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Interdisciplinarity and Postmodernity in the Environmental Sciences

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Postmodern science has aspects of both technoscience and interdisciplinary science, but is described exhaustively by neither. Twenty‐five years ago, Lyotard expected that postmodern science would reinforce our capacity to endure incommensurability. This paper suggests that the reverse is true also. Ignoring incommensurability is a precondition for the emergence of postmodern science. The bias in several large international science programs since around 1980 is toward data gathering and the technological and experimental aspects of science. Interdisciplinarity is the mechanism used to bring this about. One precondition of the success of these efforts is the low status of theory in current science and a predominance of data.

Keywords: Environmental Sciences; IGBP; Incommensurability; Lyotard; Science Policy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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