MINA321 Interdisciplinarity and Expert Disagreement on Sustainability - English Option
Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .
Course responsible: Rani Lill Anjum
Teachers: Øystein Aas
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
Teaching language: EN
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
The course will be taught and evaluated in the January block.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2022-2023
Research for a sustainable future requires that we synchronise efforts from multiple fronts. Yet, it is hard to find a topic on sustainability that is free from scientific controversy, political conflicts, or tensions in values. Priorities must often be made between environmental, societal, economic and political concerns. What appears to be the most sustainable solution for someone, somewhere, here and now, might have negative consequences for other groups, areas, places or times. For complex problems such as the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and the transition to renewable energy, there are no simple solutions or answers. We depend on experts who are able to work together across disciplinary boundaries toward common solutions.
The students will analyse real cases of scientific controversies, expert disagreement and diverging value judgements related to sustainable solutions. The students will be given some conceptual and practical tools from philosophy of science to identify and reducing barriers for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, starting from an increased awareness of basic implicit assumptions (BIAS) in their own and other disciplinary traditions.
The teaching is based on daily lectures and discussion based seminars, and includes work on case analyses in interdisciplinary groups. Also the lectures are discussion based and are aimed at engaging the students in reflection about their own research traditions. There is time allocated for working on reflection questions in smaller groups in class. The students are trained in transparent argumentation, philosophical case analysis, and genuine interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. Emphasis is placed on recognising philosophical basic assumptions in disciplinary perspectives and tensions between research traditions concerning sustainability.
Some of the material is offered as flipped classrom, and all activities that require collaborations across study programs will be included in the schedule.
Supervision and peer mentoring are offered. The teachers will be available for support and discussion throughout the whole course and facilitate group work and case analyses.
All new topics will be presented in lectures, and some of the material will be given as flipped classroom. Further readings and background material about the various cases will be made available in Canvas.
The students must participate in at least 60 % of the teaching, and in all activities that are evaluated. Mandatory activities are valid for 2 years.
- Reflections notes on positions within philosophy of science (individual written delivery, 4 pages)
- Participation in ethics debate on sustainability and value judgements (group work, primarily oral presentation)
- Interdisciplinary case analysis of a scientific controversy over sustainability, presented in a final student conference (group work, digital format, peer mentoring)
All activities and deliveries happen within the semester. The student conference is arranged on the final day of the course. All evaluated parts must be passed to pass the course.
Reduction of credits:
The course overlaps 5 ECTS credits with MINA320.
Type of course:
The course runs during the whole block, 6 hours per day:
- Lectures with discussions: 2 hours per day
- Seminars, group work: 2 hours per day
- Individual work on reflection notes: 1 hour per day
- Flipped classroom: 1 hour per day
The external examiner approves the course contents and evaluates the contributions to the student conference as part of an expert team. Internal examiners evaluate the reflection notes and contributions to the ethics debate.
Examination details: Portfolio assessment: Passed / Not Passed