functional positivism?
Tue, 10 Oct 1995 16:33:57 -0500 (CDT)

Dear Seekers of Useful Constructions:

The john -> Devi -> Tim discussion prompts me to ask a naive question: Would
PCP not assert that for some individuals, the tenets of positivism are
functional for _them_ in making meaning of _their_ world? I'll stop short of
saying that some of my best friends are positivists, but I've run across some
through the years who seem to be fairly decent folks. Of course, they consider
me terribly misguided, but I can accept their constructions which preclude
mine. As Charles Taylor says, a theory is like a map, and we should judge its
merits by how well it helps us get around. (Of course, he also says that
positivism can't account for itself.) If positivism helps some folks get
around, it's not a threat to us because we have some means of coming to terms
with both positions, and ours doesn't require a quest for ultimate reality,
truth, whatever.

A couple of years ago, I did a little conference poster session about the
researcher constructs implicit in 14 post-modern methodologies. One fellow who
stopped by advised me to tread lightly on this subject because of the number of
academics whose "whole professional identities" reside in the truth value of
quasi-experimental ANOVA studies. I'd not addressed this sort, but apparently,
he was concerned about a grad student opening a can of worms that could lead to
examining methodology in terms of core constructs of future search committee

Suzanne Huffman