“Problems tend to be interdisciplinary”

“If problems are one focal point for collaboration, tools can be another. An example: systems needed to deal with the gigantic data sets generated in finance, astronomy and oceanography. Such tools naturally bring together computer scientists and the statisticians, economists and scientists who might use the data. Goldin points to “crowdsourcing” as a second example of a cross-disciplinary tool, complexity science as a third and (optimistically, I feel) practical ethics as a fourth.” ~ Tim Harford

[emphasis added]

3 Responses to ““Problems tend to be interdisciplinary””

  1. gregorylent

    reality is interdisciplinary … the only people who don’t much notice, are those in disciplines

  2. Ron Lubensky

    In my experience, there is wide support for interdisciplinary research at university (I’m completing doctorate). What is often amiss is an understanding and acceptance of post-modern and critical research methodologies by those who are firmly rooted in a positivist world-view that places hypothesis-driven methods as the only “valid” and “reliable” sources of universalised Truth, the presumed goal. Meanwhile, subjective approaches that provide important insight into human experience are often deemed untrustworthy. In terms of tools, I would also recommend the methods of public deliberation that bring the diversity of values and “practical” ethics as well as facts into the problem solving tent. Some in the universities are threatened by this devolution of intellectual power.


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