y understanding of the prescribed title “The fields of study of academic disciplines can overlap, but adopting interdisciplinary approaches to the production of knowledge leads only to confusion” is that the study of content that overlaps in different disciplines with specific defined methodologies from those disciplines will necessarily and always lead to confusion. Confusion here is provided a negative connotation such as lack of certainty, unsureness, ignorance and doubt.
It’s interesting to see the word ‘only’ as this shows us that there’s no room for doubt and it’s very certain that it will only lead to confusion. This title specifically demands a treatment and analysis in different disciplines and hence in this essay will analyse this title in Mathematics and Economics.Two or more academic disciplines deal with or study the same subject matter but by using different methodologies. Methodologies are defined by the disciplines and … Although the content in the interdisciplinary approach might be the same to a particular extent, applying different methods and these methods are defined in particular disciplines may lead to confusion. Since the point of contention is ‘confusion’ the first knowledge question that arises is “To what extent confusion plays a role in the production of knowledge?” Before going deeper into this question, I would like to discuss whether confusion is portraying negative connotation or not.
Confusion in this sense could mean a number of things, but an immediate thought would be negative. Confusion is defined as “Uncertainty about what is happening, intended, or required” by the Oxford dictionary. In other words, it can be called doubt. Doubt raises questions that lead to answers. Thus, is doubt good or bad? One of the reasons why Socrates was unpopular among his fellow Athenians was due to his method of questioning and arguing. He implanted confusion in the minds of the people who came to him for solutions and in this way made them to arrive a certain knowledge.
Therefore, confusion is not necessarily a negative stage of knowledge production. Confusion can be regarded as a motivating factor, a stage leading to knowledge. Having clarified the context of our discussion, the question that arises is, does interdisciplinary approach necessarily lead to confusion? Looking at it from perspective, we are given to understand that confusion is not always a by-product of the interdisciplinary approach. It is what initiates a process towards clarity.
One begins with confusion and ends with clarity. …interdisciplinary approach eliminates the confusion and gives a holistic view. It’s not always an interdisciplinary approach will lead to confusion, in fact, it can even help anyone to understand something better. According to Ellie Tragakes, game theory is defined as “A mathematical technique analyzing the behaviour of decision- makers who are dependent on each other, and who use strategic behaviour as they try to anticipate the behaviour of their rivals.
Has become an important tool in microeconomics, often used to analyse the behaviour of oligopolistic firms; is based heavily on the work of American mathematician and economist John Nash.” In economics, the game theory model helps to determine the most likely outcomes of the firms. Game theory model is basically what decision can two firms make when they don’t collude with each other.
Only adopting an approach from economics is not enough to make the game theory model, we will need mathematics to help us understand the game theory model in detail. In this model, the interdisciplinary approach is leading to the production of knowledge. With the use of mathematics in this model, and with the help of sense perception, an individual is able to understand it better and arriving to clarity. So, an interdisciplinary approach will not necessarily always lead to confusion. However, it’s not that an unreflected interdisciplinary approach will always lead to clarity. There are high chances that it may lead to misinterpretation, ambiguity and confusion.
In mathematics, the x axis is the independent variable and the y axis is the dependant variable Whereas, in economics, the y axis is the independent variable and the x axis is the dependant variable. For example, to calculate the gradient in mathematics, we use (y2-y1) / (x2-x1) but in economics, we use (Q2-Q1) / (P2-P1), x axis being the quantity and y axis being the price. If an individual has the knowledge of mathematics and applies those concepts learned in math into economics then whatever the individual does is wrong as the approach for both the subjects is completely different so this leads to confusion. Going back to the title which states that adopting interdisciplinary approach leading to confusion, on the contrary confusion in disciplines can be clarified and rectified by adopting appropriate interdisciplinary approaches. Confusion can arise in numerous ways, it can be through a simple mathematical equation or through a complex problem.
The real question we should all be asking is that, is it the lack of understanding of the knowledge that creates an apparent confusion or is it the different academic disciplines being overlapped that causing confusion? Reasons creates methodology in disciplines. It’s not always that an interdisciplinary approach will cause knowledge, it may even be the lack of understanding of the knowledge which is being perceived through the ways of knowing. This differs from one individual to another.
Lack of understanding occurs when there aren’t enough resources to attain more knowledge. Reasoning leads to more knowledge, that is because when individual questions more and reasons more about something, he/she attains more knowledge through reason. Here is where reason is providing with a framework and this framework is what is called as a methodology. The methodology here gives more perspective into how it should be done by giving more knowledge. Confusion can be considered as subjective and a temporary state of mind.
What is confusing for me may not be confusing for another person and also what is confusing for me at one point may be clear on another occasion. For example, even a genius like Albert Einstein was confused numerous times, he said, “I used to go away for weeks in the state of confusion.” So, it may not be the lack of understanding of the knowledge which leads necessarily. With the help of more readings, with more guidance and more reasoning, anyone can attain more knowledge and eliminate the lack of understanding. With reason, new thoughts and new ideas arise attaining more knowledge. Physics, Chemistry and Biology are all part of the natural sciences.
Each of the disciplines give a different approach and mainly different content to the production of knowledge. For example, biology mainly concentrates about life, chemistry shows the particles and matter and physics is more of practical functioning objects and so on. Each discipline helps in growing of the production of knowledge. In our group 4 project in the IBDP, we had to talk about weight lifting through the physics, chemistry and biology aspect.
This gives a holistic understanding to the viewer as we are using different approaches and methods to one topic. However, each single method will give you an understanding on angle and not the holistic view.Further, confusion and clarity is a temporary phase in the production of knowledge, that is because what is confusing today maybe clear tomorrow and what some individual feels clear about now maybe ambiguous and confusing the next day. Moreover, what is confusing to me may not be confusing to another person and at the same time, what is confusion to another individual may be clear to me so confusion and clarity are extremely subjective. Confusion is as useful as clarity, in fact, confusion maybe a necessary tool to arrive at clarity. As Syd Field says it, “Confusion is the first step towards clarity.”