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ERIC Number: ED440903
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 44
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Poverty of Constructivism: A Comparison of Philosophies of Inquiry in the Social Sciences.
Morris, Bradley J.
The "paradigm dialogue" is an attempt to examine the philosophical positions of competing social science "ways of knowing" in the hope of establishing a dialogue among these different schools of thought. Three paradigms--postpositivism, critical theory, and constructivism--were examined in regard to their stances on three philosophical issues: ontology, epistemology, and methodology. Postpositivism has a critical realist ontology in which objects existed but could only be approximately known to scientists through experimental methods. Critical theory requires a realist ontology that is similar to positivistic certainty in which objects exist and exert their influence through a veil of understanding that is understood through hermeneutic/descriptive methods. Constructivism has a relativist ontology that collapses the distinction between knower and known and attempts to approximate local realities through a dialectical process. A comparison of these research paradigms, using K. R. Popper's (1994) world3 model, demonstrated serious problems for constructivists and critical theorists. Constructivists are forced to either abandon their relativist ontology due to its dependence on a world created by the mind, or become folded into postpositivism. Critical theorists are confronted with the notion of becoming the heirs of Comtian (1988) positivism through the reliance on certain knowledge revealed through science. Contains 11 tables, 1 figure, and 26 references. (Author/BT)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A