An Ethic of Risk Workshop Unit 1721 September 2016
Culture Leadership Program Unit 1522 September 2016
Module 16 – Transdisciplinarity and Risk Masterclass
Dr Rob Long
Director – Niche Thinking
Dates: 3 and 4 February 2020
Venue: CLLR Training Centre Canberra
Transdisciplinarity connotes a strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach. For example, the disciplines of anthropology, social psychology , education, theology/religion, ethics, critical theory, cultural theory in the humanities are yet to make a contribution to the nature of risk discourse which remains locked into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Transdiciplinary knowledge is rooted in knowing that acknowledges the messy and ‘Wicked’ nature of real life and that it is emergent, embodied and fallible. Transdisciplinary knowledge seeks to traverse the boundaries that keep disciplines apart typically by language, discourse and symbols. Transdiciplinary knowledge seeks to liberate reason from the confines of positivistonly knowledge into the multi-realities of complex and Wicked Problems that are full of paradox, ambiguity and non-resolution.
Transdisciplinarity holds that there are mutiple levels of realities, with interaction and movement amongst what Nicolescu in Transdisciplinarity: The Hidden Third, Between The Subject and the Object calls the ‘Hidden Third’. Nicolecu proposes a new body of knowledge that comprises interaction between science, culture, spirituality, religion, and society and calls this ‘cosmodernity’. The Hidden Third is the middle ground between object and subject, the place where Ellul’s existential dialectic operates and the hyphen in Buber’s i-thou.
The Hidden Third is understood as a new zone of non-resistance to other disciplines not just the compromise of entertaining the validity of another discipline from a closed standpoint. The Hidden Third and Transdisciplinarity accepts the coexistence of multiple contradictions and multiple realities including realities not known to traditional empirical rationalist constructs. This would mean that STEM-only knowledge for example would have to be open to the perspectives, ideologies, value premises and belief systems that have been so professionalised they cannot get a vision of what is outside of themesleves. This includes disciplines of social psychology, culture, poetics, education, spirituality, metaphysics, ethics and theology. Transdiciplinarity views wickedity and messiness through a new epistemological lens that respects chaos, disorder, uncertainty, paradox and emergence.