• Huijiong Wang
  • Shantong Li


Ever since their existence on earth, humans have struggled to recognize and study their natural and social environment, and themselves within it. It took a long historical period for philosophy, natural science, and social science to emerge as categories of studies. However, their respective pace of development accelerated in the West during the Renaissance Period (the 14th–17th centuries). The pattern of such inquiry and development was the emergence of multiple sub-disciplines within each category of study. For example, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, etc. became robust disciplines in natural science while economics, politics, sociology, and anthropology, etc. were disciplines under social science. In the 20th Century, there was a new trend of development in natural and social sciences which further divided each discipline vertically into specific fields of studies or integrated multiple disciplines horizontally into broader studies. The emergence of cultural anthropology, social psychology, social statistics, etc., illustrates the former while the emergence and development of interdisciplinary studies in a broader scope represents the latter. Systems science and systems engineering are perfect examples of interdisciplinary study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development Research Center of the State CouncilBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Development Strategy and Regional EconomyDevelopment Research Center of the State CouncilBeijingChina

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