Interdisciplinarity

It is not without reason that modern research is differentiated into a multitude of research fields, each with its own fields, contents and methods. Sometimes the blessing becomes a curse.

Science as a search for meaning

For many ancient and medieval scientists, their task was clear: it was necessary to recognize the superordinate unity of the world, which the gods, who had created the one God or the immobile mover, to find evidence for the heavenly in the world, it was necessary to recognize the great meaning and to describe the goal to which nature and life served.

In this cosmos, every being had its own place, and the first attempts to observe plants, animals, and human behavior and conclusions based on them were an expression of lived philosophy, regardless of whether the subjects would be considered biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics from a modern perspective ,

The problem of differentiation

With the increasing exploration and disenchantment of the world, with the advancing penetration and the creation of more and more knowledge, the foundations for the further specialization were created, so that the modern sciences began to understand themselves and went deeper and deeper, while adjacent compartments impeded expansion into the width.


Conversely, this unfortunately also meant the gradual loss of communication with each other. Where highly specialized languages ​​were created, every outsider became an outsider who was unable to understand internal dialogue.

In an age such as today, when more and more is being explored, this development proves to be counterproductive; Not only do the sciences seem to have massive communications problems with each other, but due to their extreme specialization they are less and less able to articulate their findings in a generally understandable way and make them accessible to a broader public.

Has the time of specialization come to an end?
With the demand for “interdisciplinarity” the border between the subjects should be exceeded – which is far from easy considering the previous jealousies and the lack of competence.

Why interdisciplinarity?

Interdisciplinarity, ie the dialogue between different sciences, should bring together their findings from different areas and make them usable together.
The basic idea here is that on the one hand the strict specialization and the structure of one’s own technical language, communication styles and perspectives on certain contents are sometimes counterproductive and on the other hand the problems and phenomena of a more complex reality do not tend to adapt to the academic subject.

In many studies today it is a good thing to emphasize interdisciplinarity. However, it is questionable whether the foundations and findings of the neighboring subjects are actually discussed intensively. Frequently, the demanded interdisciplinarity is nothing more than lip service, which should be plausible by the mere use of some technical terms.

The problem

One problem is certainly that the long-standing occupation with only one form of science gradually suggests that this form is authoritative, their methods more intensive and their findings more profound than those of others. In addition, today hardly anyone can claim to be truly knowledgeable in more than one area.

Actual interdisciplinarity, that is, one that does not regard the foreign subject as a mere auxiliary science or scarce supplement of one’s own results, usually does not come about through a one-time study of the subject, but only through a long, intensive cooperation, which in view of the university structures , which is anything but a matter of course for increasing commercialization, the high pressure of competition and the struggle for third-party funds.

Unfortunately, universities are also cementing the technical barriers in the long run by forcing students into a tight web of formalities that are barely able to take a look beyond the horizon.