Transdisciplinarity is defined as the process or approach employing one or more of three major discourses of 1) transcendence (disciplines characterized by broad scope such as sustainability), 2) problem solving (complex, wicked problems), or 3) transgression (post-normal science). It is this paradigm shift or vision beyond the narrow view of disciplinarity applied to a specific multidisciplinary phenomenon that is “transdisciplinary”.
Dr. Carpenter is an internationally recognized transdisciplinary practitioner, focusing on the merging of the physical sciences with the social sciences. Dr. Carpenter’s work provides an effective way to assert and communicate as a transmodern renaissance human is through a multi-cultural or multi-lingual scenario, becoming bilingual or multi-lingual endeavoring to communicate and work with researchers with different areas of expertise.
Many researchers only speak one disciplinary language. In an effort to become transdisciplinary, Dr. Carpenter’s work has engaged multiple theories (i.e., complexity, Decision Making Under Uncertaintly, Post-Normal Science) through multiple lenses (i.e., integralism and All Quadrant All Line (AQAL)).
This methodology has allowed for the merging of the quantitative language of the natural scientist with the language of the qualitative social scientist.
The era we have entered is not one in which technology will make everything easier, but rather a time of increased complexity that affects every field. . . . The future in science does not lie in increased specialization, but rather in the combining and cross fertilization of knowledge in various fields. . . . We are dealing with several fields of knowledge constantly intersecting with our own. . . . In the future, the great division will be between those who have trained themselves to handle these complexities and those who are overwhelmed by them.(Mastery, by Robert Greene, 2012, pp. 63–64)
Dr. Carpenter’s original research has given new insight into the field of transdisciplinary research. His groundbreaking work on carbon dioxide capture, transportation, utilization, and storage (CCUS) has resulted in a new, working definition of transdisciplinarity, applied to CCUS,
The transcendence beyond individual disciplinary paradigms, using a holistic analysis and approach to find the interconnections between and across multiple disciplines and overlapping fields, to address complex and wicked problems that have no clear consensus problem statement, thereby creating a kind of unique or sui generis discipline in itself, that includes all stakeholders and communicates in plain English.
This research better equips those involved in transdisciplinary research (regardless of the field) to deal with the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis—that of Modernity, Postmodernity, and Transmodernity—the disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity of large, modern, complex issues facing humans today.