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The Bow and the Lyre: Towards a Healthy Tension between Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity

Remmon E. Barbaza


While interdisciplinary work is something to be encouraged and supported, it can only thrive on the basis of strong disciplinarity. When carried out properly, interdiscipliarity does not diminish or undermine the individual disciplines, but in fact is made possible by vibrant individual disciplines. A healthy tension between disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity must then be sought, calling to mind the Heraclitean ideal of harmony that is produced through the proper tension, say as in the strings of musical instrument, as in Heraclitus’s well-known example of the bow and the lyre. Genuine interdisciplinary work does not constrict, but rather helps expand the individual disciplines through research and scholarship.


disciplinarity; interdisciplinarity; Heraclitus

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2020.03315