Special Issue "Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787). This special issue belongs to the section "Transdisciplinary Humanities".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 6622

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Classen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Boltuc
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois Springfield One University Plaza, Springfield, IL 62703-5407, USA
Interests: machine consciousness; philosophy of mind; moral philosophy; political philosophy; business ethics; e-Learning in philosophy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

All research aims at gaining insight, knowledge, and also wisdom. The university is one of the central places where research is carried out, though there are, nowadays, also other sites, such as industry, private research entities, etc. The medieval university (Paris, Bologna, Montpellier, Salamanca, Oxford, Pisa, etc.) served the purpose of giving students a broad and deep education, and the modern university as established by Wilhelm von Humboldt (Berlin, 1810) has continued with this tradition, laying the foundation of what we call today General Education (Liberal Arts). Research and teaching go hand in hand, especially at the university, where we aim at educating the young generation about the latest research and at preparing students for their own future research. On the one hand, research means deep specialization; on the other, as is emerging very strongly at the moment, exploring new forms of synergies, collaboration, and thus transdisciplinarity.

In the sciences, this approach has already been well established, but this is only one side of the coin. Coming from the humanities, we are currently on the threshold of entering a new world wherein literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, and cultural studies are increasingly combined with medicine, artificial intelligence, mathematics, music, psychology, anthropology, and other research fields. In many ways, this appears to be a return to the medieval Trivium and Quadrivium, only now on a more elevated level. After all, ethics, morality, philosophy, human values, etc., have central importance in everything we do, and research specialization must never forget its social obligations.

This volume aims at exploring the principles of transdisciplinary studies, in the full awareness of the tentative but also profoundly inspiring nature of this new approach. What we need at the current moment would be intensive communication and exchange among the various players at universities or in research at large. Administratively, of course, there continue to be huge barriers to facilitating shared investigations between, say, neuroscience and German studies. The medical humanities, however, have already embarked on remarkable transdisciplinary collaboration with amazing results, and in this volume, we challenge our colleagues to think through the various possible avenues, methodologies, data sets and analyses on a new plane of investigation.

Some of the greatest intellectuals throughout history have always been, of course, entirely transdisciplinary in their outlook and thinking, and so we can only hope to become dwarves once again sitting on the shoulders of giants, to use a medieval trope. As dwarves in such a position, we are enabled to look further, to develop new ideas, influenced by researchers in different disciplines, and can thus hope to move forward in exploring innovative concepts about our natural and spiritual world. Both have always cooperated most intimately, and cannot really operate without the respective other, but modern research is only now beginning to rediscover those connections (for a sixteenth-century example, see, e.g., Paracelsus).

The current volume aims at initiating this new process of developing future-oriented synergies, as the two initial articles by Albrecht Classen and Piotr Bołtuć outline, each from a different perspective, and yet intriguingly sharing some central interests. After all, true research means the ever-growing exploration of new ideas, new concepts, new materials, and new comprehensions of what holds this world together, and what makes life worth living. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe expressed this already, in a somewhat clairvoyant manner: “Dass ich erkenne, was die Welt / Im Innersten zusammenhält” (Faust I, monologue). If we can use, for instance, a new mathematical formula to understand Rilke’s poems better, and if we can draw from Shakespeare’s plays to figure out mathematical problems, all sides will profit from each other.

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Classen
Prof. Dr. Peter Boltuc
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Transhumanities as the Pinnacle and a Bridge
Humanities 2022, 11(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11010027 - 14 Feb 2022
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Abstract
Transhumanities are designed as a multidisciplinary approach that transcends the limitations not only of specific disciplines, but also of the human species; these are primarily humanities for advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI leading to AGI). The view that philosophy, ethics and related disciplines pertain [...] Read more.
Transhumanities are designed as a multidisciplinary approach that transcends the limitations not only of specific disciplines, but also of the human species; these are primarily humanities for advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI leading to AGI). The view that philosophy, ethics and related disciplines pertain to all rational beings, not solely to humans, is essential to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This approach turns out to be practical at the epoch of advanced AI. Many authors ponder how a kernel of ethical respect for human beings can be built into Artificial General Intelligence by the time it becomes a reality. I argue that the task requires, among other components, inculcating the core of the Humanities into advanced AI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
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Editorial
Transdisciplinarity—A Bold Way into the Academic Future, from a European Medievalist Perspective and or the Rediscovery of Philology?
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030096 - 10 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 827
Abstract
This essay examines the challenges and opportunities provided by transdisciplinarity from the point of view of medieval literature. This approach is situated within the universal framework of General Education or Liberal Arts, which in turn derives its essential inspiration from medieval and ancient [...] Read more.
This essay examines the challenges and opportunities provided by transdisciplinarity from the point of view of medieval literature. This approach is situated within the universal framework of General Education or Liberal Arts, which in turn derives its essential inspiration from medieval and ancient learning. On the one hand, the various recent efforts to work transdisciplinarily are outlined and discussed; on the other, a selection of medieval narratives and one modern German novel plus one eighteenth-century ode are examined to illustrate how a transdisciplinary approach could work productively in order to innovate the principles of the modern university or all academic learning, putting the necessary tools of twenty-first century epistemology into the hands of the new generation. The specific angle pursued here consists of drawing from the world of medieval philosophy and literature as a new launching pad for future endeavors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)

Research

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Article
Authoritarian Politics and Conspiracy Fictions: The Case of QAnon
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030061 - 16 May 2022
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Abstract
The hypothesis of this article is that, for its adherents, QAnon is truthful, rather than true; that is, it captures their perception of the way things typically happen, rather than picturing what really has happened—and it does this in a way that seems [...] Read more.
The hypothesis of this article is that, for its adherents, QAnon is truthful, rather than true; that is, it captures their perception of the way things typically happen, rather than picturing what really has happened—and it does this in a way that seems more vivid and complete than actual experience. Why that is the case can be explained in terms of the peculiar nature of fictional representations, combined with the capacity of imaginary worlds, to symbolize real-world concerns in ways that resonate with prejudices and preconceptions but escape direct censure. After reviewing the literature on the conspiracy movement, we argue for QAnon as a conspiracy story, rather than a conspiracy theory, and interpret that story as “structured like a fantasy”, giving imaginative expression to a set of social feelings and normative grievances that would otherwise not dare speak their own names. We conclude that QAnon is an authoritarian fiction centered on anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs that disturbingly reprise key themes of fascism, but that it presents this within the symbolic disguise of a fantasy scenario that is calculated to attract alienated white, middle-class and working-class, individuals. This argument helps explicate adherents’ resistance to the falsification of Q claims and predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
Article
Buddhism and Humanities Education Reform in American Universities
Humanities 2022, 11(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11020046 - 24 Mar 2022
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Abstract
Using statistical data, scholarly research, institutional models from higher education, and highlighting key personages from the academy and the business world, we argue that including Buddhism-related content into the general education of students can offer a powerful avenue of reform for the humanities [...] Read more.
Using statistical data, scholarly research, institutional models from higher education, and highlighting key personages from the academy and the business world, we argue that including Buddhism-related content into the general education of students can offer a powerful avenue of reform for the humanities in American universities. The article shows how humanities-based skills are becoming more desirable in today’s business environment, and demonstrates how the skills that Buddhist Studies—and religion more broadly—provide are consistent with those needed in today’s global and integrated technological world. Utilizing the Universities of Harvard and Arizona to help frame the discussion, the paper outlines the history of the American general education system, the ongoing crisis in the humanities, how Buddhism fits within the humanities viz. religion, and specific ways to implement Buddhism-related content into the academy domestically and internationally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
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Article
Auditory Resonance: A Transdisciplinary Concept?
Humanities 2022, 11(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11010006 - 27 Dec 2021
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Abstract
Focusing on the influential work of the German sociologist Hartmut Rosa, as well as on selected positions in sound studies, this essay explores some aspects of auditory resonance, an over-determined concept exemplified by music that no single conceptual framework can exhaustively explain. For [...] Read more.
Focusing on the influential work of the German sociologist Hartmut Rosa, as well as on selected positions in sound studies, this essay explores some aspects of auditory resonance, an over-determined concept exemplified by music that no single conceptual framework can exhaustively explain. For this reason, transdisciplinary research is especially productive in exploring the wide range of auditory resonance if it does not adhere to a seemingly all-inclusive theoretical self-definition but starts from an actual, singular experience. This subjective, even personal response to auditory resonance opens up various intersecting, supplementary, and often competing paradigms of critical analysis that interrogate any hegemonic claims to perspectives and insights potentially implied in single-disciplinary methodologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
Article
Fictional Narratives as a Laboratory for the Social Cognition of Behavioral Change: My Ajussi
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040120 - 15 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Fictional narratives cannot be considered as mere escapist entertainment, and have a significant social cognition potential. Their study is also important in understanding the mechanisms of behavioral change, as many fictions focus on processes of personal transformation of the main characters. Romantic fictions [...] Read more.
Fictional narratives cannot be considered as mere escapist entertainment, and have a significant social cognition potential. Their study is also important in understanding the mechanisms of behavioral change, as many fictions focus on processes of personal transformation of the main characters. Romantic fictions are of special interest in this regard, as the formation of a new couple entails negotiation and mutual adaptation between partners, with possible transformation of personal attitudes, value orientations, and behaviors: ‘marrying’ a new idea or cause is, tellingly, the strongest possible metaphorical statement of adoption. Korean TV series (K-dramas) are a particularly interesting source of case studies in this regard due to the specific characteristics of their production system. We analyze a K-drama, My Ajussi, where the lead characters go through a complex process of personal change, through the lens of the so-called Tie-Up Theory, which has proven useful in the analysis and interpretation of fictional representations of human mating processes, and show how the context provided by the potential formation of the couple between the two main characters provides us with valuable insights about human behavioral change and for policy design strategies to tackle societal challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
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