Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Contemporary Cognitive Science: The Transdisciplinary Approach and the Problem of Consciousness

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Contemporary Cognitive Science: The Transdisciplinary Approach and the Problem of Consciousness

Article excerpt

The problem of consciousness is gradually acquiring special significance within the list of problems still waiting to be resolved. Interest in the subject and problem field, rather vague outlines of which are being objectivized by the psychology of consciousness, is today becoming increasingly prominent. This process has it own foundations. Research on consciousness is becoming a priority because it turns out to be at the core of the problem of contemporary cognitive science. This problem can be defined through the triad "thinking-consciousness-brain."

By understanding the genesis of cognitive science as an interdisciplinary discourse, one can reach the conclusion that this discourse itself is inspired by processes occurring at much more global levels than are the processes occurring in particular sciences or interdisciplinary scientific fields. Sustained attention to the problem of consciousness is caused by the entry of modern civilization into a new technological setup that brings to the forefront the anthropological basis of technological transformations that make high demands on human psyche and consciousness.

Thus, one can agree with Chernigovskaya that "we should lay our hopes not on even more complex abilities of technologies to resolve problems, but on methodological and even philosophical breakthroughs that must lead to a new multidisciplinary scientific paradigm" (2010, p. 15). At the same time it is important to define the notion of multidisciplinarity. If we understand multidisciplinarity as being close to similar concepts, such as pluridisciplinarity or interdisciplinarity, then we can understand transdisciplinarity as a principle of the organization of scientific knowledge that opens up a lot of opportunities for the interaction of many disciplines in solving complex problems of nature and society.

Given this understanding of transdisciplinarity, cognitive science is not a monodiscipline but a scientific community that includes representatives of different sciences who are able to understand each other and who are aware of their contributions to the solution of the global problem that the community has gathered to solve. This novel organization of the field of cognition has been aided by cognitive science. Until now science has been a well-structured corpus of scientific monodisciplines, perhaps even "split" into two camps: the natural-scientific and the humanitarian. Psychology occupies a strategically important place between these two blocks, although until now it has seemed that this forced "bilingualism" is the basis for the "permanent crisis" of not allowing the science to determine itself which camp it should affiliate itself with. Jean Piaget claimed already in 1970 that after the stage of interdisciplinary research "one should expect a higher stage- transdisciplinary-which will not be restricted to the system [of having] clear borders between the disciplines" (Transdisciplinarnost', n.d.).

Within the stage of interdisciplinary research, which is far from being completed, some features and attributes of the new (transdisciplinary) stage have started to emerge. Prior to other scientific disciplines, psychology is worth to be specially mentioned. A good example of self-developing and self-organizing systems is the description of "personal meaning theory of thinking" suggested in 1960s-1980s by Tikhomirov (Tikhomirov, 1969; Tikhomirov, Klochko, 1980). Dynamics and hierarchies of personal meanings within affective cognitive structures have been thoroughly investigated since that: see the neighboring papers in the current issue of the journal.

This new perspective on how science can be organized in the near and distant future has declared itself in the form of the aforementioned contradictions. The transdisciplinary approach matures within the interdisciplinary discourse and an orientation toward the differentiation of scientific disciplines; their closed nature, which has been the condition for maintaining sovereignty, changes with an orientation toward openness. …

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