On the nature of cross-disciplinary integration: A philosophical framework
Meeting grand challenges requires responses that constructively combine multiple forms of expertise, both academic and non-academic; that is, it requires cross-disciplinary integration. But just what is cross-disciplinary integration? In this paper, we supply a preliminary answer by reviewing prominent accounts of cross-disciplinary integration from two literatures that are rarely brought together: cross-disciplinarity and philosophy of biology. Reflecting on similarities and differences in these accounts, we develop a framework that integrates their insights—integration as a generic combination process the details of which are determined by the specific contexts in which particular integrations occur. One such context is cross-disciplinary research, which yields cross-disciplinary integration. We close by reflecting on the potential applicability of this framework to research efforts aimed at meeting grand challenges.
O’Rourke, M., Crowley, S., Gonnerman, C. (2015). On the nature of cross-disciplinary integration: A philosophical framework. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Available online. DOI: doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.10.003.