Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘epistemology’

Re-viewing Self and Societal Development from a Postformal Perspective: An Artistic De-concealiation, Reconciliation and Trans-formation

Marc G. Lucas

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to attempt to do justice to the chosen topic, including regarding its design. In a conscious distinction from the more conventional, materialistic, rationalistic, and quantitative approaches that prevail today in the economic and social sciences, the focus of this study will first be placed on consideration of images, contextualising the way in which I perceive them (first person perspective). Thus the paper is structured along sequential instances of experience and concomitant reflection bringing together such different paradigmatic positions as artistic and scientific approaches to individual and collective developments within an integrated approach that includes and transcends conventional thought. Together with statements from several artists and their works of visual arts (second person perspective) and in a mutual exchange with third person approaches from current psychological, economic, and neuro-scientific debates this will create an integrated systemic image, which in particular allows a deeper look into the underlying overall developmental theme. Every section of the article will be introduced by two correspondent statements, one written from an artistic more introspective perspective and one from a philosophical or scientific position to point out the main tension experienced and discussed within the section. Main aim is to allow to arise cross-fertilization in the sense of a hermeneutic circle. This circle finds its dynamically-sustaining shape in the form of a Mobius strip. Philosophical contributions in particular from phenomenology and complexity theory complete the picture, thus creating a conscious draft, which is aware of its own subjectivity. Ultimately the simultaneous inclusion of artistic and creative skills carried out in this article, goes beyond individual paradigms of a formal logic inherent in existing theories of development toward a more inclusive and visionary logic of the art looked at/and artistic lens seen through.

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Strategy as Emergence: Reviewing the Practice Turn in Social, Organizational and Leadership Studies from an Integral Perspective

Elke Fein

Abstract: Practice perspectives are increasingly popular in many social sciences. Moreover, the practice turn (PT) has gained influence across various disciplines as a novel epistemological and research perspective. It claims to be able to better explain the workings of social action, among them leadership phenomena in organizations, due to a detailed look onto the micro level. Due to their focus and epistemology, they also claim to be able to better describe and analyze the complexity of social action than more traditional individualistic or institutional approaches. This paper therefore takes a closer look at some of the epistemological claims made by practice perspectives, based on integral epistemological concepts and tools. It proposes a selective discussion of the PT’s genuine epistemological value, as well as potential shortcomings, blind spots and limitations.

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Against Consilience: Outsider Scholarship and the Isthmus Theory of Knowledge Domains

Mike King

Abstract: The endless proliferation of human knowledge within sub-disciplines represents not so much a tree structure of knowledge from which we can stand back and admire some organic unity as the tentacles of an octopus dragging us down into anguished division. The anguish is genuine and has been expressed since the Enlightenment by many types of thinker. This paper argues however that the anguish does not in fact arise from the nature of human knowledge but from the mistaken belief in the possibility of its unification. The desire for the unitive has been erroneously transplanted from its proper context – the mystical – to the domain of knowledge, as the latter – particularly under the rubric of “science” – has become the only culturally legitimised stance towards the world. Conventional scholarship, while busy creating sub-branches and sub-sub-branches on which the leaves of new knowledge sprout with vigour and abandon, is powerless to avoid this feeling of anguish. It feels compromised in the thwarted longing for a lost sense unity. “Outsider scholarship” – of the type practiced by Koestler, Schumacher and Pirsig – is often preoccupied with just this question, but is free to propose various taxonomies of knowledge, often of an unfashionably hierarchical kind, that cut across conventional boundaries and which provide a basis for an uncompromised relationship with knowledge. This paper starts with a brief consideration of outsider scholarship, including its anachronistic characteristics, and then turns to Pirsig’s meditation on the technologies behind the word-processor, which lead to an “isthmus theory of knowledge domains.” It then considers Steven Jay Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria, and the hint from Ken Wilber about epistemological pluralism. These are then used to show why E. O. Wilson’s consilience is misguided: it represents the final triumph of logical positivism – a takeover bid for the humanities by the sciences – but couched in terms apparently irresistible to fashionable thought.

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Daring to Step into the Open: Moving Beyond Perspectives in Education and Life

Kaisa Puhakka

Abstract: Evolution in all spheres—cosmos, culture, and consciousness—is explored as a dynamic, creative process of shifting and settling, where shifting breaks out of existing structures and conceptual moorings and settling solidifies the movement of evolution into structures. Both are seen as essential aspects of the evolutionary process, but a bias for settling is noted among living creatures. For humans in particular, shifting arouses anxiety whereas settling promises security. The correction of this bias in the educational process to help realign human consciousness and culture with the rest of nature and cosmos is explored. Such a realignment may be necessary for meeting the unprecedented challenges of our world today, and an open, perspective-free inquiry can serve as a vehicle for it. But this inquiry calls for a new way of relating to the inherent uncertainty of shifting and to the anxiety this arouses in teachers and students alike.

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Integral Intelligence: A 21st Century Necessity

Anne Adams

Abstract: This article explores the critical role education plays in the attitudes, behaviors, results produced, and ultimately our every day experiences of our world. Integral education is introduced as a catalyst for transformation, moving our emphasis in education from gathering knowledge to growing consciousness. Expanding awareness provides a paradigm shift from epistemology to ontology, which would fundamentally alter where our attention is focused, from having and doing to being—providing an opening to directly experience ourselves as the creators of our reality.

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A Case for Flexible Epistemology and Metamethodology in Religious Fundamentalism Research

Carter J. Haynes

Abstract: After reviewing a representative sample of current and historical research in religious fundamentalism, the author addresses the epistemological presuppositions supporting both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and argues for epistemological flexibility and metamethodology, both of which support and are supported by metatheoretical thinking. Habermas’ concept of the scientistic self-understanding of the sciences is used to point up the limitations of positivist epistemology, especially in the context of fundamentalism research. A metamethodological approach, supported by epistemological flexibility, makes dialogical engagement between researchers and those they research possible, and an example of how this would look in an actual research design is provided. The article concludes with a theoretical statement and graphic representation of a model for dialogical engagement between Western scholars and non-Western religious fundamentalists. Such engagement, the author argues, is necessary before any real progress on the “problem” of radicalized fundamentalism can be made.

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Advaita (Non-dualism) as Metatheory: A Constellation of Ontology, Epistemology, and Praxis

Latha Poonamallee

Abstract: Integrating contradictory and mutually exclusive positions is a challenge in building a metatheory. In this paper, I examine how advaita (non-dualism) philosophy is a metatheory. Based on a holistic, non-dualistic ontology, discovery based epistemology, and personal accountability-action-reflection oriented praxis, it provides a useful metatheory for embracing, learning from, and transcending the paradoxes of social life. I use the example of Gandhi as a practitioner of this approach to action and knowledge.

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A Multi-Party Imaginary Dialogue about Power and Cybernetics

Phillip Guddemi

Abstract: This paper is written as a multi-sided dialogue intended to present a number of ideas about power. Some of these ideas are my own, expressed in a kind of evolutionary idiom of adaptation though they were partly developed in reaction to Foucault (and are far more indebted to Foucault and cybernetics than to contemporary evolutionist thinking). There is a deep irony in that my way of thinking is primarily rooted in the cybernetic anthropology of Gregory Bateson; however, he was deeply skeptical of the concept of power. My personification of him in this dialogue, as “Bateson,” demonstrates this skepticism and brings into the discussion other relevant ideas of his. The third participant in the dialogue, Mary Midgley, is included because her consideration of Hobbes’ ideas leads us to consider yet another, probabilistic, way of thinking about power.

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Models, Metrics, and Measurement in Developmental Psychology

Zachary Stein and Katie Heikkinen

Abstract: Developmental psychology is currently used to measure psychological phenomena and by some, to re-design communities. While we generally support these uses, we are concerned about quality control standards guiding the production of usable knowledge in the discipline. In order to address these issues precisely, we provide an overview of the discipline’s various facets. We distinguish between developmental models and developmental metrics and relate each to different types of quality-control devices. In our view, models are either explanatory or descriptive, and their quality is evaluated in terms of specific types of disciplinary discourse. Metrics are either calibrated measures or soft measures, and their quality is evaluated in terms of specific psychometric parameters. Following a discussion on how developmentalists make metrics, and on a variety of metrics that have been made, we discuss the two key psychometric quality-control parameters, validity and reliability. This sets the stage for a limited and exploratory literature review concerning the quality of a set of existing metrics. We reveal a conspicuous lack of psychometric rigor on the part of some of the most popular developmental approaches and invite remedies for this situation.

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Modeling the demands of interdisciplinarity: Toward a framework for evaluating interdisciplinary endeavors

Zachary Stein

Abstract: I suggest there are two key factors that bear on the quality of interdisciplinary endeavors: the complexity of cognition and collaboration and the epistemological structure of interdisciplinary validity claims. The former suggests a hierarchical taxonomy of forms of inquiry involving more than one discipline. Inspired by Jantsh (1972) and looking to Fischer’s (1980) levels of cognitive development, I outline the following forms: disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary. This hierarchical taxonomy based on complexity is then supplemented by an epistemological discussion concerned with validity. I look to a handful of philosophers to distil the general epistemological structure of knowledge claims implicating more than one discipline. This involves differentiating between levels-of-analysis issues and perspectival issues. When all is said and done, we end up with a “language of evaluation” applicable to interdisciplinarity endeavors. Ultimately, this suggests an ideal mode of interdisciplinary endeavoring roughly coterminous with Wilber’s (2006) Integral Methodological Pluralism.

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