I believe you have pointed to the crux of the matter.
When I arrived on the campus of my first university in the late ’60s there was already in progress some sort of year-long cross-campus “Colloquium” or “Dialogue” going on — with many invited speakers and representatives from all the colleges and departments, springing from the issues raised by C.P. Snow’s 1959 lecture on “The Two Cultures”. About the same time the University instituted three new residential colleges in cross-cultural liberal arts, “statecraft” (a mix of history, law, and political science), and the bridge between science and society.
I confess it was all over the head of a first year student with his brain buried in math and physics with a minor in beer but I did get a whiff now and then of a sea change in the air. A Möbius twist of fate and my room-mate’s hankering to find a dorm with a reputation for better food soon led me to relocate to the residence hall housing the “relevant science” people. They all took courses with titles like “Third Cultural Rhetoric” and so I osmoted some of that synthesis from my brushes with the crew of that Enterprise. Plus I met my future wife.
Poking around the web I see I already began this story two years ago, in connection with remarks John Sowa made in the Ontolog Forum as to “Why A Single Unified Ontology Is Impossible”. I’ve also just realized how one of the main themes of the present discussion links up with what I wrote earlier about the “Immune System Metaphor” — so I can save myself the effort of crafting new syntax by continuing the story as I did before under the heading of Conceptual Barriers.
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.