Recently I went to a conference where a lot of different disciplines (mostly from empirical sciences) came together to discuss future research possibilities, and it was centered around one specific topic. The spirit of the conference was to enhance interdisciplinarity and cooperation in this area, which, I think, is a great idea. Yet to me it seemed that there was no real interdisciplinarity involved in the event. The people either talked only to their community (economists, engineers, decision analysts etc.), or although they talked in an interdisciplinary spirit, they mainained that what they were saying was their perspective, and each discipline keeps to have its own perspective.
Now I think that although we all have different perspectives, we still talk about the same problem, the same world. So different perspectives (with their own methodologies and results) should have an impact on what the others are saying and doing, right?
It happened that I was the only philosopher at this conference, so I tried to bring in the perspective from political philosophy, democratic theory and so on. Yet I had the impression that this did not really enter the debates, which, of course, could have been due to the lack of my presentation skills. But let's assume that this lack of presentation skills was not the only reason.
Now my questions to you, Cocooners, would be: How can and should philosophers make their voice heard in interdisciplinary talk? Is there anything special philosophers can contribute? Do we have special resources to deal with those issues? Do we have a special perspective, or is our perspective the combination of all perspectives? Does the talk of interdisciplinarity make sense, or is it just a nice word? What could it look like, if it made sense? And what is the best way to present the philosophical perspective in contexts as described above (and is it different for graduate students as compared to full professors)? Looking forward to your ideas!