The focus of my paper is going to be Pluralism, Monism and Interdisciplinarity in the context of a multiple perspective approach. I will discuss the advantages of taking a multiple perspective approach of viewing things which are, Pluralism and Interdisciplinarity, as opposed to a single perspective approach, which is Monism. Pluralism can be used as the term to define the integration of different values and cultures within a given society. Monism, (comes from a Greek word Monos meaning one) is defined as “any philosophy that denies that there are many separate beings in the universe” and instead looks at a unified one (James and McDonald).
Interdisciplinarity looks at different disciplines, the combination of which can help create something new and different. I agree with both Berlin and Moran that it is better to take a multiple perspective approach. Though people may dismiss multiple perspective approach, I believe that Pluralism is a response to Monism and Interdisciplinarity, being the advancement of knowledge into something better and new in the context of the disciplines that have long become outdated and old fashion and which gave rise to other disciplines.
Both Pluralism and Interdisciplinarity are a multiple perspective approach of looking at things.
Pluralism as a response to Monism:
Monism as defined earlier in the paper is a view of looking at the universe as a unified whole, meaning that it is a singular way of looking at things as opposed to pluralism which looks at things in different ways, the multiple perspective approach. The reason why I agree that it is better to have a multiple way of looking at things is because, as the world keeps changing, societies too change and evolve. New innovations are made, ideas and ideals change and therefore, we cannot have a single outlook on things. People come up with different views, ideas and have their own interpretations to what they believe in and/or agree with. Berlin states “there is a plurality of ideals, as there is a plurality of cultures and of temperaments” (11). This means that Pluralism is having multiple values, perspectives that people can value more than one thing. Different people have different values and we may not always believe in or agree to them but there is an understanding of why we as human beings, pursuit what we believe in and we may therefore, have some values that are similar.
People may have different cultures that they follow and those that are important to them, but this does not mean that they are not aware of or respect other cultures. Monism is the belief that only one set of values is true and the rest being false. This is not true and that is why it is better to have a pluralistic approach as opposed to believing in those who think they know how societies should be arranged or who know what the ways of living should be. Today we are living in a pluralistic society where people around the globe share their knowledge and expertise with each other.
The advantage of pluralism is the diversity of cultures which give the freedom of communication between people of different cultures and backgrounds, who come together and work together have the liberty to follow what they believe in as opposed to following those who are in authority and those who think they know it all. Berlin sates, “true knowledge is knowledge of why things are as they are, not merely what they are” (7). In this day and time, globally, we are seeing a new era emerging where nations that had accepted dictatorship as gospel, are now rebelling and voicing their opinions and liberating their nations. Interdisciplinarity – a multiple perspective approach:
Joe Moran defines Interdisciplinarity as “any form of dialogue or interaction between two or more disciplines” (16). In my opinion what it means is that Interdisciplinarity is the transformation and the organization of knowledge into something new within the context of the disciplines that were already existent but have become obsolete. He points out three main aspects that explain really well the concept of Interdisciplinarity and what it actually does and how it has helped society evolve and transform knowledge for what it was then and what it became. Moran mentions bureaucratization, professionalization and specialization (Berlin, 12). Bureaucratization means a formation of a set of rules and regulations that need to be followed. It can be said that this is similar to what the monists believed about the people who are in controlled and need to be followed but he also talks about professionalization where a pastime is turned into a profession an also specialization separation of areas into discrete areas of concentration.
Professionalization and specialization are a contradiction to what the monists believed in because this leads to a freedom of what people were able to do and they managed to transform knowledge into something more substantial than just following rules and regulations that would not allow them to change their ways of thinking as people who had the knowledge were to control and were the ones to be followed. Interdisciplinarity gave rise to different disciplines within the framework of a university where students were given the opportunity to learn more and gain new knowledge and that knowledge was not only limited to a few people. We can say that, Interdisciplinarity is a multiple perspective approach of looking at things, in this context the disciplines that were obsolete and that gave way to the rise of knowledge that was transformed into something new.
With this came the rise of natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities that became disciplines in their own because of the different cultures and value systems that are embodied within these disciplines and not just one set of discipline that was to be followed. I conclude by agreeing with both Berlin and Moran that taking a multiple perspective approach of looking at the world and viewing things with different ideas is better than to have a single view of things. This is because a multiple perspective approach brings together different ideas from different mind sets which are more beneficial than ideas of just one person who is in control and who looks down upon people as his inferiors.
Today, technology has advanced to an extent that we can get information on our finger tips by just using the internet. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are the means of communication between people around the world and are much faster as opposed to the old days when the use of telegrams was the norm. News travels fast through these social media outlets than by watching television, or listening to news on the radio or reading newspapers. This is possible due to the fact that multiple perspective approach has allowed different mind sets to come up with and share these innovative ideas.
Berlin, Isaiah. “My Intellectual Path.” The Power of Ideas. New Jersey: Princeton University Pres, 2002. 5-7, 11-14. Print.
“Monism and Pluralism.” Hugh James Francis Joseph McDonald. N.p., n.d. Web.
22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.hyoomik.com/phi205/pluralism.htm>.
Moran, Joe. “Introduction.” Interdisciplinarity. London: Routledge, 2001. 1-18. Print.