepted definition, identification characteristics, and methodological features are still missing. In order to eliminate these disadvantages of transdisciplinarity, its prime cause and initial ideas had to be detected. It is also important to analyze the correspondence of the existing opinions about transdisciplinarity with the content of these cause and ideas.

The qualitative analysis of the literature reviews on the subject of transdisciplinary was used in order to determine the correspondence of the opinions about the transdisciplinarity with the meaning of its prime cause and initial ideas. These opinions had to be generalized as well. Through this method, it was possible to detect and classify opinions into 11 groups including 39 stereotypes of transdisciplinarity. For substantiation of transdisciplinary approaches that are consistent with the approaches of contemporary science, C.F. Gauss random variables normal distribution was used. The “Gauss curve” helped to show the place of transdisciplinary and systems transdisciplinary approaches in the structure of academic and systems approaches. The “Gauss curve” also demonstrated the step-by-step “broadening of the scientific worldview horizon due to sequential intensification of synthesis, integration, unification, and generalization of the disciplinary knowledge.”

After reconsideration of the results on qualitative analysis of the literature reviews, the generalized definition of transdisciplinarity could be formulated, including the definition for transdisciplinary and systems transdisciplinary approaches. It was proven that transdisciplinarity is a natural stage for the development of contemporary science and education, and the transdisciplinary approaches were able to suggest the methods and tools to solve the complex and poorly structured problems of science and the society.

Many existing stereotypes of transdisciplinarity do not meet its prime cause and initial ideas. Such stereotypes do not have deep philosophic and theoretical substantiation. They also do not suggest the transdisciplinary methods and tools. Thus, the authors of such stereotypes often claim them to be transdisciplinary or suggest perceiving them as transdisciplinarity. This circumstance is the reason why many disciplinary scientists, practitioners, and initiators of higher education view transdisciplinarity as a marginal direction of contemporary science. Based on the generalized definition of transdisciplinarity, as well as its prime cause and initial ideas, it was shown that transdisciplinarity is presented in contemporary science in the form of two different approaches, i.e., the transdisciplinary approach and systems transdisciplinary approach. The objective of the transdisciplinary approach is to ensure science development at the stage of synthesis and integration of disciplinary knowledge, while the objective of the systems transdisciplinary approach is to ensure that the problems of modern society are solved through unification and generalization of the disciplinary knowledge.

Recommendation for Researchers
The researchers should consider that within the limits of the transdisciplinary approach, the disciplinary specialists are managed. Within the limits of the systems transdisciplinary approach, the disciplinary knowledge is managed. Thus, the transdisciplinary approach is efficient for organization and research with participation of the scientists of the complementary disciplines. An example of such research can be a team of researchers of medical disciplines and complementary disciplines from chemistry, physics, and engineering. The systems transdisciplinary approach is efficient for organization and performance of research with participation of the scientists of non-complementary disciplines such as economics, physics, meteorology, chemistry, ecology, geology, and sociology.

Future Research
In terms of the main initial idea, transdisciplinarity is formed as a global approach. The global approach should have a traditional institutional form: it should be a science discipline (meta-discipline) and have carriers with the transdisciplinary worldview. Training for such carriers can be organized by the universities within the limits of the systems transdisciplinarity departments and Centers of Systems Transdisciplinary Retraining for Disciplinary Specialists. Thus, it is reasonable to initiate discussion for the idea to reform the disciplinary structure of the universities considering creation of such departments and centers.
transdisciplinarity, transdisciplinary research, systems approach, systems transdisciplinary approach, higher education
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