Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Unity of Human Problems Through Method

Here's the abstract and a link to a final draft of my keynote presentation at the January 14, 2013, Conference on GS and Transdisciplinary Inquiry at CHM College of the University of Mumbai, Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, India, organized by Deepa Mishra, PhD.  A conference volume is in the works.

My article includes in complete form, a short and previously unpublished essay by Korzybski's co-worker, M. Kendig, entitled "Note on Unity of Problems Through Method", which provided the title and serves as the connecting theme (I think of it as the 'sauce') of my piece. Thanks, dear Kendig.

Abstract: Interdisciplinary. Transdisciplinary. Where did these notions come from? Rigid boundaries often unduly separate different academic departments and fields. How do we get beyond polite general agreement about the need for transcending these boundaries, and actually do it? Korzybski/General-Semantics scholar Bruce I. Kodish discusses a  little-known discipline that does this explicitly, general semantics, a transdisciplinary discipline, i.e., a discipline with tools applicable across many different disciplines. General Semantics (GS) functions more specifically as a meta-discipline, a discipline that provides a formulational framework and a language for understanding and talking about other disciplines. After discussing the core notion of interdisciplinarity (along with related terms), I’ll present an overview of GS, emphasizing some of its interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary aspects. I’ll conclude with some suggestions for how GS can provide tools for interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary ‘thinking’, for better appreciating and making use of the unity of human problems through method. 


Colin J Campbell said...

Interdisciplinarity was all the rage when I began my graduate studies in 'social and political thought.' Since I have graduated interest has shifted to 'digital futures' and 'social media' and it often seems to me that the promise of interdisciplinarity has been abandoned. Such is the force of fashion in academia, perhaps. Chronic and worsening funding problems are another aspect. This is one of the most concise and direct summaries I have seen of the rationale for transdisciplinarity and a method for actually doing it, rather than talking about doing it in a traditional disciplinary business, science or literary fashion.

Bruce Kodish said...

Thanks Colin. A functional interdisciplnary approach which the korzybskian discipline provides, seems like a needed centripetal force in the increasingly fragmentary digital, social media world. So I think what I wrote is still quite relevant, even though perhaps not so academically fashionable at present.