Trimodernism and Social Sciences: A Note

By Snell, Joel C. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Trimodernism and Social Sciences: A Note


Snell, Joel C., Journal of Instructional Psychology


The issues of premodern, modern, and postmodern can often confuse the social scientists because so much is drawn from modernism as the foundation of the social methodologies. Briefly, the author would like to differentiate the three modernism philosophies and indicate how a coalition of the three may apply to social sciences.

Discussion

Premodernism

In western societies, an anthropomorphic god creates humans and orders society. The basic source of information is revelation. Humans are not rational. Angels and/or Demonic creatures guide people. The church is the major source of authority. History is cyclic. There is a reason for everything. Premodernism is the dominant thought of most of the world's population. Today, most are nondemocracies, but democracies have large populations among fundamentalists of many world religions. At the time of this writing, fundamentalism is a strong viable force in American politics. (www.4truth.net)

Modernism

Around 1650, critics of the social order looked to natural phenomena to explain human behavior. Reason, ethics, and empiricism prevailed. Humans are rational and can make choices. History is an ongoing march toward progress. God is viewed by theologians by "higher criticism." Holy books are viewed in terms of information, revelation, and metaphor. Nontheisim is also introduced. Modernism is still alive, but its descent began in the 1950's. Modernism is still the core of western thought and prevails in corporate, scientific, and academic areas.

Postmodernism

After some of the most modern educated nations turned to Stalinism and Nazism. a reassessment of humans emerged. Humans are other than-rational. Information comes from multiple sources. Theisms and Non-Theisms of many varieties are honored. Overly rational, predictive thought can be flawed by chaotic butterflies, late modern black swans, modern multicollinearity. We create metanarratives to describe societies.

Hybrid philosophies that even contain conundrums and contradictions are tolerated. Arbitrary numbering systems are questioned. Capitalism appears to fit the best with various societies. However, although all have market economies, some are socialist, theocractic, or military oriented capitalisms. Thus neo-socialists are really capitalists. History is not necessarily progress, but change. We can use partial deconstruction to evaluate social constructions of reality. We can endorse some facets of premodernism. Lyon (1999) notes," my own sympathies lie in a complex interaction between the

Premodern, Modern, and Postmodern.) Religion is non-literal and personal, combining pre-modern , modern and post modern. The holy texts are ancient, but the interpretation is contemporary. It is critical theology. Or, it is closure in a chaotic world. The awesomeness of the material and spiritual world is rediscovered. (Rasor, 2003)

Trimodernism and the Social Sciences

The author suggests that the three can be useful in the social methodologies or social sciences. If you will, here are the ways:

Triangulation. Using numerous research strategies that are quantitative (experimental & cross sectional) and qualitatative (participant observation & case study) we can embrace all three philosophies.

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