Philosophy of interdisciplinarity. What? Why? How?

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Mäki , U 2016 , ' Philosophy of interdisciplinarity. What? Why? How? ' , European Journal for Philosophy of Science , vol. 6 , no. 3 , pp. 327-342 .

Title: Philosophy of interdisciplinarity. What? Why? How?
Author: Mäki, Uskali
Contributor organization: Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Practical Philosophy
TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science
Date: 2016-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: European Journal for Philosophy of Science
ISSN: 1879-4912
Abstract: Compared to the massive literature from other disciplinary perspectives on interdisciplinarity (such as those from sociology, education, management, scientometrics), philosophy of science is only slowly beginning to pay systematic attention to this powerful trend in contemporary science. The paper provides some metaphilosophical reflections on the emerging "Philosophy of Interdisciplinarity" (PhID). What? I propose a conception of PhID that has the qualities of being broad and neutral as well as stemming from within the (also broadly conceived) agenda of philosophy of science. It will investigate features of science that reveal themselves when scientific disciplines are viewed in comparison or in contact with one another. PhID will therefore generate two kinds of information: comparative and contactual. Comparative information is about the similarities and differences between disciplines, while contactual information is about what happens and why when disciplines get in contact with each other. Virtually all issues and resources within the philosophy of science can be mobilized to bear on the project, including philosophical accounts of models, explanations, justification, evidence, progress, values, demarcation, incommensurability, and so on. Given that scientific disciplines are institutional entities, resources available (and forthcoming) in social epistemology and social ontology will also have to be invoked. Why? Establishing PhID is presently an obvious step to take for several reasons, including the following two. First, ID is an increasingly powerful characteristic of contemporary science and its management, and so it would be inappropriate for an empirically informed philosophy of science to ignore it. Second, contemporary philosophy of science happens to be particularly well equipped for addressing issues of ID thanks to the recent massive work in the more specialized fields of philosophies of special disciplines (of biology, of cognitive science, of economics, of engineering, etc.). How? Given the breadth and heterogeneity of its domain and tasks, the practice of PhID must be heavily collective. It must mobilize multiple competences and it must keep elaborating a systematic agenda (or perhaps several overlapping agendas in case there will be rival 'schools' of PhID). While a lot of new conceptual work is needed, the approach is bound to be emphatically empirical, with a cumulative and mutually complementary series of case studies to be conducted. Among the methods to be employed, good old textual analysis of scientific publications will be supplemented with interviews, 'experimental' techniques, participant observation as well as various interventionist approaches. The published work in PhID will often be authored jointly by philosophers and other scholars in science studies as well as practitioners in various scientific disciplines.
Subject: Interdisciplinarity
Practical relevance
Philosophy of interdisciplinarity
Philosophy of science: tasks, methods, principles
611 Philosophy
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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