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< Back to question What are the best research philosophies in academia? Show more Show less

The term research philosophy refers to a system of beliefs and assumptions about the development of knowledge. In layman’s terms, a research philosophy is the choice a researcher makes on how to pursue his research, consciously or subconsciously. Scholars have identified five of the most prominent research philosophies in academia, however, choosing one is a matter of debate.

Postmodernism Show more Show less

Postmodernism is a subjectivist philosophy, that emphasizes the role of language and aims to give voice to alternative or deprecated views.
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Postmodernism is innovative

Postmodernism challenges mainstream theories and the powers that write them to bring about new conclusions.
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The Argument

Postmodernists focus on challenging social constructs. In their attempt to do away with mainstream theories and conclusions and by focusing on the less trodden path, the postmodernists can produce ground-breaking results. Postmodernists argue that nothing is objective and that our perception is always in the way of seeing the objective truth.[1] When it comes to humanities research, the postmodernists focus on the "fringe" that may bring to public attention voices and behaviors that have been previously marginalized or not given enough attention. By doing so, they allow for differing perspectives and ideas. Postmodernists emphasize the importance of power relations and attempt to deconstruct them.[2] By implementing postmodernist ideas into research, one can more easily find the biases and beliefs that could be impacting the information, history, or the author. It allows one to refocus and challenge what others point to as objective truth.

Counter arguments

Critics of postmodernism point to some of these premises as a weakness of this philosophy. If nothing is objective, then we are only left with subjective ideas. It leaves one in a sort of void, with no endpoint and no objective truth. Some see postmodernism as synonymous with nihilism, in that, life is meaningless. There is no point or logic behind life or history. Critics also say that if deconstruction is the point of postmodernism, then there is nothing to do but deconstruct, again leaving one without a conclusion or definitive answer. It becomes very cyclical: if there is nothing than subjective opinions in history and academia, what you produce is also subjective opinion and not “truth.”


Rejecting the premises

Further Reading



This page was last edited on Friday, 10 Jul 2020 at 22:00 UTC