SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

Papers Proceedings »

Integration, Values, and Well-Ordered Interdisciplinary Science

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Theorists of interdisciplinarity stress “integration” as the defining achievement of collaboration. Although integration is described using a variety of metaphors, largely linguistic in nature, interdisciplinarians are yet to settle on a way of thinking about integration. This paper offers a pragmatist redescription of inquiry and language that deflates much of the mysticism surrounding integration and returns integration to the everyday practice of considering tradeoffs between possible actions. The paper then advances Philip Kitcher’s notion of well-ordered science as an ideal that might enrich integration and preserve the status of integration as an ideal. According to this pragmatist perspective, integration is not a matter of unifying different disciplinary ontologies or methodologies. Integration is rather the intelligent management of tradeoffs that follow from articulating a problematic situation in different disciplinary languages. Integration is successful insofar as it manages these tradeoffs as they are prioritized through democratic deliberation.


Zachary Piso    
Michigan State University
United States


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