The Complexities of Interdisciplinarity: Integrating Two Different Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Research and Education

Angus McMurtry


The aim of this article is to open a conversation between the complexity & education community and the field of interdisciplinarity (as well as its close relative, interprofessionalism). It starts by describing two very different streams of thought in the literature on interdisciplinary research and education: One that focuses on the socio-cultural dynamics among disciplinary ‘knowers’ and one that emphasizes the complexity of the phenomena studied by these disciplinary knowers. Next, the author argues that recent epistemological thinking associated with the complexity & education community can help to integrate these streams of thought—offering a way for interdisciplinary inquiry to respect both the complexity of knowers and the complexity of the known.

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