Transdisciplinary methodology, a catchment-scale sustainability problématique and the Achilles-heel of western science

This report outlines the results of a worldview-mapping activity aimed at understanding the limitations of futures modelling when used in a catchment-scale sustainability problem context. The worldview mapping tool used in this study measures and visually depicts the existence of what Basarab Nicolescu (2005) refers to as levels of human perception–reality1. Disciplinary-based approaches to knowledge development employ methods and tools that provide researchers with perceptual access to a single level of scientific perception-reality. This study shows that knowledge development focusing on only one level of scientific perception–reality is incomplete in ways that limit our ability to understand and remedy the sustainability problématique adequately. Furthermore, according to Max-Neef (2006), cross-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, supra-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary coordination of knowledge development cannot compensate for the omission of multiple levels of human perception– reality. Nicolescu (2005) has urged the need for adoption and use of a transdisciplinary methodology. Transdisciplinary methodology extends the axiomatic reach of the classical western scientific method in a way that recognises the existence of ‘levels’ of human perception–reality as a constituent part of the complex problématique that we are seeking to understand and remedy.

References and downloads

Cole, A. O. me ōna tūpuna (2021). Transdisciplinary methodology, a catchment-scale sustainability problématique and the Achilles-heel of western science. Kōrero Māori report 27. Tauranga, New Zealand: iPansophy Limited Digital Publishing. [Download]

 

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