Chapter

Are Postmodernist Universities and Scholarship Undermining Modern Democracy?

Philip A. Sullivan

in Scientific Values and Civic Virtues

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195172256
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835546 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195172256.003.0012
 Are Postmodernist Universities and Scholarship Undermining Modern Democracy?

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This chapter argues that the encroachment of advocacy in certain disciplines has undermined their credibility, and that this trend is largely due to uncritical acceptance of relativist epistemologies such as social constructivism. Examples are cited from anthropology, educational theory, law, the sociology of science, and women’s studies. It is suggested that practices in the natural and historical sciences, as contrasted to the attributes of pseudoscience, provide guidelines for both university scholarship and the public debate essential to democracy.

Keywords: advocacy; scholarship; social constructivism; pseudoscience; public debate; democracy

Chapter.  9783 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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