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According to Krishnan, academic disciplines are branches of knowledge, and it incorporates expertise, people, studies, research that are strongly associated with a given scholastic subject area. The title assures that combining two or more explanations for knowledge creation result in complexity in fields of study, and therefore lead to confusion. However, in areas of knowledge such as natural sciences with mathematics, and social sciences with natural sciences, adopting interdisciplinary approach aids the explanation of abstract knowledge through physical means. Therefore, it may be asked, to what extent does the adaptation of interdisciplinary approach lead to confusion?

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Using interdisciplinary approach aids the production of knowledge when it provides explanation for unsolvable theories within one academia. For example, in elementary physics, a common misconception is that when an object is in motion, the net force, total force exerted on the object, must be in the direction of motion. As the newton’s second law of motion states, F=ma, meaning that force on the object is equivalent to mass times its velocity. Previously, some physicists thought sliding a box among a frictionless floor requires a constant force in the direction of motion in order for it to continuously move in that direction. Similarly, some physicists also thought a constant force accelerates a body, until the body uses up all the power of the force. However, with both cases, when mathematical approaches including differentiation and integration to derive from the formula F=ma, two previously accepted theories about motion in elementary physics were proven to be wrong. In natural science, theories are accepted based on combination of intuition and reasoning as a way of knowing. The ‘common knowledge’ that an object requires a force to move made one to instinctively form this theory, and with seemingly correct reasoning of the equation F=ma, these fast-conclusions are cemented inside the mind. However, as reason from mathematical approach collides with false assumptions in natural science, physicists were able to correct their abstract concepts through logical sequence using mathematics. This means previous confusion from one approach is solved by interdisciplinary approaches in fields of study of academic disciplines. Hence, clarification was resulted when interdisciplinary approaches were adopted in natural science. 

However, attempts at explaining microscopic changes through another academic lens may result in contradiction by reducing the reliability of resulted knowledge. For example, in quantum mechanics, it is argued that radiation could exist both as particles and waves. Previously physicists thought when electrons orbit around the nuclei, it requires energy to move from one orbital to another, and as this is a characteristic of a particle, they assumed radiation to be the same. Knowing this is a contradiction, physicists also applied characteristics of waves onto radiation. As the electrons orbit around the nuclei, it is known that frequency levels were caused by the amount of energy, and frequency means it is in a form of wave, contradictory concepts were applied both to light. It makes sense as a separate concept in physics. However, in mathematical explanation, the major difference between particles and energy is that particles have dimensions such as length, width and height, while energy does not. The longer distance that light travels, the weaker is its energy contained. However, it was found that photons’ energy does not get weaker even with increase in the distance. This means photons do not work the same way as light, and yet they are considered to be both particles and waves just because they have some overlapping characteristics. The purpose of natural science is to produce firm, reliable evidence for the concept to be perceived as an aspect of knowledge. With such contradiction, the fact that physicists state that radiation exists as both particles and waves while mathematics prove its incorrectness leads to inability to understand the mechanisms of radiation at microscopic level. These abstract concepts are true only if they follow some logical sequence based on proven concepts. Yet contradictions undermine the reliability of the knowledge, and confusion is created in the process. 

As Henry Miller states, confusion “is a word invented for an order which is not yet understood.” This allows us to question the influence of confusion. Usually the word is interpreted as the state where deriving results based on previously proven concepts does not make logical sense in the mind. The society regards this stage of “not knowing” to be ignorant and unacademic, which asserts negative views when this stage is concluded. However, the potential for change and innovation is limited by negative societal views on confusion. The implication for the argument that adopting interdisciplinary approach results in confusion is that confusion does not always harm the stage of knowledge production. So it is worthy to question, to what extent is confusion a necessary part of knowledge production?

Even though confusion may hinder the clarity of knowledge produced, it can be seen as a positive stage of knowledge production. In perspective of psychologists, confusion is caused by inability to determine the causation of complex human behaviors merely with single influence. In psychology, attraction is defined as the feeling of interest in forming some kind of relationship with another person. Psychological point of view suggests that psychological events formed inside one’s brain, such as perception, interact with biological processes and are interpreted as attraction. However, in 1971, a study conducted by Zajonc showed 64 men and 64 women pictures of four different male undergraduate students. Then the students were asked to rate, out of 7, on how attractive they thought the students in the picture are. The results showed that with more previous interpersonal exchanges including mere interaction, could influence levels of attraction towards one. With this study, psychologists suggested that frequency of social interaction, which is linked to social origins of attraction, is one key factor in levels of attraction. This contradicts with psychological point of view as they suggest attraction is merely the byproduct of biological design inside one’s brain. From this, it can be concluded that complex human behaviors such as attraction cannot be explained with isolation of another. When interdisciplinary approach from biological and social point of view is adopted in the knowledge production, psychology itself contradicts with results from biological and social perspective. The difference in results from psychological and social point of view leads to confusion in human thoughts. However confusion is not always a sign for weakness. Knowing the problems from this interdisciplinary approach, psychologists questioned the validity of previous findings, and investigated further for more accurate information. Hence, it can be concluded that, confusion resulted from interdisciplinary approach acts as a sign of warning in academic research, and it allows for basis to change and incorporate different explanations to achieve a better understanding during knowledge production.

In regards to natural sciences with mathematics and social science, we find adopting interdisciplinary approaches causes both clarity and confusion in production of knowledge. Even though confusion is regarded as the state ignorance and incomprehension, it creates basis for innovation and development of future findings, thus leading to production of greater knowledge. Hence, while interdisciplinary approaches sometimes leads to confusion in understanding of some concepts, it must be acknowledged that confusion is how correction is made in the thought process, eventually making interdisciplinary approach to be advantageous at all times

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