the present proliferation of academic and non-academic disciplines is leading to
an exponential increase of knowledge which makes a global view of the human
only a form of intelligence capable of grasping the cosmic dimension of the
present conflicts is able to confront the complexity of our world and the
present challenge of the spiritual and material self-destruction of the human
life on earth is seriously threatened by the triumph of a techno-science that
obeys only the terrible logic of productivity for productivity's sake;
the present rupture between increasingly quantitative knowledge and increasingly
impoverished inner identity is leading to the rise of a new brand of
obscurantism with incalculable social and personal consequences;
an historically unprecedented growth of knowledge is increasing the inequality
between those who have and those who do not, thus engendering increasing
inequality within and between the different nations of our planet;
at the same time, hope is the counterpart of all the afore-mentioned challenges,
a hope that this extraordinary development of knowledge could eventually lead to
an evolution not unlike the development of primates into human beings;
in consideration of all the above, the participants of the First World Congress
of Transdisciplinarity (Convento da Arrábida, Portugal, November 2-7,
1994) have adopted the present Charter, which comprises the fundamental
principles of the community of transdisciplinary researchers, and constitutes a
personal moral commitment, without any legal or institutional constraint, on the
part of everyone who signs this Charter.
Any attempt to
reduce the human being by formally defining what a human being is and subjecting
the human being to reductive analyses within a framework of formal structures,
no matter what they are, is incompatible with the transdisciplinary vision.
of the existence of different levels of reality governed by different types of
logic is inherent in the transdisciplinary attitude. Any attempt to reduce
reality to a single level governed by a single form of logic does not lie within
the scope of transdisciplinarity.
complements disciplinary approaches. It occasions the emergence of new data and
new interactions from out of the encounter between disciplines. It offers us a
new vision of nature and reality. Transdisciplinarity does not strive for
mastery of several disciplines but aims to open all disciplines to that which
they share and to that which lies beyond them.
The keystone of
transdisciplinarity is the semantic and practical unification of the meanings
that traverse and lay beyond different disciplines. It presupposes
an open-minded rationality by re-examining the concepts of
"definition" and "objectivity." An excess of formalism,
rigidity of definitions and a claim to total objectivity, entailing the
exclusion of the subject, can only have a life-negating effect.
transdisciplinary vision is resolutely open insofar as it goes beyond the field
of the exact sciences and demands their dialogue and their reconciliation with
the humanities and the social sciences, as well as with art, literature, poetry
and spiritual experience.
with interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity is
multireferential and multidimensional. While taking account of the various
approaches to time and history, transdisciplinarity does not exclude a
constitutes neither a new religion, nor a new philosophy, nor a new metaphysics,
nor a science of sciences.
The dignity of
the human being is of both planetary and cosmic dimensions. The appearance of
human beings on Earth is one of the stages in the history of the Universe. The
recognition of the Earth as our home is one of the imperatives of
transdisciplinarity. Every human being is entitled to a nationality, but as an
inhabitant of the Earth is also a transnational being. The acknowledgement by
international law of this twofold belonging, to a nation and to the Earth, is
one of the goals of transdisciplinary research.
leads to an open attitude towards myths and religions, and also towards those
who respect them in a transdisciplinary spirit.
culture is privileged over any other culture. The transdisciplinary approach is
education cannot value abstraction over other forms of knowledge. It must teach
contextual, concrete and global approaches. Transdisciplinary education revalues
the role of intuition, imagination, sensibility and the body in the transmission
of a transdisciplinary economy is based on the postulate that the economy must
serve the human being and not the reverse.
transdisciplinary ethic rejects any attitude that refuses dialogue and
discussion, regardless of whether the origin of this attitude is ideological,
scientistic, religious, economic, political or philosophical. Shared knowledge
should lead to a shared understanding based on an absolute respect for
the collective and individual Otherness united by our common life on one and the
openness, and tolerance are the fundamental characteristics of the
transdisciplinary attitude and vision. Rigor in argument, taking into
account all existing data, is the best defense against possible distortions. Openness
involves an acceptance of the unknown, the unexpected and the unforeseeable. Tolerance
implies acknowledging the right to ideas and truths opposed to our own.
The present Charter
of Transdisciplinarity was adopted by the participants of the first World
Congress of Transdisciplinarity, with no claim to any authority other than that
of their own work and activity.
accordance with procedures to be agreed upon by transdisciplinary-minded persons
of all countries, this Charter is open to the signature of anyone who is
interested in promoting progressive national, international and transnational
measures to ensure the application of these Articles in everyday life.
da Arrábida, 6th November 1994
Lima de Freitas, Edgar Morin and Basarab Nicolescu
from the French by