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[Xmca-l] Re: Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity



I think of interdisciplinary as integrative, creation of something new from the original disciplines (e.g., biochemistry), crossdisciplinary as coordinating, but not integrating, the disciplines (e.g., a World Health Organization study that coordinates epidemiology, anthropology, and geography), and transdisciplinary as somehow transcending disciplinary boundaries (but I can't think of an example).
David

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2015 11:19 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity

I have always thought that "culture" and "history" marked synchronic and diachronic difference.

I don't think there is a firm difference between transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary, but I have always taken "transdisciplinary" to be a kind of discipline apart, that superficially skimmed over the top of the disciplinary silos. "Interdisciplinary" does connote disciplinary specialists cooperating with one another, each from their own silo, leaving little room for interdisciplinary theory as such, but it seemed to me that of the two, "interdisciplinary" was closer to what I wanted, because it does connote the continuing need for "serious" disciplinary research and education. And obviously, like David and Mike, I think CHAT is eminently suited to the role.

Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Larry Purss wrote:
> David, Mike,
> This question of the direction of interaction [or the approach] 
> between history and culture and the potential to make a case in either 
> direction [that history is the process OR history is the product]  AND 
> reciprocally to be able to make a case [that culture can be assumed to 
> be either product OR process] is a fascinating observation on our 
> ability to develop "theories"
>
> I would like to bring in Seth Chaiklin's article [The zone of proximal 
> development in Vygotsky's analysis of learning and instruction] to 
> explore "functions" and their psychological "formation" as historical "products"
> [or are the "functions" processes?]
>
> On page 7 Chaiklin writes:
>
> "Changes in historical *relations* would incline a researcher to 
> predict changes in psychological functions.... Similarly, none of the 
> psychological functions are 'pure' in the sense of a 
> biologically-given *module or faculty*. Rather they were *formed, both 
> historically* in the phylogenetic development of human societies and 
> individually in the ontogenetic development of the persons within these societies."
>
> So, "functions" are not modules or faculties of biological organisms. 
> They are "psychological" phenomena that develop within historical and 
> cultural "interaction"
>
> I have been reading about Lazarus, whose pupils were Dilthey and Simmel .
> Lazarus (and Steinthal) had in the 1860's grounded *Volkerpsychologie 
> - covering language, culture, and social forms - *  [whose object was 
> to be  the psychology of societal human beings or human society]
>
> Society is theorized as not a mere *sum *of all individual minds but 
> rather the *unity *of a plurality of individuals which exists in the 
> "content or form" of their activity.
>
> I question whether the notion of "psychological functions" 
> [perception, memory, will, thought]  which intersect and affect one 
> another within identifiable "periods" are actually an "outgrowth" of 
> Lazarus volkerpsychologie?  Are "functions" that are experienced "psychologically"
> historical "products" or historical "processes" or cultural 
> "products", or cultural "processes"?
>
> Are the "periods" identified universal products/processes or are the 
> "functions" which are experienced psychologically [inner sense] 
> actually Euro-centric social situations of development?
>
> My question returns to Zinchenko's image of "oscillation" and Simmel's 
> notion of "interaction" as reciprocal [each process/product existing 
> within the orbit of the other as constellations]
>
> Lazarus, in 1860's insists that
>
> "within the large circle of society, smaller circles are formed ... 
> These circles, however, do not stand side by side but *intersect and 
> affect one
> another* in many ways.  Thus within society, there emerges a highly 
> varied ... relationship of connection and separation (Absonderung)"
>
> Does understanding "functions" which are experienced as "inner form"
> involve empirical "facts" or are they more like "principles and laws"? 
> [or are they both?]
>
> I chose not to use the phrase "age periods" as the term "age" may not 
> be necessary to answer my question trying to understand "functions" as 
> "inner sense"  In Bahktin's terms could "functions" be experienced as 
> "inner themes"?
>
> I will return to Chaiklin and his thoughts on the object of "thought". 
> On page 5 he writes:
>
> "From a psychological point of view the whole is described as an 
> integrated structure *of relationships* among developed and developing 
> higher mental functions acquired through material *interaction. *This 
> psychological description of a child focuses on *interrelationships 
> *between functions, rather than considering psychological functions in 
> isolation. For example, two year old children tend to be "directed" 
> more by reaction to what they can immediately perceive than by their 
> willful formation of an *imagined possibility (i. e. a thought)*"
>
> And this definition of thought AS "imagined possibility" [described as 
> "a function" experienced as "inner form"] returns us to the place of 
> the "imaginal" within hope and the "not yet" formed"
>
> Hope as a function experienced as "thought" interrelated reciprocally 
> with willful formation.
> Zinchenko's oscillation that haunts his thoughts/imagination/possibility.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 5:32 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>
>   
>> Hi David-
>>
>> Good luck with the history of TESOL!
>>
>> On the issue of culture and history as product and process.  I think 
>> there is some value in considering a complementary "other side" of 
>> your solution. A sort of why
>> not:
>>
>> You write that: I take it that "Cultural Historical" deliberately 
>> puts the cart before the
>> horse: history is the process, and culture is its product. And why not?
>>
>> I get that. Artifacts are often thought of as products too. At a 
>> different level of analysis, or maybe from a different temporal 
>> perspective, culture is a process that spews out history as one of its products.
>>
>> In a domain I know better than linguistics, I think it is perhaps 
>> useful to think of Skinner's methods as also "defeating history" by 
>> creating an all encompassing relevant history for the orgaism in the 
>> box. So as a graduate student, curvers of particular reinforcement 
>> ratios for pigeons and sophomore looked just alike.  There is a rumor 
>> this approach did not do so well for language, but if I understood 
>> you correctly, Chomsky had his own way of defeating history.
>>
>> mike
>>
>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 1:10 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>     
>>> I take it that "Cultural Historical" deliberately puts the cart 
>>> before
>>>       
>> the
>>     
>>> horse: history is the process, and culture is its product. And why not?
>>> Natural language semantics works this way too; you will find tht
>>>       
>> "because"
>>     
>>> is much more common than "as a result" or even "so" in spoken language.
>>> Because we live here, it is the present that needs to be accounted 
>>> fo;
>>>       
>> that
>>     
>>> is why we have unruly perfective "aspects" like "past-in-the-present"
>>>       
>> (e.g.
>>     
>>> "The worst has been averted"). But of course today's culture is
>>>       
>> tomorrow's
>>     
>>> history.
>>>
>>> I don't think that a theme is a "concept area". Halliday's point is 
>>> that ANY concept area can be measured and treated mathematically, 
>>> ANY concept area can be treated historically, and so ANY concept 
>>> area can be treated
>>>       
>> as
>>     
>>> meaning. Take, for example, such wildly disparate areas as computers 
>>> on
>>>       
>> the
>>     
>>> one hand and consciousness on the other. It is possible to treat 
>>> both as ways of processing meaning, so long as we have a definition 
>>> of meaning
>>>       
>> that
>>     
>>> is broad enough (something like "information which is encoded within
>>>       
>> other
>>     
>>> information").
>>>
>>> In 1954, my father and my mother published this paper together.
>>>
>>> http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1721584
>>>
>>> As you can see, it's about the "odd ball" problem: you have twelve 
>>> balls and and a balance, and you know that one of them is lighter or 
>>> heavier
>>>       
>> than
>>     
>>> the others; what is the minimum number of balancings you have to do 
>>> to
>>>       
>> find
>>     
>>> it? They treated the problem as "entropy of information", in other 
>>> words, as an essentially semantic problem, although of course 
>>> entropy can also
>>>       
>> be
>>     
>>> regarded as a purely physical phenomenon.
>>>
>>> I do not want to make exaggerated claims for applied linguistics. We 
>>> are essentially a set of problems in search of a theory. But the way 
>>> this
>>>       
>> state
>>     
>>> of affairs came about is that in the early sixties Chomsky divorced 
>>> theoretical linguistics from real world problems, by creating an 
>>> object
>>>       
>> of
>>     
>>> study that was purely imaginary: "competence" as opposed to 
>>> performance, and the competence of a non-existent perfect native 
>>> speaker in a
>>>       
>> homogenous
>>     
>>> speech community to boot. Part of the discussion of Chomsky's
>>>       
>> Cartesianism
>>     
>>> on the list is a discussion of that fundamental break, which, like 
>>> Saussure's break, really did throw linguistics back to the 
>>> pre-historical (i.e., thematically speaking, the pre-nineteenth century) age.
>>>
>>> Enrollment in linguistics departments cratered in response to this;
>>>       
>> nobody
>>     
>>> wanted to devote a career to studying arcane branches of X-bar syntax.
>>> Applied linguistics (and also perhaps Communication, since not 
>>> everybody interested in language was willing to undertake a lifetime 
>>> of exile) was
>>>       
>> a
>>     
>>> response to this. Applied ling begat TESOL, which in an effort to 
>>> avoid becoming a nursing degree has become, alas, a kind of MBA for 
>>> applied linguists. As you can see, the movement has been to move 
>>> towards "real world problems" (and towards money) and away from 
>>> theory. It has also
>>>       
>> been
>>     
>>> a flight from history: I am teaching a course in the history of 
>>> TESOL
>>>       
>> this
>>     
>>> semester, and I am astonished at the number of books that claim that 
>>> teaching English began in the twentieth century. We are going to 
>>> start
>>>       
>> our
>>     
>>> course, next week, in 1413, when Henry Vth becomes King of England.
>>>
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Hankuk University of Foreign STudies
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 23 February 2015 at 13:50, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>>       
>>>> I have had similar thoughts, David.
>>>> The Dept of Communication we set up after I came to UCSD is 
>>>> referred to
>>>>         
>>> as
>>>       
>>>> an "inter-disciplinary department." I much preferred to (and prefer 
>>>> to, although my day for influencing such matters is well past) 
>>>> refer to our task as building an "inter discipline." I thought that 
>>>> perhaps mediation could serve as a unifying concern.
>>>>
>>>> did you mean to say we should declare applied linguistics as the
>>>>         
>> concept
>>     
>>>> home of chat and focus on a natural language semantics? Or is there 
>>>> a
>>>>         
>>> trans
>>>       
>>>> disciplinary description that includes applied linguistics and 
>>>> natural language semantics but perhaps has other contributing 
>>>> streams of
>>>>         
>> thought
>>     
>>> as
>>>       
>>>> well?
>>>>
>>>> right now cultural neurobiology seems to promoting itself as a 
>>>> transdiscipline that is treads on chat.
>>>> *********************************
>>>>
>>>> For fun I wondered about the following from your note:
>>>>
>>>>  "culture and history (where I take one is product and the other 
>>>> process)."
>>>>  Which is which?
>>>> Maybe a mobius strip?
>>>>  :-)
>>>> mike
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 2:06 PM, David Kellogg 
>>>> <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>         
>>>>> CHAT has been variously described as “multi-disciplinary” or 
>>>>> “inter-disciplinary”. It seems to me that this formulation has 
>>>>> left undefined the depth and nature of interaction between 
>>>>> disciplines and
>>>>>           
>>>> above
>>>>         
>>>>> all between CHAT on the one hand and discipline-based praxis on 
>>>>> the
>>>>>           
>>>> other.
>>>>         
>>>>> There's a similar problem in applied linguistics that might help.
>>>>>           
>> After
>>     
>>>>> Dell Hymes's critique of Chomsky, and of the separation of 
>>>>> competence
>>>>>           
>>>> from
>>>>         
>>>>> performance, applied linguists more or less rejected the idea of 
>>>>> the
>>>>>           
>>>> "ideal
>>>>         
>>>>> native speaker/hearer in a homogeneous speech community who knows 
>>>>> his language perfectly". We all tried to include “real world 
>>>>> problems” in
>>>>>           
>>> our
>>>       
>>>>> linguistics instead, and this meant including the other 
>>>>> disciplines
>>>>>           
>>> which
>>>       
>>>>> have grown up around those problems: foreign language teaching, 
>>>>> lexicography, and discourse analysis.
>>>>>
>>>>> Then Widdowson distinguished between a disciplinary “linguistics
>>>>>           
>>>> applied”,
>>>>         
>>>>> where linguistic theory is simply applied to problems like 
>>>>> forensics
>>>>>           
>> or
>>     
>>>>> compiling computer corpora, and a more multi-disciplinary “applied 
>>>>> linguistics” where the relevance of linguistic insights to 
>>>>> problems
>>>>>           
>>> must
>>>       
>>>> be
>>>>         
>>>>> mediated along with that of other disciplines, as we must in 
>>>>> language teaching.
>>>>>
>>>>> For some purposes, that may not be a bad thing. In fact, the term
>>>>>           
>>>> "applied
>>>>         
>>>>> linguistics" seems to suggest a many-splendored technology rather
>>>>>           
>> than
>>     
>>> a
>>>       
>>>>> unified and unifying scientific theory. Not so with CHAT, which
>>>>>           
>> begins
>>     
>>>> with
>>>>         
>>>>> the linked notions of culture and history (where I take one is
>>>>>           
>> product
>>     
>>>> and
>>>>         
>>>>> the other process) and ends with theory. Theory suggests something
>>>>>           
>>> rather
>>>       
>>>>> more conceptual than complexive.
>>>>>
>>>>> Halliday argues that terms like “multi-disciplinary” and 
>>>>> “inter-disciplinary” imply that the real work, or the “locus of
>>>>>           
>>>> activity”,
>>>>         
>>>>> still belongs in the disciplines themselves, and that a
>>>>>           
>>>> multi-disciplinary
>>>>         
>>>>> approach is essentially a matter of bridge-building, assembling
>>>>>           
>> various
>>     
>>>>> disciplines into what we might call a complex, that is, a grouping 
>>>>> of disciplines which is complex by virtue of its many parts and 
>>>>> highly
>>>>>           
>>>> diverse
>>>>         
>>>>> links.
>>>>>
>>>>> Instead, Halliday proposes a much more conceptually unified
>>>>>           
>> perspective
>>     
>>>> he
>>>>         
>>>>> calls “transdisciplinary”, with an orientation “outwards” towards 
>>>>> discipline-transcendent themes rather than “inwards” towards 
>>>>> discipline-specific content. These different unifying themes have
>>>>>           
>>> emerged
>>>       
>>>>> at different moments in intellectual history.
>>>>>
>>>>> The earliest to emerge was mathematics which helped to unite the
>>>>>           
>>> various
>>>       
>>>>> branches of “natural philosophy” into physics in the seventeenth
>>>>>           
>>> century,
>>>       
>>>>> while in the nineteenth century the theme of evolution united the
>>>>>           
>> study
>>     
>>>> of
>>>>         
>>>>> botany, zoology, economics and eventually, through cosmological
>>>>>           
>>> enquiry,
>>>       
>>>>> even geology, physics and chemistry were annexed to the genetic
>>>>>           
>>> approach.
>>>       
>>>>> In the twentieth century, “structure” emerged as a theme uniting 
>>>>> all
>>>>>           
>> of
>>     
>>>> the
>>>>         
>>>>> above to psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Today, according 
>>>>> to Halliday, the emerging theme seems to be the science of meaning.
>>>>>
>>>>> It seems to me that the historical and cultural strands explain 
>>>>> very
>>>>>           
>>> well
>>>       
>>>>> how the strands of CHAT came together in the last century. But 
>>>>> maybe
>>>>>           
>> an
>>     
>>>>> applied linguistic engagement with natural language semantics in 
>>>>> this century can provide CHAT an opportunity to participate in and 
>>>>> perhaps
>>>>>           
>>>> even
>>>>         
>>>>> lead the transdisciplinary project.
>>>>>
>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>
>>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>>>>
>>>>>           
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with 
>>>> an
>>>>         
>>> object
>>>       
>>>> that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>>>>
>>>>         
>>
>> --
>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an 
>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>>
>>     
>
>
>