Systems transdisciplinarity as a metadiscipline

By Vladimir Mokiy

Vladimir Mokiy (biography)

In 1990, specialists from the Russian School of Transdisciplinarity began to develop the type of systems transdisciplinarity proposed by Erich Jantsch in 1972. He argued for the coordination of all disciplines and interdisciplines in the education and innovation system on the basis of a generalized axiomatic and an emerging epistemological pattern.

Since this approach has a philosophical rationale, conceptual and methodological basis, and appropriate technological methods, it can be considered as an independent metadiscipline – systems transdisciplinarity.

Transdisciplinarity as a meta-discipline has the following basic attributes:

  • a meta-theory; and,
  • a meta-narrative.

The purpose of the meta-theory of transdisciplinarity is to create a picture of the one and only world. Disciplinary (local) pictures of the world, in this case, are considered as abstract models of certain areas (fragments) of the one and only world. As a result, the meta-theory of transdisciplinarity appears to be a scheme that defines the way and context of building scientific models of the researched areas (fragments) of reality. Such a scheme, because of its abstract nature, provides a transdisciplinary interpretation of the results of modeling the fragments of reality within the framework of different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches.

Meta-narrative is a universal system of notions, signs, symbols, and models, which aims to create a single type of description of objects and the presentation of interrelated events in the picture of the one and only world. This meta-narrative summarizes the knowledge and languages of scientific disciplines, as well as cultural and semantic discourses (areas of interaction).

General provisions of a systems transdisciplinary approach

The systems transdisciplinary approach is based on the philosophic principles of unicentrism. In a broad sense, unicentrism is a position in philosophy and in science that is based on the problem of the correlation between the unity and its fragments.

This position is based on the isomorphism (similarity) of the general order of the structure of fragments of space, the attributes of information, and the periods of time that are able to describe the one and only world. Any objects at all levels of the reality of the one and only world are its natural elements and fragments.

Therefore, the main condition for the existence of the one and only world is the existence of a general order in it (transdisciplinary system). As the name implies, it follows that this order must manifest itself everywhere: in every element and fragment of this world and in every interaction of these elements and fragments at every level of reality.

As a result, the same order should ensure the achievement of activity goals and results of all these elements and fragments. In addition, it should synchronize these goals and results. For this reason, the one and only world is a One Orderly Medium.

Therefore, the order determining unity is not revealed in the course of systems transdisciplinary research of a complex object. It is not formed subjectively as happens in other types of systems approaches. Instead, it is postulated through systems transdisciplinary models of the spatial, informational, and temporal units of order:

  • The model of a spatial unit of order provides substantiation for the physical and/or logical object boundaries and the nature of relations between elements within these boundaries.
  • The model of an informational unit of order provides substantiation for the necessary and sufficient amount of information on the object.
  • The model of a temporal unit of order shows the organization of converting the internal potency of an object from the original volume to the results that will be used in the subsequent processes of its conversion.

The world in the form of vertical functional assembly and the system in the form of the general order, which make the conditions for the unity of this assembly, are close to the vision of Ludwig von Bertalanffy with respect to the general systems theory. In 1968 he wrote:

A unitary conception of the world may be based, not upon the possibly futile and certainly farfetched hope finally to reduce all levels of reality to the level of physics, but rather on the isomorphy of laws in different fields. Speaking in “material” language, it means that the world, i.e., the total of observable events, shows structural uniformities, manifesting themselves by isomorphic traces of order in the different levels or realms. (pp. 48-49)

Recognising transdisciplinarity as a metadiscipline

Endowing transdisciplinarity with the traditional attributes of scientific discipline – philosophical substantiation, concept, methodology, technological solutions – makes it possible to organically integrate it into the existing classification of scientific directions and scientific approaches.

In turn, the creation of textbooks, manuals, and training programs, as well as the organization of special training and retraining of teachers will allow us to organically integrate this transdisciplinary meta-discipline into the educational process of universities. This will then make it possible to change the attitude towards the transdisciplinarity of academic researchers and practitioners as a marginal experience not integrated into the structure of universities.

What do you think of the proposal that systemic transdisciplinarity is a metadiscipline? How would you like to see it integrated into the educational processes of universities? What problems can arise with such a targeted reform of higher education?

To find out more:
Mokiy, V. S. (2019). International standard of transdisciplinary education and transdisciplinary competence. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 22: 73-90. (Online – open access) (DOI):

94 questions and answers on Transdisciplinarity:

Bertalanffy, L. V. (1968). General system theory: Foundations, development, applications. George Braziller: New York, United States of America

Jantsch, E. (1972). Towards interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in education and innovation. In Interdisciplinarity: Problems of teaching and research in universities. OECD Publication 99, 105-106, Paris, France. (Online):

Biography: Vladimir Mokiy PhD is Head of the Russian School of Transdisciplinarity and Director of the Institute of Transdisciplinary Technologies, Nalchik, Russia. His research focuses on creating the philosophy and methodology of a systems transdisciplinary approach as an independent scientific discipline.

25 thoughts on “Systems transdisciplinarity as a metadiscipline”

  1. Dear colleagues, you may be interested in this information.
    The non-profit organization “Institute of Transdisciplinary Technologies” (Russian School of Transdisciplinarity) ( in cooperation with the non-profit organization “International Center for Transdisciplinary Studies” (French School of Transdisciplinarity) ( announce the launch of International transdisciplinary projects in the field of Higher Education and Sustainable Development (2023-2030).
    Disciplinary scientists, specialists, professors, organizers of higher education, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary experts, as well as universities, national interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary centers and organizations from different countries interested in achieving the following goals are invited to participate in these projects:
    • to revive in the higher education environment the understanding of the responsibility of universities for achieving results of development and constant self-renewal of society;
    • to form the need of universities for new disciplinary forms of student education based on the combination of systems thinking and transdisciplinarity;
    • to develop an international educational standard of higher education, namely, master’s degree in the major of “systems transdisciplinary generalist”;
    • to adapt the discipline “Systems Transdisciplinarity” to its use in the disciplinary structure of the university (creating a textbook and the necessary documents which would allow organizing training of students in specialized departments of systems transdisciplinarity).
    The following documents contain detailed information about the projects:
    Information letter – Invitation to participate in international systems transdisciplinary projects in the field of higher education and sustainable development (2023-2030). (Online – open access):
    Passport of the international project “Formation of a systems transdisciplinary worldview in the higher education system (2023-2026)”. (Online – open access):

  2. Dear colleagues, it may be interesting for you to get acquainted with the results of a systems transdisciplinary study of the Covid-19 pandemic. This paper is an example of combining systems thinking and transdisciplinary methodology for solving high-threshold problems. We will be glad to receive your comments on these results.
    Mokiy, V. S., & Lukyanova, T. A. (2022). Covid-19: Systems transdisciplinary generalization, technical and technological ideas, and solutions. Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 25, 1-21.

  3. Dear colleagues, in the fall of 2020, we started an interesting discussion in the framework of the international presentation of the metadiscipline “systems transdisciplinarity”. This discussion ended in a timeout. The participants in the discussions promised to reflect on the information received about the systems transdisciplinarity. In turn, I promised that the general discussion would be supplemented with interesting information about the systems transdisciplinary models of spatial, temporal, and informational units of order. By the end of February 2021, three articles about these models have been published in scientific journals and are ready for your attention:

    – Mokiy, V. S. (2021). Information on the Information. Systems transdisciplinary aspect. Universum: Social sciences. 1-2(71).

    – Mokiy, V. S. (2021). Information on the Time. Systems transdisciplinary aspect. Universum: Social sciences. 1-2(71).

    – Mokiy, V.S. (2020). Information on the Space. Systems transdisciplinary aspect. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 16(29), 26.

    I think that after the participants of the discussion get acquainted with the directions of practical application of these models, our discussion can be continued.

    Vladimir Mokiy.

  4. Dr. Mokiy – thank you for a great post and for promoting such a great discussion. I’m afraid that I don’t know this literature very well at all – I’m looking forward to following up all the references folk have shared – so please forgive me if my question overlooks important existing work.

    I’m really interested in how you see the work you describe here connecting to the sort of applied work in facilitating interdisciplinary research that I’m familiar with as a result of my work with the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative ( Very roughly – what lessons do you think systems transdisciplinarity has for folk facilitating research teams? And how could the sort of local ‘lesson’s learned’ that come from experience with this sort of facilitation be incorporated into the account of systems transdisciplinarity?

    I’m sorry these questions are not more clearly articulated.

    Thank you once again for a really informative and challenging discussion.

    • Stephen, thank you for your interesting questions! Let me also answer these questions in general.

      1. How you see the work you describe here connecting to the sort of applied work in facilitating interdisciplinary research?
      Systems transdisciplinarity can provide an important and irreplaceable contribution to interdisciplinary research. This assistance can be based on four main functions of systems transdisciplinarity:
      – the function of the main methodological tool for scientific research or solving multi-factor problems in circumstances in which disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches are ineffective;
      – the function of an auxiliary methodological tool, if it is necessary to perform certain stages. As a rule, this is the stage of conceptual justification of the project or systematic generalization of the results of scientific research and solving a multi-factor problem;
      – the function of an Advisory methodological apparatus, in cases where it is necessary to develop a group of compensatory measures that can ensure the implementation of an interdisciplinary solution to a multi-factor problem;
      – the function of an additional risk analysis tool from the proposed solution to a multi-factor problem proposed by an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary group of researchers.
      These functions are the basis for fruitful collaboration between interdisciplinary teams and systems transdisciplinary generalists.

      2. What lessons do you think systems transdisciplinarity has for folk facilitating research teams?
      First of all, I want to remind you of the axiom of psychology. This axiom plays the role of a pitfall in interdisciplinary research. I am talking about the destructive effect of the mechanism of rationalization of thinking. Simply put, in a stressful situation of interdisciplinary interaction, each specialist has a natural mechanism of psychological protection. This mechanism contributes to the fact that only that part of the perceived information is used in thinking, and only those conclusions are made, thanks to which one’s own behavior appears as well controlled and does not contradict objective circumstances. It is as difficult to consciously convince a specialist to disable this natural defense mechanism as it is to disable the mechanisms of reflexes. This fact contributes to the fact that a new method is formed in each interdisciplinary research or solution of a multi-factor problem. In such an environment, the art of managing an interdisciplinary team plays a major role.
      One might ask: does the mechanism of rationalization of thinking manifest itself in a research group that consists of researchers from a single scientific discipline? The answer is negative. This is due to the fact that the role of the organizational context is played by the academic conceptual and methodological support of one scientific discipline. Consequently, the negative effect of rationalizing thinking in an interdisciplinary group can be eliminated if the role of the organizational context is played by the conceptual and methodological support of meta-discipline-systems transdisciplinarity.
      Will the rights of researchers be infringed in this case? The answer is negative! The organizational context only makes the decision-making area narrower for an interdisciplinary team of specialists.

      3. How could the sort of local ‘lesson’s learned’ that come from experience with this sort of facilitation be incorporated into the account of systems transdisciplinarity?
      It is important to distinguish between lessons in the ‘technical organization’ of interdisciplinary research and lessons in the ‘process management’ of interdisciplinary research.
      Therefore, systems transdisciplinarity as a future meta-discipline must take into account lessons in the ‘technical organization’ of scientific research. However, this meta-discipline will not be able to take advantage of the ‘process management’ lessons of interdisciplinary research. This is due to the different principles of conducting research. Within the framework of interdisciplinary research, disciplinary knowledge is synthesized and integrated. Within the framework of systemic transdisciplinary research, disciplinary knowledge is generalized.

      • Dr. Mokiy – thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply. In the last part of your remarks you distinguish between the synthesis/integration of disciplinary knowledge and the generalization of disciplinary knowledge. Could you say a little more about the difference between integration and generalization? This way of thinking about what happens to disciplinary knowledge seems really interesting to me but I would like to get a clearer understanding of your key ideas (generalization vs integration/synthesis).

        Thank you once again for helping me think through these issues.

        • Dr. Crowley, I assumed that the official international presentation of systems transdisciplinarity as a meta discipline, which took place in the blog ‘Integration and Implementation Insights’, would be accompanied by such questions. Therefore, two months ago, specially for English-speaking specialists, I prepared three articles for publication in the European Scientific Journal. Information on the Space. Systems Transdisciplinary Aspect; Information on the Time. Systems transdisciplinary aspect; Information on the Information. Systems transdisciplinary aspect. These articles describe in detail the mechanism of generalization of disciplinary information within the framework of systemic transdisciplinary models of spatial, temporal and informational units of order.
          On October 30, the first of these three articles Mokiy, V. S. (2020) was published in the European Science Journal. Information on the Space. Systems Transdisciplinary Aspect. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 16 (29), 26. . I hope that the first and second articles will be published in the November issue of this magazine. I will definitely inform you about this.

          In general, we can say the following:

          Integration is a way of supplementing the obvious picture of an object or its disciplinary image (model) with knowledge of complementary disciplines. As a rule, this knowledge is already systematized in their disciplines. For this knowledge, within the framework of native disciplines, normative quantitative and qualitative characteristics and their numerical or logical values are established. However, the knowledge of the disciplines itself remains indifferent to the integration process. They remain indifferent in the integral model of the object. Therefore, experts are forced to draw subjective conclusions about the state of the object and the prospects for its development. The interdisciplinary team includes specialists who are carriers of different disciplinary knowledge and disciplinary worldviews. Therefore, the process of integrating knowledge in interdisciplinary teams is actually associated with the process of finding compromises between disciplinary specialists regarding the conceptual and methodological justification of a holistic picture (model) of an object and problems. In turn, the search for compromises leads to two consequences:
          – each study of a complex object or solution of a multifactorial problem requires the creation of a unique method. The unique method cannot be foreseen, it is known to be formed in the process of cooperation of specialists. The unique method requires unique methods of risk analysis from the implementation of the results of the study of the object or the solution of the problem. But who and how will create these methods of risk analysis?
          – The formation of a unique method of ‘mind games’ is available to specialists who have an established scientific worldview, but are not available to students who are in the process of forming a scientific worldview.

          Generalization is a way of forming a single picture of an object or its systems transdisciplinary image based on knowledge of complementary disciplines. For this, the disciplinary knowledge that is systematized within their native disciplines goes through a process of unification. Simply put, depending on the goals and objectives of researching a complex object or solving a multifactorial problem, disciplinary knowledge is systematized within the framework of isomorphic systems transdisciplinary models of spatial, temporal and informational units of order. After such a generalization, disciplinary knowledge becomes active participants in the process of assessing the state of an object or justifying a solution to a multifactorial problem. This circumstance allows the specialists of the interdisciplinary team to focus on the manifestation of their professional competencies: to provide the necessary amount of disciplinary information; organize and conduct the necessary experiments; control and comment on the process of generalization and transformation of disciplinary knowledge in the direction of the results of the study of the object and the solution of a multifactorial problem. In turn, generalization leads to the fact that each study of a complex object or solution of a multifactorial problem only needs a reasonable choice of the composition of disciplinary specialists who will conduct research or solve problems using a universal method. A universal method requires a universal method of risk analysis. A unique method and a unique way can already be taught to students. In this way, the potential for interdisciplinary research and the professional level of disciplinary specialists can be continuously improved.

  5. Vladimir’s blog, and the comments by other contributors, motivated me to reread some of the papers presented at the OECD international seminar Interdisciplinarity: problems of teaching and research in universities held in 1970. Both Eric Jantsch (1929-1980), an Austrian physicist, and Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) were concerned by the fragmentation and specialization of disciplinary knowledge. They proposed that reordering scientific knowledge by novel, systemic combinations of disciplinary expertise could create new knowledge. This proposal in 1970 has led to others since then regarding the fusion and or unity of knowledge even though the search for unity of knowledge was described in the Preface to the seminar papers as “… a nostalgia of world unity” (Apostel et al., 1972, p.1).

    Notably, fifty years later this discussion is still omnipresent. It led me to continue thinking about the following questions:

    • Do we humans live in “the one and only world” or do we live in multiple worlds?
    • Does a meta-narrative produce “single type of description” of real-world objects or issues, or does it accommodate descriptions founded on diverse human experiences, meanings, perceptions and values?
    • Is “the order of unity” that is “postulated through systems transdisciplinary models of the spatial, informational, and temporal units of order” disconnected from human perceptions and cognition of these orders?
    • Is systems transdisciplinarity delimited by the “traditional attributes of scientific disciplines” or does it transgress the boundaries of conventional discipline-based science as Jantsch requested in 1970?

    Finally, could one purpose of transdisciplinarity include interpreting the world differently, hopefully breaking free from disciplinary confinement and preconceived ideas, then accepting multiple sometimes incommensurable viewpoints about the world? Are there any good reasons why two or more interpretations about real-world subjects or situations cannot coexist?

    Apostel, L., Berger, S., Briggs, A., & Michaud, G. (Eds.) (1972). Interdisciplinarity: problems of teaching and research in universities. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Centre for Educational Research and Innovation.

    • Thank you to Roderick Lawrence for the questions he formed.
      But I’m not sure that blog readers will be able to give unambiguous answers to these rhetorical questions.
      However, if these questions are converted into statements, they can play the role of the table of contents of a textbook on systems transdisciplinarity. A brief summary of these chapters may be as follows:

      • Do we humans live in “the one and only world” or do we live in multiple worlds?
      The basis of a person, as well as any other object of any nature, is the mechanism of reflection and display of the world. The mechanism of reflection can be associated with the physiological processes of our body. We don’t put any conscious effort into these processes. The display mechanism can be associated with the intellectual processes of the Central nervous system. All people have the same principles of organization of physiological and intellectual processes. These principles do not change over time. Therefore, the unity of the objective and the subjective is evidence of human life in the one and only world.

      • Does a meta-narrative produce “single type of description” of real-world objects or issues, or does it accommodate descriptions founded on diverse human experiences, meanings, perceptions and values?
      To answer this question, a special conceptual justification is required (see Mokiy, V. S. & Lukyanova T. A. (2019). World Social and Economic Development in the Theory of Ternary Counterpoints. European Scientific Journal. Vol. 15, no 23, ESJ August Edition, pp. 12-27. DOI:
      In this context, the phrase “description based on a variety of human experiences” is not entirely correct. We were able to assume, and then prove, that modern society consists of four anthropological types of people. Each of these types has features of higher nervous activity, which are due to the complex structure of connections of neurons in the brain. Therefore, for some types of people, knowledge does not require proof. For other types of people, it is not only the proof of knowledge itself that is important, but also the ways in which this proof is obtained. Therefore, in the absence of a clear meta-narrative, we will be almost unable to generalize a variety of knowledge and human experience.

      • Is “the order of unity” that is “postulated through systems transdisciplinary models of the spatial, informational, and temporal units of order” disconnected from human perceptions and cognition of these orders?
      Universal order, which is postulated through systemic transdisciplinary units of order, is the natural basis for any object’s perception of the world. Therefore, it is disconnected from human perception as much as Apple pie baking is disconnected from its cooking recipe.

      • Is systems transdisciplinarity delimited by the “traditional attributes of scientific disciplines” or does it transgress the boundaries of conventional discipline-based science as Jantsch requested in 1970?
      We never tire of repeating that there is no empty space beyond the boundaries of disciplines. In this context, the very concept of “border” makes sense when it separates the spaces of complementary and non-complementary disciplines. Therefore, only a meta-discipline or disciplinary sections of this meta-discipline can be located outside the boundaries of all existing academic disciplines. In addition, Jantsch, unlike Piaget, did not require to go beyond the disciplines. In his report at the Symposium in 1970, he stated: “Transdisciplinarity is the coordination of all disciplines and interdisciplinary connections in the education / innovation system based on a generalized axiomatic and emerging epistemological pattern (see Jantsch, E. (1972). Towards interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in education and innovation. Interdiscipli-narity: Problems of teaching and research in universities. Paris. OECD Publ, 99, 105-106. Retrieved from

      • Could one purpose of transdisciplinarity include interpreting the world differently, hopefully breaking free from disciplinary confinement and preconceived ideas, then accepting multiple sometimes incommensurable viewpoints about the world?
      We assume that modern scientific knowledge of the world is based on approaches that shape the scientific worldview and approaches that expand the horizons of the formed scientific worldview. Approaches that shape the scientific worldview require academic disciplines, borders, and the disciplinary structure of universities. Multiple and or disparate viewpoints on the world can arise in different approaches of interdisciplinary interaction that expand the boundaries of the scientific worldview. It is important to note that the presence of multiple and incommensurable points of view is the basis for the manifestation of the Gauss law of normal distribution. Simply put, thanks to them, it is possible to arise in the Central region of the Gaussian and thus form knowledge from subjective opinions. Systems transdisciplinarity can be compared to Gaussian, in which there is a generalization of disciplinary knowledge, preconceived ideas, and many disparate points of view on the world.

  6. Dear Professor Vladimir Mokiy,

    Thank you for your kind and informative email with your invitation to contribute to your thoughts on Systems Transdisciplinarity as a Metadiscipline.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your overview of ‘systems transdisciplinarity’ in this blog. I also enjoyed the varied and apposite responses it drew and your responses in turn. Thank you.

    My take on these matters is ill-informed on the cybertech and systems theory dimensions. What I have to say on transdisciplinarity is discussed in my article on ‘wicked problems’ (Keenan, 2020).

    Keenan, W. J. (2020). Learning to survive: Wicked problem education for the Anthropocene age. Journal of Global Education and Research, 4(1), 62-79.

    However, I think you are addressing a level of the transdisciplinarity problematic that is extremely relevant to progressing institutional and societal systems in the right direction as regards WPE (wicked problem education) as a pedagogical and civic commitment to compassionate Anthropocenic interventions.

    What I regard as a feature of a truly comprehensive form of transdisciplinarity is that it is inclusive of variegated worldviews, including those of a religio-spiritual constitution. There may be a dividing-line here between my opinions and those held by monists, materialists, unicentrists, and such other modes of materialist reductionism as exist, including scientism. I make no assumptions or judgements about any of the contributors’ standpoints here.

    I think the concept of ‘a one and only world’ lacks imaginative scope and daring, as does ‘One Orderly Medium’. I’m drawn to notions like ‘sacramentalism’, ‘panentheism’, ‘illative sense’, and such spiritual-theological nostrums found in anthropological and religious discourse. It is not that I am convinced by them. I find them good to play with alongside secular modes of thought. I enjoy the conversation and believe it should continue down the ages. I incline to a view of ‘education for delight’. I also think that the ‘sacramentalist’ orientation provides a necessary critique of materialist reductionism (and vice versa).

    The postmodern debates on ‘the return of the sacred’ and ‘re-enchantment’ open up ‘ways of seeing/thinking’ occluded by a limited reading of the Renaissance-Enlightenment ‘moment’. I am by no means a ‘New Age’ fantasist. But I think that any enterprising radical (in the ‘roots’ sense) educational initiative going forward that by-passes the transcendental ‘illumination’ of Life – purposes, meanings, significations, symbolic readings, immeasurables, etc. – is going to leave out of account a considerable ‘fragment’ or two!

    So, to address your 3 key questions, Professor Mokiy:

    1. I think ‘Systems Transdisciplinarity’ is a hugely significant ‘big idea’. If it is to attract one further as a ‘metadiscipline’, it needs to shelter under its capacious wings domains of insight, vision, knowledge, horizons of meaning, and worldviews discarded by the march of Progress, but still vibrant, even vital, in their energy, creativity, imaginative reach, and inspiration.

    2. I would like to see ST integrated alongside WPE in university curricula with the proviso that there is, indeed, an open, pluralistic, inclusive, ‘catholic’ orientation to fluid, flexible, fun-loving features fully filtered into the learning and teaching process.

    3. Many problems are likely to arise: vested interests of all sorts – ideological, pedagogical, financial and economic, political, academic subjectism, etc. Are these resolvable?

    With every good wish,

    William Keenan

    Dr William Keenan
    Retired Academic Sociologist

    • Dear Dr William, in your letter write:
      I think the concept of ‘a one and only world’ lacks imaginative scope and daring, as does ‘One Orderly Medium’. I’m drawn to notions like ‘sacramentalism’, ‘panentheism’, ‘illative sense’, and such spiritual-theological nostrums found in anthropological and religious discourse. At first glance, you are right.

      However, we must remember that a summary of the philosophy, concept and methodology of any scientific field is presented as a dry text, indigestible terms and banal statements. But all of them are manifested by bright novelty, attractive beauty and striking energy only in the moments of applied use of this concept and methodology, in the moments of practical solution of complex multi-factor problems, in the stories of popularizers of science!

      I think that if the concept of systems transdisciplinarity is able to generalize different worldviews, then the description of the term ‘ One Order Medium ‘can be given in the pleasant contexts of’ sacramentalism’, ‘panentheism’.

      If you have ever been to the site of the baptism of Jesus Christ, you can see that the water of the Holy river Jordan is quite muddy. This is due to the fact that on the way to the crystal-clear water of the mountain Jordan, flat streams and rivers flow in. These streams and rivers carry with them particles of the soil through which they flow. Why was Jesus baptized not in the crystal clear water at the source of the river, but in its muddy waters? Does it make any sense?

      Modern knowledge of the world can be compared to the Jordan river. In its origins, water is like ‘One Order Medium’ it allows you to see the smallest details of its bottom and its inhabitants, as well as to form an unambiguous idea of the content of the river. As other worldviews and knowledge become available and infused into this ‘One Order Medium’, it becomes muddy (ambiguous, indeterminate, indistinct). If the researcher does not remember or does not know that the basis of muddy water is crystal clear mountain water, then he will form a complex science to study complex and not clearly defined reality. However, if we take the structure and properties of crystal clear water (the universal order ‘One Order Medium’) as the basis for understanding the world, then turbidity will be associated with valuable impurities. These impurities can be correctly filtered out of ‘One Order Medium’ using a special methodology. It should be remembered that the crystal clear water of the Jordan is a product of melting glaciers. And how glaciers appear and why they melt and gather in streams and rivers-this is already a mystery of nature, requiring its justification (a philosophical concept). That is why systemic transdisciplinarity has a strictly defined philosophical justification (unicentrism), a methodology based on models of units of universal order, a language that allows describing the result of generalization of different worldviews and scientific disciplines, as well as a methodology for solving multi-factor problems. By the way, you can read how this generalization occurs in the article Mokiy, V. (2019). Training generalists in higher education: Its theoretical basis and prospects. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 22, 55-72.

      A few words about your concerns. History teaches us that good, necessary, and timely theories and practical suggestions can pass through ideological, pedagogical, financial and economic, political, and academic subjectism like a hot knife through butter. They are assisted by the society itself, interested independent financial organizations and foundations, higher education organizers, scientists and professors, and so on. At least we hope so…

      • Hi Professor Vladimir,
        What a stimulating, breathtaking response! Thank you. Curiously enough, many years ago, I had a second baptism in the River Jordan which, I remember, as pure and fresh! I will have to soak in the steam of your illuminating consciousness before responding further. So much to absorb! Thank you. However, just one point: Would your argument be better served by the alternative term such as ‘Transystemicity’? ‘System(s) Transdisciplinarity’ is ambiguous, even confusing, perhaps. Is there something ‘hegemonic’ about ‘metadiscipline’? Would not ‘a’ meta-or trans-discipline fall foul of the same critique as ‘discipline’ in regard to WP’s? Can there be multiple meta/transdisciplines? O, for fast-flowing spring waters to help wash away the impurities and rubble of untidy and muddled thoughts! 🙂

        With every good wish, William

        • Dear Professor Vladimir Mokiy,

          I have just read your recommended article: Mokiy, V. (2019). Training generalists in higher education: Its theoretical basis and prospects. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 22, 55-72.

          It is brilliant! Crystal clear, like the wellsprings of the Jordan River! What a triumph of thought and imagination! Your ‘Gosseans’ are fabulous – like great art, if that may be defined as precise unique illumination.

          I have nothing further to add but a single word: Awesome! And, of course, thank you!

          With every single and general good wish!

        • Dear Dr William, thank you for your questions, which have clear answers. I will try to briefly answer these questions:

          1. Would your argument be better served by the alternative term such as ‘Transystemicity’?
          The terms ‘system’, ‘systemic’, ‘trans’, ‘meta’ have a long history. During this time, they have acquired successful and unsuccessful stereotypes. If we consider ourselves progressive scientists, then we must, on the one hand, fight against unsuccessful and archaic stereotypes, and on the other hand, must explain to colleagues their new modern meanings. The term ‘systems transdisciplinarity’ is so named because it is based on a ‘systems worldview’ and ‘a systems transdisciplinary approach’. Hopefully this is an unambiguous explanation of the term ‘systems transdisciplinarity’.

          2. Is there something ‘hegemonic’ about ‘metadiscipline’?
          There is nothing ‘hegemonic’ in the modern meta discipline. Judge for yourself: the academic discipline is designed to obtain and systematize knowledge. Binary disciplines are designed for the synthesis and integration of knowledge. Meta discipline is intended to generalize disciplinary knowledge. Simply put, in modern science, all elements of its disciplinary structure do not compete with each other, but go about their business!

          3. Will the meta discipline be criticized?
          Will definitely be exposed! First of all, it will be criticized by apologists of academic scientific disciplines. However, one should distinguish between constructive and non-constructive criticism. Thank God, modern scientists have already learned to understand that non-constructive criticism is a sign of ‘scientific snobbery’, and constructive criticism is a sign of ‘scientific progress’. And yet you have to communicate with the first and the second.

          4. Can there be multiple meta trans disciplines?
          In a unified cognition of the world, the term meta discipline implies that it forms a unified context of cognition. Therefore, there cannot be many meta disciplines. But there can be many disciplinary sections of meta disciplines (systems transdisciplinary ecology, biology, economics, cosmology, medicine, geology, resistance of materials, psychology, etc.). This circumstance will determine the organization of student education at universities. A small group of masters and graduate students can be trained in special departments of general systems transdisciplinarity (training of generalists). The main group of masters and graduate students can be trained in the appropriate disciplinary systems transdisciplinarity (transdisciplinary competencies). Bachelors who are to form a scientific worldview can receive popular science information about systems transdisciplinarity in optional classes.

  7. Thanks for an interesting read, Vladimir! It reminds this reader once more about the lack of universal agreement about definitions for terms like transdisciplinarity, and also about how perspectives on inter/transdisciplinarity are related to ontological and epistemological positions.

    Although I (with a philosophical training not just in contemporary philosophy of science but also in ‘unifying’ philosophers like Aristotle and Hegel) am sympathetic to the ambition to distinguish patterns that recur in different epistemological domains and at different levels of reality, I do seriously doubt that such patterns allow us to fully explain complex emerging phenomena more than in a very abstract sense – like how consciousness emerges from patterns of neural network activities. In other words, I wonder whether the principle of unicentrism could be more than perhaps an epistemic heuristic? When in the referenced article above you go as far as to explain how ‘calibration waves’ also form something like a pattern that determines even the appearance of that very article, I feel that this is an ‘explanatory over-reach’.

    This has to do with another issue that seems to be relevant to me, also in the context of transdisciplinarity as I would understand it, to wit: integration of disciplinary insights with stakeholders’ perspectives, which bring along also normative issues and experiential knowledge. With interests, norms, and values as well as experiences taken into account in (so defined) transdisciplinary research, this does deny the possibility of a unified transdisciplinary system. Nonetheless, it would allow a specific interpretation of what you label as a ‘transdisciplinary meta-science’, rather in the form of a discipline that allows the reflective use of an inter- and transdisciplinary methodological toolbox tailored to problem solving in specific (non-unifiable) historical, socio-cultural and physical contexts. It appears from the text and article that such multi-interpretable and value-laden contents don’t play an important role in your perspective, do they?

    In other words, even though we may disagree on some fundamental issues, the proposal of a transdisciplinary metadiscipline does spark an interest!

    • Machiel, thank you for your positive evaluation of the transdisciplinary meta-discipline proposal! As philosophers say, the main thing is to agree on the form, and we will definitely agree on the content!

      Currently, three extensive articles are being prepared for publication in the European scientific journal (in English) on the main systems transdisciplinary models of spatial, informational and temporal units of order. These articles will allow us to demonstrate in detail how the philosophical concept of unicentrism is transformed into appropriate methodological tools, and these tools determine the appropriate technological techniques and technologies for solving multi-factor problems of society, problems in various fields of science and technology.
      In the meantime, you can see how using the calibration waves of eight multiplexes allowed you to decipher the logic of the Big story. Mokiy, V.S. & Lukyanova T.A. (2019). The External and Internal Planet’s Limits to Growth: Transdisciplinary Rethinking. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 9, No. 9, September 2019, 134-144. DOI:

      In conclusion, about your concerns. If we perceive the system as a set of parts (disciplinary knowledge, different interests, values, norms, goals, and worldviews), then the achievement of a single transdisciplinary system based on their integration can really be denied. However, if we perceive the system as an order that determines unity, then disciplinary knowledge, different interests, values, norms, goals, and worldviews within the framework of models of units of this order are not integrated, but are successfully generalized.

      By the way, the problem of the emergence of consciousness from patterns of activity of neural networks can also be sorted out if we consider it in the structure of analysis, synthesis, decision-making and implementation of decisions made – functional patterns of activity of neural networks that determine its cyclical activity. But these are already research topics within the framework of a transdisciplinary metadiscipline.

      • Thanks for the reply, Vladimir! I’ll await the articles, hoping to learn more about the categorically different units of order you’re mentioning as currently I would not separate these as I would argue that they categorically depend upon each other – cf. the interdependence of space-time both conceptually and empircally. I do agree with you that separating a system in independent components would deny their epistemic integration, yet an approach based upon complexity and emergence does require the recognition of there being categorically independent levels of explanation. The emergence of consciousness might be explained in terms of the activities of neural networks, yet the description and explanation of consciousness’ functions and its sensitivity to ongoing other cognitive functions and environmental influences cannot refer merely to those activities, I would argue. But perhaps the future elaboration of the framework can clarify these issues.

        • Machiel, I will definitely notify you about published articles! The first article on the spatial model of the time unit of order should be published on October 31. Today, you can briefly read about system transdisciplinary models in the article Mokiy, V. S. (2019). Systems Transdisciplinary Approach in the General Classification of Scientific Approaches. European Scientific Journal. Vol. 15, no 19, ESJ July Edition, pp. 247-258. DOI:

          I want to clarify that complexity and emergence are the costs of a way of knowing in which “all explanatory arrows point down”. If we expand the direction of these “arrows” to the top, in the direction of generalization and unity, then everything will not look so difficult. Such a U-turn will allow us to designate for each object, each functional ensemble of objects the so-called “sphere of duty”, the knowledge of which significantly simplifies the process of cognition. Approaches from the classification of systems approaches, which are based on philosophical concepts, allow us to make such a turn without blood. More precisely, two of them are a systems multidisciplinary approach, which is based on the concept of holism, and a systems transdisciplinary approach, which is based on the concept of unicentrism. Holism and unicentrism is fundamentally different philosophies. In a systems transdisciplinary concept based on one-centeredness, consciousness, like several other important mechanisms, is considered as a natural mechanism that serves the important function of reflecting and displaying the world by the object itself. In this context, it is quite acceptable to talk about the consciousness of objects of non-biological and biological nature. This statement allows us to move from the philosophical justification to the methodology and technology of studying consciousness and other mechanisms through which objects successfully play the role of natural fragments of a one and only world. Simply put, there is a reason to organize joint research.

          • Thanks for clarifications again, Vladimir, which again contained some surprises to me. The almost Spinozan or even Hegelian metaphysics (consciousness as a mechanism for the object to reflect the world: der Substanz muss Subjekt werden, in Hegelian terms – substance must become subject), for example, although apparently taken here less from a conceptual-logical point of view as in Hegel. Regarding complexity, I understand it to precisely refer to both top-down as well as bottom-up interactions, which create complex dynamical trajectories. In addition, complex dynamical interactions tend to create kludges or ‘intermediate stable forms’ (Herbert Simon), causing also the structure of a complex system to change over time. Yet your clarification has made your own position, esp. on transdisciplinarity, clearer to this reader – thanks.

  8. I consider that the transdisciplinary approach is synonymous with the systemic approach with the two currents: cybernetic and realistic, which are distinguished by understanding and applying the concepts of “information-interaction” and by descriptive and mathematical modeling of systems.
    The treatment of “transdisciplinarity” as a meta-science, I do not think is possible not only from the perspective of the biological limits of the human intellect but also from the perspective of the professionalization of the new generations towards narrow specializations due to the division of labor.

    I believe that the “transdisciplinary” approach to knowledge presupposes the acceptance by most intellectuals, similarly, of the semantics of a minimum number of concepts, models and principles common to all sciences, based on the isomorphism of systems even if each science has as object of study a certain system.

    It should be promoted in higher education, especially in managerial, economic and legal fields, the areas most susceptible to intellectual manipulation by ignoring the common results of the basic sciences (mother tongue, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology).
    In fact, transdisciplinarity (the systemic approach) should be the basis for preparing all specialists for the teaching profession!

    After decades of studies and experience in management and execution positions in three different fields: military, economic and educational, I found that the lack of consensual understanding of basic concepts of knowledge, such as energy, process, system, information, natural self-adaptability, human self-adaptability, etc., is the main cause of the absurdities existing in higher education and implicitly in the current types of government of nations.

    For example, the consensual misunderstanding of the concept of “energy” (transdisciplinary concept, because it is the universal cause of all transformations in nature and society), leads to the absurdity of positioning the education system in sector III-services, ie where nothing new happens it just moves money from one pocket to another. Also due to this conceptual dissonance in the current pedagogy and in the law of education, THE PRODUCT OF SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION AND RESEARCH IS NOT CLARIFIED, from the perspective of the common results of the fundamental sciences.

    If not even the most performing intellectuals can reach consensus on even 5 concepts (system, energy, information, self-adaptability) and approx. 9 universal principles, based on the isomorphism of systems, the NEED FOR A SYSTEMIC (transdisciplinary) APPROACH TO SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE IS OBVIOUS!

    The practical problems that could arise could be:
    1. What to start with? I believe that the training of teachers should be rethought through a new pedagogy, systemic pedagogy, through which to promote this type of approach. A model:;
    2. Which governments will accept such an approach, which will simplify knowledge so much that dogmatic intellectual manipulation will no longer be possible?

    • Dear Theodore, thank you for supporting systems transdisciplinarity! You correctly identified the problems that may accompany the practical implementation of this discipline.

      Indeed, today it is difficult to assume that governments will adopt an approach that simplifies knowledge so much that dogmatic intellectual manipulation becomes impossible. Each discipline and scientific approach to some extent forms the level of moral responsibility for the results of disciplinary scientific activities. Transdisciplinary (interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary) research does not create new levels of moral responsibility. Therefore, so-called transdisciplinary research is more relevant for governments.

      At this stage, it is important that the organizers of higher education, University rectors and members of boards of Trustees feel the need to train students who will be able to solve complex multi-factor problems of nature and society in the future. In this case, students already in the course of classes on system transdisciplinarity should get practical skills necessary to expand the horizon of the scientific worldview, as well as ways to solve multi-factor problems. It is important to note that “going beyond the boundaries of disciplines” is just an unfortunate metaphor. In fact, going beyond the boundaries of disciplines is associated with a new picture of the world. Only in the new picture of the world will all vague terms have valid unambiguous definitions. Only within the framework of a new world view of dogmatic intellectual manipulation would be considered immoral.

      It is important to understand that systems transdisciplinarity (a systems transdisciplinary approach) is a way to expand the established scientific worldview. Consequently, systems transdisciplinarity cannot do without the disciplinary structure of universities, which will shape the scientific worldview. Therefore, teaching systems transdisciplinarity is possible only for masters, postgraduate, and residency students who already have a well-established scientific worldview.

      And that’s not all. For the majority of students, there should be a General course of systems transdisciplinarity, which allows them to acquire skills to expand the horizon of the scientific worldview. The full (General and special) course should be taught at a special Department of systems transdisciplinarity. These departments should train specialists who can solve complex multi-factor problems. Other specialists only need to understand how such solutions are found.

      It is important to emphasize that for the practical implementation of systems transdisciplinarity in universities, the entire teaching staff will not have to change their worldview. It will be enough to develop a course of training and retraining of the necessary number of teachers of systems transdisciplinarity, as well as to prepare all the attributes of the scientific discipline – from curricula to textbooks and manuals in certain areas of science. This activity is well developed in modern universities!

      Thus, systems transdisciplinarity can solve three important tasks.
      – maintain the disciplinary structure of universities;
      – prepare the necessary number of generalist specialists with theoretical training and practical skills in solving complex multi-factor problems of modern society;
      – to form the highest level of moral responsibility for the results of theoretical and practical activities among such specialists.

  9. I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with your proposal.

    First the agreement. It worries me that the meaning of ‘transdisciplinarity’ is being watered down in some research communities. The idea that transdisciplinary research involves the development of theoretical and/or methodological ideas that go beyond the boundaries of the conventional disciplines is really important. However, for a lot of people, transdisciplinarity now means problem-focused research in partnership with decision makers and stakeholders. This is transcendent in the sense that it goes beyond just academic researchers, and the problem focus means the work could end up going beyond one discipline, but it seems to me that this is little more than “big interdisciplinarity”. What makes transdisciplinarity different from interdisciplinarity is that there are theoretical and/or methodological ideas being researched, and these are transferable/adaptable so they can be transported into other domains. In this respect, transdisciplinarity has the characteristics of a discipline, in that a specialist language evolves. You call it a “meta-discipline”. I would not use the term “meta” myself, but that is a relatively small difference between us. In many other respects I agree with you on the need for a transdisciplinarity that does not throw the baby (transferable theory and methodology) out with the bathwater in the rush to build a stakeholder-focused research practice.

    Now the disagreement. It seems that your “one and only world” focus reduces transdisciplinary inquiry to something that is very traditional in terms of the sciences: the pursuit of truths (with all the epistemological caveats that need to accompany that word). Yes, this is consistent with the original work of Bertalanffy and Jantsch. However, I spent the first decade of my research career arguing against this, saying that we need multiple ideals of inquiry: truth, yes, but also ‘rightness’ and ‘subjective understanding’. The problem is, a transdisciplinarity that only focuses on questions of truth marginalizes more than half of what is needed in systems inquiry. What about all the methodologies developed by systems thinkers to support people in deciding on normative action? It is a problem that non-systemic science marginalizes the normative and subjective, and I argue that we should not reproduce this problem in the field of systems science.

    My way forward on this is to argue that pursuing the ideal of the unity of science is dependent on methodological pluralism, and this requires a new systems philosophy that allows for multiple types of inquiry with truth, rightness and subjective understanding (and understanding their interactions) as goals. I could end up writing a whole essay on this, but that would be pointless, as I have written many such essays before. Let me instead just recommend a single one of my papers. I have written the reference and copied the abstract below.

    Midgley G (2001). Rethinking the Unity of Science. ‘International Journal of General Systems’, 30, 379-409.

    This paper reconstructs the traditional systems notion of the unity of science to take
    account of criticisms that have been made of it over the years. It then examines a number
    of disciplinary sciences, comparing them with systems science. It is shown that disciplinary
    scientists embrace different philosophical and methodological positions, depending
    on their chosen subject areas. This presents a major problem for systems science. Systems
    science brings all the subject areas from the disciplines together, and with them come
    their associated philosophical and methodological ideas. These rub together abrasively,
    and the result is that the integrity of systems science itself is brought into question. The
    solution proposed in this paper is the promotion of methodological pluralism. This
    involves the development of a philosophical theory that explains the methodological
    diversity that is needed if we are to conduct transdisciplinary research. The paper ends
    with the presentation of a pluralist theory that begins the job of freeing systems science
    from methodological and philosophical restrictions.

    • It was important for me to hear Gerald Midgley’s opinion. We last met in the fall of 2018 in Moscow at the V International Research & Practice Conference-Biennale “System analysis in economics-2018”. We were speakers at the plenary session of the conference. Gerald made a presentation on “Systems theories and modeling”. My report was called “Socio-economic development from the perspective of systems transdisciplinary worldview”.

      As a highly qualified scientist, Gerald draws attention to the fact that over the 50 years of its official existence, the concept of “transdisciplinarity” has become overgrown with stereotypes. Many stereotypes have emerged in the era of the “great uncertainty” of identifying features of new integrative scientific approaches. That’s why today some people talk about transdisciplinarity, but they mean transdisciplinary research. Some people talk about transdisciplinary research, but they mean a transdisciplinary approach. Some people talk about a transdisciplinary approach, but they mean multidisciplinary approaches. In such an environment, the lack of sound definitions of transdisciplinarity, transdisciplinary research, and transdisciplinary approach is advantageous. In this uncertainty, it turned out that transdisciplinarity is just a “figure of speech” that denotes integrative trends in disciplinary and non-academic knowledge. Transdisciplinary research is the implementation of those very integrative trends, and not going beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines. And the transdisciplinary approach is just one of many trivial approaches that serve interdisciplinary interactions in modern science.

      As a specialist in systems theory, Gerald sets out his position in our disagreements: “My way forward on this is to argue that pursuing the ideal of the unity of science is dependent on methodological pluralism, and this requires a new systems philosophy that allows for multiple types of inquiry with truth, rightness and subjective understanding (and understanding their interactions) as goals”. I am not sure that this is a ground for disagreement. All types of pluralism (philosophical, conceptual, and methodological) are important. But they are important in the era of the formation of scientific disciplines and the accumulation of scientific knowledge. Modern science is experiencing an era of integration, synthesis and generalization of accumulated disciplinary knowledge. Therefore, today the priority is shifting to unity and single-centeredness in science. Epochs will change-priorities will also change!

      In this regard, it is appropriate to ask two questions. Should a new systems philosophy have new foundations, or can it be based on existing philosophical concepts, such as ancient Greek (Plato) or antique (Plotinus)? This is not a joke! Recently, one of the reviewers of an authoritative publication asked me why it is necessary to use the old ancient philosophy, instead of using the points of view of modern philosophers? What is a “system” and is the concept of “methodological pluralism” acceptable in principle for this term? I think that these are General philosophical questions and the answers to them should be based not on a subjective, but on a General philosophical position!

      It is obvious that methodological pluralism allows for the existence of orders, super-orders and sub-orders, many worlds that implement them, as well as many moral positions that support the processes in these worlds. But it is also obvious that even in such a situation, there must be a single order that determines the location and relationship of these “orders, super-orders and sub-orders”. And it is all the more obvious that the receptacle of this single order (system) must be a single and unique world. In other words, using the terminology of the General theory of systems, we do not invade a new philosophy of systems, but we expand the horizon of the scientific (human) worldview to the maximum. I am sure that this is the beauty and strength of the General theory and philosophy of systems.

      It is important to note that in the field of philosophy and methodology of science, it is important not only to assert. It is equally important to prove these claims. Despite the fact that I consider myself a specialist in the field of systems transdisciplinarity, I also sometimes have disagreements with it. To resolve these differences, I remind myself of a few truths. For example, that each scientific discipline is based on a set of axioms-statements. The truth of these axioms is not disputed within the framework of the concept of this discipline. If these axioms are based on a philosophical justification, then the indisputability of these axioms is strengthened. If this discipline has a methodological apparatus that can (not replace) but be applied in all scientific disciplines and in interdisciplinary interactions, then this encourages me to reconsider my subjective opinion in favor of the interpretation of systems transdisciplinarity.

      Thus, it can be argued and then proved that after its 50th anniversary, Transdisciplinarity should reach a new level of organization – the level of systems transdisciplinarity. In turn, systems transdisciplinarity should form a trusting attitude in the scientific academic environment, first of all, by its rightful place in the classification of academic and systemic approaches. To do this, it should not have weaknesses in the philosophical justification, in conceptual provisions, in methodological tools and technological solutions. I am sure that discussions on this proposal should begin first of all in the University environment. It should take place in a confidential and constructive atmosphere of working meetings, specialized seminars, and narrow scientific conferences. In the image of a specialized scientific discipline, transdisciplinarity should become available not only for transdisciplinary research of scientists, but also for expanding the scientific worldview of University students.

      • Yes, I remember you well from that conference. Good to ‘talk’ again. There is nothing I disagree with in what you say about a general philosophical approach. I also don’t have a problem with the idea of a ‘one world’ view of truth IN THE CONTEXT OF MOVEMENT TOWARDS A UNITY OF SCIENCE (in other applied contexts, theoretical pluralism can work). The only problem I have is with science (disciplinary or unified – it doesn’t matter) being restricted to truth-orientated inquiries (aiming for objectivity) when it’s also important to think about the ideals of ‘rightness’ (systemic planning and evaluation based on explorations of values) and subjective understanding (understandings of the individual perspectives of ourselves and others). There is nothing particularly new here – what I am asking for is common to the whole critical social theory movement throughout the 20th Century, and it can be traced back to Kant (and indeed some of the ancient Greek philosophers you mention). What IS new, however, is linking this call to broaden the bases of science to a renewed desire for the UNITY of science.

        As an aside (but a relevant one), I have a new PhD student – Orsan Senalp – who is rewriting the history of the systems sciences, not only returning Bogdanov to his rightful place in the history of transdisciplinary systems science (instead of talking about him as if he were merely a ‘precursor’ to the ‘real’ systems science emerging from the USA in the mid-20th Century), but also going back to 19th Century German monists. We have just begun writing a paper together because we think it is becoming increasingly clear that the systems scientists in the USA in the mid-20th Century largely erased the history of their ideas, and in doing so they produced a much more restricted general system theory than their philosophical ancestors would have supported. Orsan actually believes that the work of the monists and Bogdanov can reunite systems science and systems thinking, which have been separated into two different traditions – the former concerned with truth-orientated inquiry and the latter with values-based explorations. I am suspending judgement, as I need to see how this argument unfolds, but it looks very promising. Intellectually, I think it might well stand up. My only concern is that, culturally, the US academic science system is so against moving beyond truth-orientated inquiries that an expanded transdisciplinarity might be marginalized. In this respect, tying the project to practical aims, such as dealing with wicked problems, may garner support from other sectors of society, and thereby change the landscape of research culture in the longer term.

        • Gerald, I think that in the context of methodological pluralism, the exclamation “I don’t agree with what you say!”sounds bad. The tolerant phrase “You have the right to think so!” (Joke).

          You write that you are concerned about one problem: “… with science (disciplined or unified – it doesn’t matter) being restricted to truth-oriented inquiries (aiming for objectivity) when it’s also important to think about the ideas of ‘rightness’ (systematic planning and evaluation based on explorations of values) and subjective understanding (understandings of the individual perspectives of ourselves and others).

          It can be assumed that if the problem cannot be solved, then it is likely that inadequate conceptual support and methodological apparatus are used to solve it. In this case, to solve this problem, in addition to the methodological apparatus, a picture of a single world is required. In this picture of the world, the Truth is all as it should be in the one and only world. The Reality is all as it is in the one and only world. Therefore, in systems transdisciplinarity, the problem you are talking about is seen as a natural relationship between predestination and predisposition. These relationships are formalized in the framework of a systems transdisciplinary model of the time unit of order. Simply put, it is possible to develop subjectively, act, and create on a daily basis, but by certain control points and critical points on the world calendar, the results of this development must have strictly defined quantitative and/or qualitative indicators. You can read about it, for example, here: Mokiy, V. S. & Lukyanova T. A. (2019). The External and Internal Planet’s Limits to Growth: Transdisciplinary Rethinking. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 9, No. 9, September 2019, 134-144. DOI:

          Now a few words about A. Bogdanov. For a specialist in the field of systems theory, who claim that “a system is a collection of elements”, Tectology is a real treasure trove. He writes: the Observer can distinguish some types of complexes that differ in their degree of organization. An organized complex is defined in Tectology on the basis of the principle “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, and the more the whole differs from the sum of the parts themselves, the more it is organized. In unorganized complexes, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Finally, in neutral complexes, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts.

          However, Bogdanov rejects the use of philosophy in Tectology. This allows him to say: “the Explanation of organizational forms and methods by Tectology is not directed to the contemplation of their unity, but to the practical mastery of them.”
          As a consequence, it States: “For Tectology, morality is only a subject of study, as an organizational form among others; it considers the moral connections of people from the same point of view as the connections of cells in an organism, parts of a machine, electrons in an atom, and so on. It is as alien to morality as mathematics.”

          This conclusion is terrible for me, but I say, ” He has a right to think so.”

          In the philosophy of the one world (unicentrism), in which the system is an order that determines unity, morality is initially part of the functional purpose of each object, in our case – from a person to a planet. In this case, as I. Kant said, no matter what concept we may form for ourselves from the metaphysical point of view of free will, it is necessary to recognize that the manifestations of the will, human actions, like any other phenomenon of nature are determined by the General laws of nature. History, which studies these manifestations, however deeply their causes may be hidden, suggests that if it considered the actions of the freedom of the human will in the aggregate, it could reveal its natural course; and what seems to be confusing and not amenable to the rule of individual people, it could be recognized in relation to the entire human race as an invariably progressive, though slow, development of its primary inclinations.”

          From myself, I will add that everything that corresponds to how it should be is moral. Consequently, morality is a perceived qualitative characteristic of the unity of Bogdanov’s organizational forms.


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