This paper argues for an Integral approach to science, which consists of interior, exterior, individual, and collective dimensions, all of which must be included in the various knowledge quests of science. A basic methodology consisting of injunction, apprehension, and communal consensus is elaborated to help create a broad umbrella for distinguishing valid scientific endeavors. Distinctions are drawn between contemporary science and Integral Science, with the conclusion that an Integral approach allows for a greater opportunity for transdisciplinary learning and cohesiveness in the overall scientific endeavor.
What Is Integral Science?
Integral Science is a member of a family of learning disciplines whose collective aim is to be broadly inclusive, comprehensive, and vital—all that the word Integral implies. With Integral Science, the particular focus is on the scientific disciplines, ranging in scope from the physical sciences to the social sciences and even into the contemplative sciences (e.g., various meditative endeavors). Integral Science attempts to honor and incorporate the best methodologies and theories of science and integrate them into a generally inclusive framework.
How we actually define science will come to bear on what we decide to include in an Integral Science, and we will return to this point later. But however we define science, the core premise of an Integral Science is that every scientific discipline has some partial yet important truth to tell us, and to exclude the stories that emerge from any given discipline will create unfortunate gaps in our overall understanding.
To that end, one of the key functions of Integral Science is to organize the various scientific disciplines relative to each other in such a way that we can honor their respective, stunning achievements in their areas of inquiry without over-exaggerating their importance. Integral Science also brings attention to areas of scientific inquiry mistakenly considered invalid andmakes space for new fields of inquiry as the need arises.
As a means of executing those tasks, Integral Science actively encourages cross-collaboration between the various disciplines of science as a means to better understand and mutually enrich each other. At its best, Integral Science is a well-integrated, transformative practice of the sundry methods of science.
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About Kurt Koller
KURT KOLLER lives with his wife and three children in Bothell, Washington and works at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington.