Borrowed KnowledgeChaos Theory and the Challenge of Learning across Disciplines

Borrowed KnowledgeChaos Theory and the Challenge of Learning across Disciplines

Stephen H. Kellert

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226429786

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

What happens to scientific knowledge when researchers outside the natural sciences bring elements of the latest trend across disciplinary boundaries for their own purposes? Researchers in fields from anthropology to family therapy and traffic planning employ the concepts, methods, and results of chaos theory to harness the disciplinary prestige of the natural sciences, to motivate methodological change or conceptual reorganization within their home discipline, and to justify public policies and aesthetic judgments. Using the recent explosion in the use (and abuse) of chaos theory, this book examines the relationship between science and other disciplines as well as the place of scientific knowledge within our broader culture. The book's detailed investigation of the myriad uses of chaos theory reveals serious problems that can arise in the interchange between science and other knowledge-making pursuits, as well as opportunities for constructive interchange. By engaging with recent debates about interdisciplinary research, the book contributes a theoretical vocabulary and a set of critical frameworks for the rigorous examination of borrowing.