EGU General Assembly 2023
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Supradisciplinary approach: a (geo)ethical way of producing knowledge and guiding human actions in the XXI Century.

Eduardo Marone1,2, Martin Bohle2,3, and Rika Prieser4
Eduardo Marone et al.
  • 1Centre for Marine Studies, Federal University of Paraná (FUNPAR - CEM/UFPR), Pontal do Paraná, Brazil; (
  • 2International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG), Rome, Italy.
  • 3Ronin Institute, Montclair, NJ, USA;
  • 4Centre for Sustainability Transitions, Faculty of Economic & Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa;

Once upon a time, super-specialization and intra-disciplinary approaches were highly rated, although implying divisions of knowledge1. How to challenge such epistemic boundaries? The disciplinary methodology for creating knowledge is important, particularly when subject to solid quality control. However, it is often faulty when handling broad complex systems, such as Natural or Social ones, despite scholars building elaborated methodologies, such as multi-, inter, trans-, and cross-disciplinary practices2. They provided insights and knowledge generation, although showing limitations3,4,5 (epistemic, field domination, egos, etc.).

Geoethics, looking into appropriate behaviours and practices wherever human activities interact with the Earth system6, is an example of the above, which requires overcoming limitations of disciplinary approaches by aiming at supradisciplinary7: engaging with a subject matter across a range of discourses/fields without giving rise to an interdisciplinary hybrid or sui generis discipline.

Exploring what a supradisciplinary practice means, a networkn of scholars proposes a tactic to assemble fellows from the People Sciences and the Natural Sciences: (i) A respectful epistemic trespassing8 allows crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries, and applying proper supradisciplinary collaboration seems more ethical than other methodologies. (ii) Organizing the team under a rhizomatic structure9 does not allow any scientific field hierarchy, avoiding the dilemma of preferring transdisciplinary approaches versus interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary ones and vice versa. Epistemic trespassing is a powerful tool for creating new supradisciplinary knowledge, avoiding the usual hyper-protection (and egos) related to any disciplinary epistemic backyards. It must be considered that supradisciplinary collaboration depends strongly on the quality of the given scientific problem and the proper promotion of the needed epistemic metamorphosis, which seems a more ethical and efficient way of producing knowledge.


1 Klein, J. T., & Miller, R. C. (1983). The Dialectic and Rhetoric of Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary. Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies.

2 Van den Besselaar, P., & Heimeriks, G. (2001). Disciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary: Concepts and indicators. In ISSI (pp. 705-716).

3 Okamura, K. Interdisciplinarity revisited: evidence for research impact and dynamism. Palgrave Commun 5, 141 (2019).

4 Editorial. How to avoid glib interdisciplinarity. Nature 552, 148 (2017). DOI:

5 Kotter, R., Balsiger, P. W., Bailis, S., & Wentworth, J. (1999). Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity: a constant challenge to the sciences. Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies.

6 Peppoloni, S., Bilham, N., & Di Capua, G. (2019) Contemporary Geoethics Within the Geosciences. In: Exploring Geoethics. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 25–70

7 Balsiger, P. W. (2004). Supradisciplinary research practices: history, objectives and rationale. Futures, 36(4), 407-421.

8 Ballantyne, N. (2019). Epistemic trespassing. Mind, 128(510).

9 Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987) [1980]. A Thousand Plateaus. Translated by Massumi, Brian. University of Minnesota Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8166-1402-4.

n The Network: Alexandra Aragão, Alessia Rochira, Anamaria Richardson, Antony Milligan, Bruno Costelini, Carlos A.S. Batista, Carlos Murillo, Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, Claire A. Nelson, Cornelia E. Nauen, Eduardo Marone, Francesc Bellaubi, Jas Chambers, Javier Valladares, Luis Marone, Martin Bohle, Nic Bilham, Paul Hubley, Rika Preiser, Sharon Stein, Silvia Peppoloni, Vincent Blok, Will Steffen.

How to cite: Marone, E., Bohle, M., and Prieser, R.: Supradisciplinary approach: a (geo)ethical way of producing knowledge and guiding human actions in the XXI Century., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4066,, 2023.