Towards an Integral Meta-Studies
DOI link for Towards an Integral Meta-Studies
Towards an Integral Meta-Studies book
In the preface to a later edition of his The Origin of Species Charles Darwin (1872) lists 34 authors who published views on the gradual modifi cation of biological species before the appearance of the fi rst edition of his own famous work in 1859. Two of these authors, W. C. Wells and Patrick Matthew, described the process of natural selection in some detail several decades before Darwin and Wallace published their own celebrated theories. Darwin was not aware of many of these writings before publishing his own views but he was very much aware of the diversity of ideas on evolution that existed in such fi elds as animal husbandry, natural history and the geological sciences of his day. Although he does not indicate his reasons, I believe that Darwin provides this list to give some impression of the complexity involved in the emergence of new ideas. Darwin was a humble man and he wished to acknowledge that his ideas had many predecessors. Great breakthroughs in science are as much about familiarity with the climate of multiple contending ideas as they are about the sudden production of the individual work of genius. In this sense, all good theory is metatheoretical in origin. All theory of some value emerges through the contestation and combination of precursory ideas. The metatheorising I have described here is merely the formalisation of this implicit aspect of research. In drawing attention to the importance of metatheory, I hope that this fundamental aspect of doing science will be seen for what it is, be more openly acknowledged and be performed with greater methodological rigour.