Transparency and Paradigms

Hemant Desai (
Sun, 19 May 1996 15:10:14 -0500 (CDT)

Recently, Wendy Crebbin wrote to Lois and others on the list:

> Dear Lois
> Your question -of how we might find a way to create a meaningful
> discourse without agonistics. and How do you put forward the other
> side without challenge and treating someone as an Other? are very
> thought provoking.
> I answer your questions with more questions
> Is it considered a modernism to want to stand somewhere, to take a
> position, in order to argue a case? Is it possible not to take a
> position?
> You see I acknowledge that I might need to hold onto some modernism if
> that is the only place where issues such as justice and freedom can
> be argued on a basis other than relativity. Wendy Crebbin

Dear Wendy, Lois, and others:

It seems to me that the emergence of the post-modernist enterprise found
their epistemological roots in relativism (see how this has led to a re-
discovery of Vico's work for example) because the positivist worldview
failed an entire generation of writers and researchers in accounting for
the legitimacy of existing social structures in basically a moral sense.

Interestingly, this happened at a time when the presumed objectivity of
positivistic thought was shaken by the empirical evidence of social injustice
(this was the era of cold and hot wars-Vietnam, civil rights struggles,
feminist writers, the resurgence of closet Marxists after Senator McCarthy's
inquisitions ended, and so forth, in the United States).

The constructs of justice and freedom were largely ideological creations
placed by a ruling elite as mythical avenues for conformity from the poor,
women, and ethnic minorities. The situation in many ways still remains so
at both organizational and societal levels worldwide.

In brief, to operationalize justice and freedom in the manner that have
been used to describe them by many western philosophers, considerable
barriers exist. These barriers can be seen as the constraints placed by
ingroups on individuals' developmental progress in terms of stereotypic
constructs about gender, intelligence, appearance, economic-value, etc.

More thoughts on this?

Hemant Desai