Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity: The Case forInterdisciplinary Knowledge and ResearchMOTI NISSANI*Wayne State UniversityThe frequently-encountered wholesale dismissal of either interdisciplinary knowledge or research reflects a profound misunderstanding of their vital contributionsto scholarship, society, and individuals. This article presents the only self-contained, comprehensive defense of interdisciplinary knowledge and research,arguing that they are important because: 1. Creativity often requires interdisciplinary knowledge. 2. Immigrants often make important contributions to their newfield. 3. Disciplinarians often commit errors which can be best detected by peoplefamiliar with two or more disciplines. 4. Some worthwhile topics of research fallin the interstices among the traditional disciplines. 5. Many intellectual, social,and practical problems require interdisciplinary approaches. 6. Interdisciplinaryknowledge and research serve to remind us of the unity-of-knowledge ideal.7. Interdisciplinarians enjoy greater flexibility in their research. 8. More so thannarrow disciplinarians, interdisciplinarians often treat themselves to the intellectual equivalent of traveling in new lands. 9. Interdisciplinarians may help breachcommunication gaps in the modern academy, thereby helping to mobilize its enormous intellectual resources in the cause of greater social rationality and justice.10. By bridging fragmented disciplines, interdisciplinarians might play a role inthe defense of academic freedom. The case against interdisciplinary knowledgeand research is made up of many intrinsic drawbacks and practical barriers. Takentogether, these rewards, drawbacks, and barriers suggest a mild shift in the contemporary world of learning towards interdisciplinary knowledge and research.*Direct all correspondence to: Moti Nissani, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, Wayne State University, 5700Cass Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48202.The Social Science Journal, Volume 34, Number 2, pages 201-216.Copyright 1997 by JA! Press Inc.All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. ISSN: 0362-3319.
202THE SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL Vol. 34/No. 2/1997"Your planet is very beautiful," [said the little prince]. "Has it any oceans?""I couldn't tell you," said the geographer . . . ."But you are a geographer!""Exactly," the geographer said. "But I am not an explorer. I haven't a singleexplorer on my planet. It is not the geographer who goes out to count the towns, therivers, the mountains, the seas, the oceans, and the deserts. The geographer is muchtoo important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk." Antoine de SaintExupery (The Little Prince, pp. 63-64)INTRODUCTIONL o n g ago, C. P. S n o w (1964a) o b s e r v e d that the intellectual life o f the W e s t was beingi n c r e a s i n g l y split, with literary intellectuals at one p o l e and p h y s i c a l scientists atanother. A s a consequence, the W e s t lost even a pretense o f c o m m o n culture. Thiscultural divide, in S n o w ' s view, entailed serious c o n s e q u e n c e s for our creative, intellectual, and e v e r y d a y life.B y now, m o s t o f us no longer think it p o s s i b l e to b e c o m e a R e n a i s s a n c e S c h o l a r a laL e o n a r d o da Vinci. G r a d u a l l y during the nineteenth century, the ideal o f the unity o fk n o w l e d g e - - t h a t a genuine scholar ought to be f a m i l i a r with the s u m total o f h u m a n i t y ' s intellectual and artistic o u t p u t - - g a v e w a y to specialization. H u m a n i t y ' s everg r o w i n g store o f k n o w l e d g e , and the fact that each person is b e s t o w e d with a uniqueset o f aptitudes, left most scholars and artists stranded in ever-shrinking islands o fc o m p e t e n c e ( C u m m i n g s , 1989):No people in our own time could rationally proclaim that they knew everythingabout everything, or even everything about their own fields . Instead of beingchallenged by the slowly emerging knowledge of the Renaissance, we are nowbeing deluged by torrents of new information almost daily. In self-defense, to avoiddrowning and attain some kind of footing, we seek to come ashore on ever-smallerislands of learning and inquiry . To look beyond . is to be overwhelmed by theocean's magnitude: better to remain ignorant of all but our own tiny province .The result in our own time is not just Snow's "two cultures" but in fact a multitudeof cultures, each staking out a territory for itself, each refusing to talk to the other,and each resisting all attempted incursions from surrounding "enemies" (Miles,1989, pp. 15-16).Others take a m o r e sanguine v i e w o f the c o n t e m p o r a r y w o r l d o f learning:It has become too easy to criticize esoteric research as narrow, detached, and trivial.Such criticism lacks an appreciation for the elegant way in which fields of studymerge . Some links facilitate integration and thereby prevent specialization frombecoming narrow-mindedness . We need to reconceptualize our model of disciplinary growth and specialization, adopting a more organic model that accounts forthe intricate links among the many specializations. Our current mechanistic modeldivides disciplines into numerous blocks of specializations; it is inaccurate . andmisleading (Ruscio, 1986, pp. 43-44).
Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity203Regardless of one's views about the extent of compartmentalization in the modernresearch and creative enterprises, it is clear that specialization in one form or anotheris here to stay. The question that keeps rearing its head concerns the future and legitimacy of interdisciplinarity. Some people feel that any attempt at interdisciplinaritysmacks of dilettantism, perhaps even charlatanism. This article will show that thisview entails a profound misunderstanding of the intellectual, social, and personalrewards of interdisciplinary knowledge and research.WHAT IS INTERDISCIPLINARITY?Although many have tried to define interdisciplinarity (Berger, 1972; Kockelmans,1979; Mayville, 1978; Stember, 1991), it still seems "to defy definition" (Klein, 1990).The most widely cited attempts break down interdisciplinarity into components suchas multidisciplinarity, pluridisciplinarity, crossdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity.Because these subdivisions throw little light on the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity, elsewhere (Nissani, 1995a) I have proposed their replacement with a moreappropriate definition. To begin with, a discipline can be conveniently defined as anycomparatively self-contained and isolated domain of human experience whichpossesses its own community of experts, lnterdisciplinarity is best seen as bringingtogether distinctive components of two or more disciplines. In academic discourse,interdisciplinarity typically applies to four realms: knowledge, research, education,and theory. Interdisciplinary knowledge involves familiarity with components of twoor more disciplines. Interdisciplinary research combines components of two or moredisciplines in the search or creation of new knowledge, operations, or artistic expressions. Interdisciplinary education merges components of two or more disciplines in asingle program of instruction. Interdisciplinary theory takes interdisciplinary knowledge, research, or education as its main objects of study.This article is largely concerned with the defense of interdisciplinary knowledge andresearch in typical academic settings. Although almost identical arguments could beused in defense of interdisciplinary knowledge and creativity in the arts, such a defensewill not be undertaken here. Also, this essay is largely confined to the knowledge andresearch aspects of academic interdisciplinarity, leaving for another occasion a discussion of the similar, but more complex and ambivalent, case of education. Likewise,this essay only offers reflections in but not about interdisciplinary theory.REWARDS OF INTERDISCIPLINARY KNOWLEDGE AND RESEARCHWhen pressed to justify interdisciplinary knowledge and research, theorists typicallycome up with two or three arguments. No single treatise known to me makes a comprehensive case for interdisciplinarity. This section tries to fill that gap. In doing so, itrelies on the reflections of interdisciplinary theorists, on the reflections of others, and(especially in the choice of illustrations) on my own experiences in a variety of fields.As will be seen, the specific rewards listed below fall within three overlapping categories: (1) growth of knowledge, (2) other social benefits, and (3) personal rewards.
204THE SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL Vol. 34/No. 2/1997Creative BreakthroughsThe very act of creation often involves the bringing together of previously unrelatedideas (Koestler, 1964). Highly creative artists and thinkers form unconventional butfruitful permutations of disparate ideas (Simonton, 1988). The combined aspects maybe drawn from a single discipline, as in Torricelli's sea of air hypothesis, or fromeveryday experiences and a single discipline, as in Archimedes' celebrated "eureka"case. The act of creation may also arise from the permutation of ideas from two ormore disciplines. Thomas Kuhn, for instance, noticed the strildng similarity between agestalt switch (psychology) and a paradigmatic shift (history of science).Most observers of the creative moment concur: "The clashing point of two subjects,two disciplines, two c u l t u r e s - - o f two galaxies, so far as that g o e s - - o u g h t to producecreative chances. In the history of mental activity that has been where some of thebreak-throughs came" (Snow, 1964a, p. 16). "Intellectual cross-pressures generated byan interdisciplinary outlook liberate a person's thinking from the limiting assumptionsof his own professional group, and stimulate flesh vision" (Milgram, 1969, p. 103)."The periods of greatest excitement and of expanded vision in our joint work as socialpsychologists have been during interdisciplinary efforts" (Sherif, 1979; see alsoBecher, 1989; Bechtel, 1986; Florman, 1989; Gaff, 1989; Miles, 1989; Moffat, 1993;Ruscio, 1986). C. Wright Mills (1959, pp. 211-212) puts it well:The sociological imagination . in considerable part consists of the capacity toshift from one perspective to another, and in the process to build up an adequateview of a total society and of its components. It is this imagination, of course, thatsets off the social scientist from the mere technician. Adequate technicians can betrained in a few years. The sociological imagination can also be cultivated; certainly it seldom occurs without a great deal of routine work. Yet there is an unexpected quality about it, perhaps because its essence is the combination of ideas thatno one expected were combinable--say, a mess of ideas from German philosophyand British economics. There is a playfulness of mind back of such combining aswell as a truly fierce drive to make sense of the world, which the technician as suchusually lacks. Perhaps he is too well trained, too precisely trained. Since one can betrained only in what is already known, training sometimes incapacitates one fromlearning new ways; it makes one rebel against what is bound to be at first loose andeven sloppy.Thus, if chance favors the prepared mind, and if preparation often involves groundingin two or more disciplines, then those who wish to speed up the growth of knowledgeshould promote, or at least tolerate, interdisciplinary knowledge and research.Outsider's PerspectiveAccording to some observers (Becher, 1989, p. 118), "career mobility . is amongthe most potent sources of innovation and development within a discipline." Forinstance, seventeen out of forty-one scientists in the phage group (which played a decisive role in mid-century biology) were physicists or chemists by training. HeinrichSchwabe was a pharmacist, James Joule a brewer, Paul Gauguin a stockbroker.Thomas Hunt Morgan was trained as an embryologist, A. E. Housman as a classicist,
Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity205Somerset Maugham as a physician. There is a pattern here, which demands anexplanation.The first cause is obvious: immigrants bring fresh insights and methodologies fromtheir old disciplines. This may include, in particular, a more fruitful way of tellingapart wheat from chaff.The second cause can be best approached by noting the resemblance between immigrants to a new discipline and to a new land. Foreign observers like Herodotus, deTocqueville, or Margaret Mead sometimes see cultural aspects which are invisible tothe natives. The natives live and breathe their customs; the perceptive foreignerdoesn't. The same goes for the history of ideas: outsiders are less prone to ignoreanomalies and to resist new conceptual frameworks.An outsider's perspective, then, is particularly valuable at times of crisis. Such timesare common. Indeed, there are good reasons to believe that no discipline is exemptfrom cycles of normalcy and revolution (Kuhn, 1970). Sometimes, an entire disciplineis in intellectual disarray, e.g., pre-Copernican astronomy with its multitude ofepicycles.One could cite many historical periods of disciplinary crisis, but here I shall focus onthe contemporary scene. According to some observers (Koestler, 1959; Schwartz,1992), contemporary particle physics is in an unsettled state. The social sciences mayalso be in such a state. "The most prominent indicator of the crisis . is the low wheatto-chaff ratio in the glittering piles of research publications." Other indicators of crisis,according to this view, are controversies about everything and preoccupation withmethodologies (Sherif, 1979, pp. 201-203). Another alleged candidate is education(Swoboda, 1979, p. 81; Whitlock, 1986, pp. 24-27).Although these bleak assessments of contemporary particle physics, social science,and education could be mistaken, the history of ideas leaves little doubt that somefields are, or will be, in an unsettled state. The disarray may be more keenly felt andacted upon by newcomers who have not yet grown habituated to it fresh recruits onthe one hand, immigrants from other fields on the other.Crossdisciplinary OversightsThe gaps among [the social science] disciplines are much too large . As a result,many sociologists . [long continued] to draw their imagery of the Protestant Reformation from Max Weber, although professional historians have long since relegated his theories to the dustbin. In the same way, sociologists long continued todraw their imagery of primitive societies from Patterns of Culture far after the timewhen anthropologists had dismissed Benedict's ethnographic depictions as quitemisleading. In neither case does the rejection of the work deny the intriguing quality of the conceptual scheme, but it does brand the specific historical or ethnographic accounts as so fallacious empirically that the concepts would not be utilizedwithout the most careful reconsideration. And, both cases serve to illustrate how thegap between disciplines has led to one of them relying on theories and data whichare quite invalidated among the originating discipline (Wax, 1969, pp. 81-82).Insulated from related disciplines and lacking a clear notion of its bearings relativeto what others have done, intensive study within a single [social science] discipline
206THE SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL Vol. 34/No. 2/1997sooner or later leads to floundering into territories already explored by others. Theresult is confusion and displays of needless ignorance, of the kind typified in thepast by psychologists who improvised their own sociology of the family or of culture, or who declared social institutions to be fictions (Sherif, 1979, p. 217).The problem is by no means confined to the social sciences. At the turn of thecentury some biologists believed that dominant genes would increase in frequency inrelation to recessive genes. In this case, the interdisciplinary corrective was put intoeffect by the mathematician Hardy.Nor is this predicament confined to the past. The writings of some contemporaryeconomists often fly in the face of basic ecological concepts. Most books, one notedeconomist says,discussing environmental and resource problems begin with the proposition thatthere is an environmental and resource crisis. If this means that the situation ofhumanity is worse now than in the past, then the idea of a crisis--and all that follows from it--is dead wrong. In almost every respect important to humanity, thetrends have been improving, not deteriorating. [Therefore, global and U.S. trendswill go on] improving instead of deteriorating.Had our economist consulted an introductory logic text, he might have perceivedthat this passage employs a persuasive definition of "crisis" (humanity's situation isworse now than in the past), instead of the more appropriate lexical definition ("anunstable state of affairs in which a decisive change is i m p e n d i n g " - - W e b s t e r International). Had he consulted a middle-of-the road ecology text, he might have realizedthat this passage ignores the widely accepted theoretical definition of "crisis."Or take the following lines, quoted approvingly in an eighth edition of a logic text."The school-book pictures of primitive man sometimes omit some of the detractions ofhis primitive life--the pain, the disease, famine, the hard labor needed just to stayalive." Now, the assertion about hard labor ignores anthropological findings that some"primitive" tribes enjoyed much leisure.Or take, finally, the key assertion in an influential, and otherwise excellent, education treatise, that, of all the animals, "man is the only one to treat not only his actionsbut his very self as the object of his reflection." A passing acquaintance with apebehavior and, especially, with Gordon Gallup's work on self-awareness in chimpanzees and orangutans (Gallup, 1979), would have surely led this author to qualify boththis statement and its implications.This comedy of errors could be expanded to fill volumes. Such oversights can befound in works of the highest quality: they are part and parcel of the scholarly condition. In the non-existent world of pure disciplinarity, the people who commit sucherrors and their colleagues, being strict disciplinarians, would have not been in a position to catch them. And all those fancied strict disciplinarians who could spot sucherrors would have never learned of their existence. Zealous divisions of this type areof course fictional (Ruscio, 1986). The routine detection of crossdisciplinary oversights shows that we do not yet live in a pure disciplinary world. Nonetheless, theoversights that do escape notice for years suggest that the world in which we do live is
Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity207not as interdisciplinary as it ought to be. Indeed, with more thinkers straddling moredisciplines, and with greater tolerance for interdisciplinary conceptualizations andvocabularies, such embarrassing episodes would be less common than they are now(cf. Whitman, 1953).Disciplinary CracksAccording to most interdisciplinary theorists, some problems of knowledge areneglected because they "fail to fit in with disciplinary boundaries thus falling in theinterstices between them" (Huber, 1992, p. 285; see also Campbell, 1969; Kavaloski,1979; Kockelmans, 1979). For instance, it seems reasonable to suppose that psychology has something to do with price raising, but, in 1977, this problem fell outside thedomain of both psychology and economics; it therefore received insufficient attention(Boulding, 1977).Before this sensible claim can be accepted, it must be borne out by the historicalrecord. So far, this record is open to an opposite interpretation: potentially productivequestions in No Man's Lands do eventually get attention. Witness, for example, theongoing search for extraterrestrial life, which shifts along between astronomy andbiology. Or witness explorations in scientific parapsychology, which fall betweenpsychology and mysticism. Perhaps, as Ruscio (1986) argues, the disciplines are not inpractice as sharply demarcated as most theorists suppose. Disciplinary researchersseem capable of filling productive, yet unoccupied, niches, so that the opportunities forfruitful research in the gray areas among the disciplines are perhaps not missed forlong.Regardless of the historical reality of unexplored gray areas, one point is perfectlyclear: such areas include important topics which often require interdisciplinaryresearch.Complex or Practical ProblemsSuppose that you wished to understand the Soviet-American Cold War. Supposefurther that you were interested in fathoming this entire conflict, not merely one oranother of its aspects. A few years and a few bookshelves later, you might realize thatmost experts have failed to arrive at a self-contained portrait because they examinedthis subject from a single disciplinary perspective. An integrated approach, you mightconclude, holds a greater promise of bringing you closer to a finn grasp of thiscomplex subject than any important but one-sided study. Thus, in this particularinstance, you may begin with history. At some point of your ambitious undertaking,you would realize that history falls short, and that the Third World policies of bothAmerica and Russia are important to your subject. At another point you mightconclude that the theories and practices of totalitarianism and democracy must beunderstood as well. You may prolong this branching out process for a while, until areasonably coherent picture emerges. If you persevered, your broad synthesis maywell embody a deeper understanding than any uni-disciplinary approach could possibly muster.Or suppose you wanted to understand the nature of political liberties. You mightexamine the subject from a philosophical perspective, and, if you are an original
208THE SOCIAL SCIENCEJOURNAL Vol. 34/No. 2/1997thinker, come up with some interesting observations. Or you might examine it from ahistorical standpoint, focusing perhaps on the conflict between Athens and Sparta, orbetween the Third Reich and France. Or, if you happened to be a science historian, youmight focus on the similarities between scientific and democratic decision-making. Allthese disciplinary contributions m a y be valuable. But some hunters for truth go beyondthis point: when their quarry ignores human-made "no trespassing" signs, they continuethe chase. If, besides this interdisciplinary resolve, they also have an original mind, theymay end up writing an epoch-making book on the Open Society and its Enemies.In such cases, those who stop at the disciplinary edge run the risk of tunnel vision.Besides these obvious intellectual costs (cf. Saxe, 1945), narrow disciplinarity isfrequently accompanied by a social cost. It is possible, for instance, that the high costsand risks humanity endured throughout the Cold War period are traceable in part to thetunnel vision of decision-makers and their academic advisors (Nissani, 1992). Humanity's use of new reproductive technologies is open to a similar interpretation:The failure to engage wisdom of an adequate breadth for addressing the subject athand, along with the disciplinary norms that encourage such failure, are painfullyevident even in the best of the recent books on the impact of the new reproductivetechnologies . [books which] fail to transcend the narrow boundaries of their ownargumentative fields to offer broad-based and widely comprehensible options forour collective future (Condit, 1993, p. 234).Bertrand Russell's (1960, p. xv) characterization of politics m a y still merit our attention: "It is the custom among those who are called 'practical' men," he says, "tocondemn any man capable of a wide survey as a visionary: no man is thought worthyof a voice in politics unless he ignores or does not know nine tenths of the most important relevant facts."Even well-meaning statesmen may err because they do not understand the technical,social, or scientific aspects of a policy:It is dangerous to have two cultures which can't or don't communicate . Scientistscan give bad advice and decision-makers can't know whether it is good or bad. Onthe other hand, scientists in a divided culture provide a knowledge of some potentialities which is theirs alone. All this makes the political process more complex,and in some ways more dangerous, than we should be prepared to tolerate for long,either for the purposes of avoiding disasters, or for fulfilling . a definable socialhope (Snow, 1964b, p. 98).The intellectual, social, and personal price of narrow compartmentalization has beenoften remarked upon (Boulding, 1977; Easton, 1991; Eliade, 1977; Gaff, 1989; Gass,1972; Mayville, 1978; Petrie, 1986). Indeed, history might have been different if theexperts who developed fire retardants in children's nightwear examined theirmutagenic potential (Swoboda, 1979), if the people who put together the Aswan D a mhad been trained to remember the large picture, if the people who marketed thalidomidelooked beyond its tranquilizing and economic potential. An interdisciplinary background may have not caused industry experts to adopt a more balanced view of thetobacco/cancer link, but it might have tempered their outfight advocacy of smoking.
Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity209In more general terms, "recent history is filled with cautionary tales [all showing]the dangerous, sometimes fatal, narrowness of policies recommended by those whopossess expert knowledge." Experts prefer quantifiable variables, they tend to ignorecontextual complexity, and their scope is often limited (Marx, 1989). All too often,experts forget that "problems of society do not come in discipline-shaped blocks"(Roy, 1979, p. 165).O f the many episodes which capture our society's disciplinary dilemma in morepersonal terms, I should like to relate one. It involves a nuclear weapons scientist whogradually became alienated from his work. His epiphany came inthe experience he had in the mid-1980s when visiting the Soviet Union for the firsttime: Walking in Red Square . [seeing] so many young people . he began toweep uncontrollably . Before that, Moscow had been no more than a set of linesat various levels of rads and pressures and calories per square centimeter that onehad to match with the bombs. (Lifton & Markusen, 1990, pp. 273-274)Again, for all I know, the production of nuclear weapons could be justified on moralgrounds, but this is not the point here. To democrats and humanitarians, the frighteningpoint is this: in this w o r d of specialists, a highly educated person can be unaware ofthe social and moral dimensions of her actions. H. G. Wells said someplace that historyis a race between education and catastrophe, but this captures only part of our plight.Ironically, in this age, one may know much about a subject and yet know little aboutits ramifications. I for one know decent people who know everything about the chemistry of CFCs and nothing about the ozone layer (Nissani, 1996); everything aboutinternal combustion engines and nothing about global warming; everything aboutminimum wage legislation and nothing about poverty. Compartmentalization, besideslack of education, is the enemy; an enemy that can only be conquered through holisticscholarship and education:Previously, men could be divided simply into the learned and the ignorant, thosemore or less the one, and those more or less the other. But your specialist cannot bebrought in under either of these two categories. He is not learned, for he is formallyignorant of all that does not enter into his specialty; but neither is he ignorant,because he is "a scientist," and "knows" very well his own tiny portion of the universe. We shall have to say that he is a learned ignoramus, which is a very seriousmatter, as it implies that he is a person who is ignorant, not in the fashion of theignorant man, but with all the petulance of one who is learned in his own specialline (Ortega y Gassett, 1932).To sum up. Many complex or practical problems can only be understood by pullingtogether insights and methodologies from a variety of disciplines. Those who forgetthis simple truth run the intellectual risk of tunnel vision and the social risk of irresponsible action. In some areas, interdisciplinary research has long been practiced, e.g.,materials research or American studies. Such areas, and the habit of holistic visionthey foster, should become more numerous. Future specialists will perhaps be able tosee their field "as part of a wider context, to reflect on the impact of their discipline' s
210THE SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL Vol. 34/No. 2/1997activities on society, and to enhance their ability to contribute to social developments"(Huber, 1992, p. 290).Unity of KnowledgeIt is of course impossible, in our age, to become an expert in everything. But if wemistake disciplinary knowledge for wisdom; if we forget how much we don't know; ifwe forget how much we cannot know; if we don't set for ourselves, in principle at least,the ideal of the unity of knowledge; we lose something of great importance. By persistently aiming at the hazy target of omniscience, interdisciplinarians help us rememberthese things. They thus spur us to see the various components of human knowledge forwhat they are: pieces in a panoramic jigsaw puzzle. And they inspire us to recall that"the power and majesty of nature in all its aspects is lost on him who contemplates itmerely in the detail of its parts, and not as a whole" (Pliny, 1977, p. 581).Familiarity with other cultures enables us to see deficiencies in our own:The modem mind divides, specializes, thinks in categories: the Greek instinct wasthe opposite, to take the widest view, to see things as an organic whole . It wasarete that the [Olympic] games were designed to test the arete of the whole man,not a merely specialized skill . The great event
sions. Interdisciplinary education merges components of two or more disciplines in a single program of instruction. Interdisciplinary theory takes interdisciplinary knowl- edge, research, or education as its main objects of study. This article is largely concerned with the defense of interdisciplinary knowledge and