Abstract and Keywords
“Interdisciplinary Cases and Disciplinary Knowledge: Epistemic Challenges of Interdisciplinary Research” provides a conceptual framework of interdisciplinarity in the context of contemporary philosophy of science and social epistemology. It describes a widespread tension between the interdisciplinary commitment to complex real-world problems and the disciplinary strategies to build simplified models. While real-world problems call for highly specific and context-sensitive solutions, disciplinary problems serve as exemplars of more a general type. The epistemological challenge of interdisciplinarity is to relate knowledge about complex and singular cases with knowledge about generalized concepts and causalities. This relationship calls for a combination between the “humanistic” ideal of understanding the individual case, and the “scientific” search for common features of different cases. In practice interdisciplinary projects find ways to bridge causal explanation and the concern for the case. An epistemological attempt is made to conceptually integrate the search for universally applicable knowledge and idiographic richness.
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