My first year at college the university held a cross-campus colloquium taking its theme from C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures about the need for and difficulties of cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration in our day. The university had recently created three residential colleges focused on the arts, sciences, and government/history but designed to provide future citizens with an integrated perspective on how these concentrations fit into the bigger picture of the modern world.
Long time passing, I found myself returning to these questions around the turn of the millennium, addressing the “problem of silos” and the “scholarship of integration” from the perspective of Peirce’s and Dewey’s pragmatism and semiotics. Here’s a couple of contributions Susan Awbrey and I made to the area:
- Awbrey, S.M., and Awbrey, J.L. (1999), “Organizations of Learning or Learning Organizations : The Challenge of Creating Integrative Universities for the Next Century”, Second International Conference of the Journal ‘Organization’, Re‑Organizing Knowledge, Trans‑Forming Institutions : Knowing, Knowledge, and the University in the 21st Century, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Online.
- Awbrey, S.M., and Awbrey, J.L. (2001), “Conceptual Barriers to Creating Integrative Universities”, Organization : The Interdisciplinary Journal of Organization, Theory, and Society 8(2), Sage Publications, London, UK, 269–284. Abstract. Online.
I don’t know if the brands of ontologies being cranked out today are going to be the ultimate answer to these problems, but I do think there are applications of logic, mathematical modeling, and pragmatic semiotics that would certainly help a lot.