Capitalising on incommensurability – Integration and Implementation Insights – Darryn Reid

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Capitalising on incommensurability – Integration and Implementation Insights

Capitalising on incommensurability

March 30, 2021

By Darryn Reid

author_darryn-reid
Darryn Reid (biography)

How can we harness incommensurability as a pivotal enabler of cross-disciplinary collaboration?

Effective cross-disciplinary research across multiple traditional disparate fields of study hinges on logical incommensurability, which occurs because, in general, those ideas will have been constructed using incompatible frameworks to solve distinct problem formulations within dissimilar intellectual traditions.

In other words, the internal logical consistency of a discipline’s way of approaching problems is no guarantee of ability to be integrated with another discipline’s way of approaching problems. Incommensurability should come as no surprise to anyone involved in cross-disciplinary activities. What is pivotal here, however, is the view that incommensurability is not an obstacle to be avoided or feared but an enabler. Moreover, it is the central enabler – worthy of celebration – and the focal point of cross-disciplinary advancement of knowledge.

I support this contention by reviewing the similarities between the philosophies of Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. This is followed by a quick dive into the creativity arising from the incommensurability between the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics.

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Capitalising on incommensurability – Integration and Implementation Insights