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Transdisplinarity-3 as the Emergence of Patterned Experience

Transcending duality as the conceptual equivalent of learning to walk (Part I) (Part #1)


Contribution to the 1st World Congress of Transdisciplinarity Arrabida, Portugal, November 1994. Abridged version published in: Jose Manuel Ferreira (Ed.) Proceedings of the First World Congress of Transdisciplinarity. Lisbon: Hugin Editores, 1998. Also published in Journal of the Interdisciplinary Crossroads, Volume 2, No. 2, August 2005 [abstract]

Abstract: This paper endeavours to distinguish between several approaches to understanding transdisciplinarity. The most common (Transdisciplinarity-1) is that based on efforts to formally relate the insights of particular disciplines, providing some form of logical meta-framework through which they may be integrated at a higher level of abstraction than interdisciplinarity. The second (Transdisciplinarity-2) is that associated much more intimately with individual experience in the moment. These two approaches are themselves contrasted with three other forms. Illustrative use of metaphor and figurative language may be considered a primitive form of transdisciplinarity (Transdisciplinarity-0). This should be considered distinct from that form of transdisciplinarity (Transdisciplinarity-3) associated with use of generative root metaphors having fundamental cognitive implications. Finally, it is useful to hypothesize the existence of a fifth form (Transdisciplinarity-4) that might in future combine the characteristics of the other forms in a more operationally fruitful way.

CONTENTS

Introduction

A. FORMS OF TRANSDISCIPLINARITY

B. RELATING THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF TRANSDISCIPLINARITY

C. PATTERNED EXPERIENCE: Distinguishing Transdisciplinarity-1 and 2

PART II

D. WALKING METAPHOR: The fundamental challenge to understanding

E. IMPLICATIONS

REFERENCES


Introduction
Forms of transdisciplinarity
Transdisciplinarity-1: abstract formal integration
Transdisciplinarity-2: integrative experience
Transdisciplinarity-0: bridging metaphors
Transdisciplinarity-3: metaphor as a cognitive framework
Transdisciplinarity-4: action in the moment
Relating the different forms of transdisciplinarity
Attempts to hold relationships between differences
Multi-phase learning/action cycle as a framework
Patterned experience: Distinguishing Transdisciplinarity-1 and 2
Characteristics of patterned experience
Attempts to convert pattern experience into knowledge
Patterned experience as a kind of biological cell
Dehydrating pattern knowledge

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Introduction

This paper endeavours to distinguish between several approaches to understanding transdisciplinarity. The most common (Transdisciplinarity-1) is that based on efforts to formally relate the insights of particular disciplines, providing some form of logical meta-framework through which they may be integrated at a higher level of abstraction than interdisciplinarity. The second (Transdisciplinarity-2) is that associated much more intimately with individual experience in the moment. These two approaches are themselves contrasted with three other forms. Illustrative use of metaphor and figurative language may be considered a primitive form of transdisciplinarity (Transdisciplinarity-0). This should be considered distinct from that form of transdisciplinarity (Transdisciplinarity-3) associated with use of generative root metaphors having fundamental cognitive implications. Finally, it is useful to hypothesize the existence of a fifth form (Transdisciplinarity-4) that might in future combine the characteristics of the other forms in a more operationally fruitful way.

Consistent with the argument of this paper, the intention is not to endeavour to formulate precise definitions of these different forms of transdisciplinarity. Rather the focus is on the implication of emphasis on one as opposed to another.

This work is part of a long-term programme of the Union of International Associations to maintain and publish an Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1994). First published in 1976, this explores ways of organizing conceptual and experiential resources in response to some 10,000 world problems profiled from the documents of some 20,000 international organizations in every field of human activity (1994). The encyclopedia has reviewed many integrative conceptual approaches (see Section K, notably in the 1991 edition), especially in the light of the intractable differences between those with 'answers' to the problems of the world. Considerable work has been devoted to recording the many approaches to human development and the more integrative states of awareness documented in the literature of different disciplines, spiritual and otherwise (see Section H). Special attention has been given to the potential of metaphor in reframing the challenges and possibilities of conceptual and social organization (see Section M). Efforts have also been made to explicitly relate specific human values to both world problems and approaches to human development. The challenge of using new forms of computer-enhanced visual representations of such database relationships to facilitate higher orders of consensus is a continuing concern (see Section TZ).

lationships to facilitate higher orders of consensus is a continuing concern (see Section TZ).


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