4.5 A Cure for the Health Systems: transdisciplinarity in the modelling to improve health activities
This session is about what systems sciences and cybernetics can offer to the creation of the knowledge required to address the complexity of life problems, with specific reference to health.
Following a vertical pathway, constrained by the disciplinary divide, scientific knowledge seems to still fail in contributing to solve real problems that now call for urgent answers.
In this context, the need for transdisciplinarity is ever more widely recognized, and directs towards the development and use of horizontal (boundary-crossing) knowledge capable of supporting the understanding and solving of complex problems.
To develop and apply such transdisciplinary knowledge, however, relevant requirements must be addressed (Hadorn et al., 2007: 19):
1. To grasp the complexity of the problems;
2. To take into account the diversity of scientific and societal views of the problems;
3. To link abstract and case specific knowledge;
4. To constitute knowledge with a focus on problem-solving for what is perceived to be the common good.
“Good Health and Well-Being”: the third one of the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) that all Nations are called to achieve by 2030:
- is not only an individual but an ever more ‘common good’;
- is a complex problem to address both at individual and at collective level;
- requires effective integration of abstract and case specific knowledge;
- suffers from the diversity of scientific and societal views of the problems.
Each of these requirements would have answers in Systems Sciences and Cybernetics, whose main contribution can be the methodological and practical support to a transdisciplinary use of knowledge in the modelling of improved health activities.
Hence, systems thinkers and cyberneticians are called to provide these answers, especially focusing on the integrated use of natural and social sciences. By leveraging the power of systems and cybernetic thinking in identifying and framing the invariances underpinning life-related disciplines, new areas of knowledge can be created that build upon a common and unitary view of life and lead to promote prevention as the best cure for an effective, efficient, and sustainable health system.