Chaos Theory and the Challenge of Learning across Disciplines
Using the recent explosion in the use (and abuse) of chaos theory, Borrowed Knowledge and the Challenge of Learning across Disciplines examines the relationship between science and other disciplines as well as the place of scientific knowledge within our broader culture. Stephen H. Kellert’s detailed investigation of the myriad uses of chaos theory reveals serious problems that can arise in the interchange between science and other knowledge-making pursuits, as well as opportunities for constructive interchange. By engaging with recent debates about interdisciplinary research, Kellert contributes a theoretical vocabulary and a set of critical frameworks for the rigorous examination of borrowing.
1 What Was Chaos Theory, and Why Would People Want to Borrow It?
2 Disciplinary Pluralism
3 The Rhetorical Functions of Borrowing and the Uses of Disciplinary Prestige
4 Motivating Methodological Change
5 Metaphorical Chaos
6 How to Criticize a Metaphor
7 Facts, Values, and Intervention
8 Beautiful Chaos?
9 Postmodern Chaos and the Challenge of Pluralism
“Over the next several decades, we will continue to see the issues raised in Borrowed Knowledge: Chaos Theory and the Challenge of Learning across Disciplines as important to understanding both the natural and human sciences.”
“In Borrowed Knowledge, Stephen Kellert combines philosophy with rhetoric in a critical engagement with economists, literary, and legal theorists who import chaos theory in an attempt to widen and deepen their studies. His book is a model in two senses: it shows us how to borrow knowledge responsibly in order to gain insight into one’s own discipline and how to criticize others responsibly when they borrow knowledge from other disciplines.”
“In his 1993, In the Wake of Chaos, Stephen Kellert clarified the claims and philosophical import of what is popularly termed ‘chaos theory.’ In Borrowed Knowledge, he sorts through cultural appropriations and misappropriations of chaos theory in substance and as metaphor, in the process discovering guidelines for fruitful cross-disciplinary borrowing. This is a welcome study, timely now, and bound to be useful for the next big ideas in physics.”
"Kellert examines ... disciplines other than physics or mathematics using chaos theory. He does an excellent job of discussing the pros and cons of applying chaos theory to fields like economics, literature, and the law. While doing so, Kellert develops something of a paradigm that could be applied more broadly to the notion of 'borrowing' knowledge in general, which he feels is possible. His writing is clear, lively, enjoyable, and
accessible--traits not always found in philosophical writing. Whether readers have backgrounds in philosophy or not, they will find this an important contribution and resource for years to come."
“Stephen Kellert has written a clear and insightful monograph about disciplinary pluralism as a defense of knowledge crossing disciplinary boundaries.”