Sato Tatsuya
「Theory of Knowledge Production for Trans-disciplinary; The Pursuit of Clinical Human Research 」

The project for “Development of Clinical Human Research”, undertaken by the Institute of Human Sciences at Ritsumeikan University to improve the Human Services Research Center, has several objectives and implications.
One of them is to increase the corporation in work between the research environment and the research itself. This may sound like a “slogan” that anyone could have come up with, but actual implementation is truly difficult. If we were to venture a reason why, it would be because there are few meta-academic methodologies. Shouldn’t there be the same demand for methodology involving the cooperation of labor as there are for all other forms of learning?
There is a theory that is beneficial in the cooperation between research and its environment, the Theory of Knowledge Production. It was proposed by a scientific sociologist, Gibbons (Gibbons, 1994), while Kobayashi (1996) and Sato (2001) introduced the Japanese version.
In the Theory of Knowledge Production, all academic activities are defined as “production of knowledge” without being divided into research and practice.
By substituting the words fundamentals and applications, we can categorize it into 2 modes, the first of which is investigator-initiated and discipline-based, while the second is problem focused and interdisciplinary.

Table 1: Two Modes in the Theory of Knowledge Production
Mode I: Investigator-initiated, discipline-based mode
Mode II: Problem-focused, interdisciplinary mode

Scholarship is a single society, and the knowledge and interest contained in academics are undeniably involved in promoting research. This constitutes Mode I. Nevertheless, in many cases, whenever social issues are addressed, people tend to pay less attention to them. Knowledge production activity, however, can occur out of interest(s) unrelated to one’s own discipline. This is exactly what constitutes Mode II. There may be some question as to whether or not this is simply a matter of rewording fundamentals and applications, but it is necessary to remove the concept of relative merits between the nuances of these words since they have been stuck in people’s minds.
Mode II is connected to trans-disciplinary. Some may say it is not necessary to use the term “trans-disciplinary” when the word “inter-disciplinary” already exists. However, one is very different from the other. “Inter-disciplinary” is anything that involves more than one “discipline”. An example would be a group of researchers from various disciplines each working consistently within the paradigm of his/her own respective discipline, then coming together at the end to share results. That is the degree of an illustration of inter-disciplinary involvement. On the other hand, trans-disciplinary is a form of involvement where various disciplines are combined to render a problem that needs to be solved and share the solution.
For a new field, like clinical human science and fields closely related to social issues that will be newly established by succeeding intellectual property in existing disciplines, it’s considered that one should become sensitive to methodologies like the Theory of Knowledge Production and the necessity to learn from its wisdom (prajna).
Such an argument may seem to be already in the history of scientific sociology, but that is what is more useful now to make new concepts like those of clinical human science and for pondering humanities, sociology, and social relations. The author(s) explained the Theory of Knowledge Production at the “Second Korean/Japanese Forum on Humanities and Sociology” and would like to point out that it was received favorably among the Korean humanities/sociology scholars.
Five at the Corner is provided in four languages; Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English. We would be happy if you receive the Theory of Knowledge Production as favorably as clinical human science.
Gibbons, Michael (Translated by Kobayashi, Shinichi). The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies, Maruzen Library, 1997
(Gibbons, M. et al., 1994. The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. SAGE Publication)
Written by Shinichi Kobayashi, Theory of Knowledge Production and De-systematization, Gendai Shiso 24(6) 254-264, 1996
Written by Tatsuya Sato, Theory of Knowledge Production: Its Significance and Expansion to the Field of Human Aid Science, Ritsumeikan Human Science Study, 2, 3-9, 2001