Turning the world upside down

Caroline Humphrey

in Religion, spirituality and the social sciences

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420411
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303190 | DOI:
Turning the world upside down

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This chapter introduces a radical approach in examining the differences between world-views and their impact for research in the social sciences and practice in caring professions. The first section discusses four world-views — secular, spiritual, scientific, and religious — with reference to their philosophical premises. The scientific world-view inverts the secular world-view to such extent that scientists uncover deeper truths and realities of human beings and planet earth. The spiritual and religious world-view on the other hand involves an inversion of both secular and scientific world-views to such an extent that they invoke metaphysical truths and realities beyond human beings and earth. The rest of the chapter discusses how the contemporary co-existence of world-views generates issues and problems for researchers and practitioners. The social sciences were conceived from the womb of a secular and scientific world that stripped the meta-physical realm of any reality, but they are now inhibiting multicultural societies in an era of globalisation, where religion and spiritual world-views exist alongside secular and scientific world-views. However, to move forward and to gain fruitful results, the chapter concludes that a ‘journeying’ between life worlds and world-views is necessary as well as the deconstruction of antimonies between science and spirituality.

Keywords: world-views; social sciences; secular world-views; spiritual world-views; scientific world-views; religious world-views; spirituality

Chapter.  5521 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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