TRUTH - Social Construction of Reality

REALITY - Postmodernism, Multiculturalism rejects both concepts


1. Contextualist View - pp. 110-111

2. Linguistic communication - p. 110

3. Constructivist View - p. 111


Theory of Reality, Non Reality, Unreality

External Reality - Intersubjective (only within paradigmatic assumption); actual subject to change from time to time (Kuhn, 1970).


All postmodernists deny any view of reality that assumes the independence of individual mental presence and intersubjective communication


Even if Reality exists, it is the consequence of, rather than the cause of scientific activity. “It must be clear that it is our business not to supply reality but to invent illusion to the conceivable which cannot be presented.” (Lyotard, 1984).


Baudrillard argues that there is “no real world.” Disneyland is authentic because it does not purport to be Real, everything outside Disneyland, what is reputed to be real is exclusively images.


Signs do not represent Reality; rather they create Reality.


Dismiss the Reality between mental states and the outside world as pure illusion. Reality exists only in the mental makeup of person. The physical world is a dream. When one wakes up, one realizes that the Dreamer is the “cause” of the events and the relationships.


The out of consciousness collective universal mind is the creator of the world of the individual mind experiences. We live in a Reality dream. No reality but the perceiver!


Humans are co-creators of the universe and contextual theory (deconstructionists deny the role of context in interpretation) The source is Ethnomethodologist inspired this view, eg. Stanley Fish (1989) - all knowledge claims truth, validity are intelligible and debatable only within their context, paradigm or community.


Reality is the result of the Social Processes accepted as normal (conviction, consensus, commitment) in a specific context. (If no context in interpretation, results are absolutely in determinacy. Context is irrelevant of audience, analysis, authority; reader/ listener with scripture in God’s Word.


Affirmative - postmoderns prefer contextual and constructive versions of Reality - consistent with their Epistemology, i.e., disagree with strict Linguistic Relativism. Why? Social Science must be more than Social Habit if it justifies concern for the category of study, e.g., Philosophical Idealist provisional/emotion; Relative/Subjective rather than objective; only the brutal violence--terror, degradation prevalent in modern society.


Poverty - Starvation, Aids, Drugs, Gang Warfare - only if one’s daily life “daily lived” reality, is not harsh and unpleasant could one conceive of Reality as entirely a mental construction.

Postmodern intertextuality is postmodern substitute for modern social sciences Causal Explanation If Causality and Prediction are essential to explanation, then Postmodernism is an intellectual failure. All things studied are related to everything else, i.e., Pantheistic, Idealistic Monism is the result.


Relativism vs. Objectivity: Role of Values and The Normative Inquiry

They consider all values more or less equal. Thus no special privilege can be attributed to any particular point of view. Plurality of legitimate value systems does not necessarily imply Ethical Relativism. How can the preferable be selected from Pluralism of Values?


Modern Social Science strives for Objectivity and shows relativism; Postmoderns are anti- objectivism and relativism


Questions of Critique: Relativism/Value Equivalency? Anything goes - Everything is equal in the market place of ideas/dialogue.


1. Defending moral neutrality is impossible to privatize or compare notes to make choices between alternatives.


2. Incapable of providing grounds for their normative judgments which can serve as a basis for discourse with those who do not already share their orientation.


3. No basis for response to “ruthless pursuit” of power and wealth - control, domination, destruction. Method replaced any strategies and struggles; search for approximate methodology.


4. Impossibility of choice between bipolar oppositions - good/bad - seems absurd


5. Postmoderns reject Qualitative and Quantitative methods Research requires action and participant observation because it assumes agency. If there are no standards there can be no charge of arbitrariness!


James D. Strauss