Title 5 – TOK Essay May 2017 KQ 4 : To what extent does a multidisciplinary approach reconcile disagreements within a discipline?



Since the past few decades , knowledge advancement has occurred through increasing specialisation. We have understood our world by creating disciplines and subdisciplines that have dedicated all the resources at their disposal to create experts in their respective fields. These experts , though highly specialised, over a period of time , acquire a kind of tunnel vision when it comes to a particular discipline.

Sometimes the experts, though from the same discipline, may be representing and/or working different institutions , businesses and associations. Naturally the disagreements , though with the same facts , shift into national or local policies, public health regulations, cultural and religious restrictions, predicted expansions of business profits, policy alliances, international interests and conflicts – making the disagreements more complex .


Regardless of all the success and understanding achieved in single disciplines, we do have a world of complex and interconnected systems that necessitate a multifaceted approach to cooperate and collaborate between disciplines to solve complex problems and understand complex events.

Taking for example, Language and Music have been subjects of keen investigation across a great diversity of fields – from neuroscience and psychology to ethnography and musicology .Yet the human abilities to make and appreciate music have been described as “amongst the most mysterious with which [we are] endowed” (Charles Darwin, 1872) and music itself as “the supreme mystery of the science of man” (Claude Levi-Strauss, 1970). It is evident that no single field of investigation can address the wide range of issues relevant to answering the question of music’s origins. The evidence from wide range of anthropological and human sciences, including palaeoanthropology, archaeology, neuroscience, primatology and developmental psychology, has been put together to understand the evolution of music and its relationship to other human capabilities and behaviours.