Challenges and Strengths Dissertation or Thesis complete

Excerpt from Dissertation or Thesis complete :

Postmodernism and Post-Positivism

Challenges and Strengths

Post-positivism vs. postmodernism

Two of the dominant paradigms within the modern epistemological discourse are that of post-positivism and postmodernism. They are often used relatively loosely and postmodernism in particular is deployed in a very flexible manner, to denote a form of art based upon pastiche and humor with a kind of ironic, self-referential quality. The difficulty of defining postmodernism is due to the fact that the philosophy denies the idea of modern 'progress' or the ability to arrive at a secure definition of reality. Instead, "postmodernists deny both the possibility and the desirability of an integral postmodernist philosophy," and postmodern philosophers often seem to share little other than a sense of opposition to modernism (Nekrasas 2011). The idea that there are no truths, only subjective beliefs, might seem antithetical to the sciences, including the health sciences, and there are some postmodernists who deny the validity of the scientific method as a Western construct.

However, postmodern ideals are reflected in many philosophies of health that question the idea that notions of 'wellness' are universal. Ideas of what constitutes health can often vary based upon the individual's cultural context. The purpose of health treatments, how to value a human life, and what constitutes a worthy life are all based in cultural beliefs, rather than ideas that can be scientifically proven. These concepts must inform the treatment process. Additionally, many health practitioners are incorporating different methods of dealing with illness from disciplines that do not strictly adhere to the assumptions of Western care, including acupuncture, yoga, and other forms of traditional medicine.

Post-positivism, however, is often seen as more useful for scientific practitioner given its emphasis on rationality. Post-positivism stresses "realism, the correlation of assessing causative factors to that of consequences, and the implementation of an objective role of research" unlike postmodernism, which views objective reality as…

Sources Used in Document:


Hutton, Erica. (2009). An examination of post-positivism. Erica Hutton, PhDc.

Retrieved May 6, 2011 at

Nekrasas, Evaldas. (2011). Positivism, post-positivism, and postmodernism.

Retrieved May 6, 2011 at

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