SECTION III: Part A: POSTMODERN SCIENCE
What is Postmodern Science? As a postmodern science, we want to move beyond the "modernist" knowledge paradigms of Newtonian, Cartesian, Mechanistic science approaches. These modernist paradigms seek to represent nature as a reflection in a "mirror." The knowledge that is "pre-given" and simply "reflected in a mirror" paradigm is being challenged by the new postmodern paradigm. In medical organizations, for example, doctors are being trained to be aware of postmodern knowledge:
"The postmodern experience of illness begins when ill people recognize that more is involved in their experiences than the medical story can tell." Frank (1995: 506).
For many modernists, "postmodern science" is an oxymoron" (Boje, 1999, Postmodern Science -press here). Yet, the term, postmodern science, can be found in the hard sciences, beginning in the early 1960s with Matson (1964) and continues in the 1970s with Ferre (1976) and the (1980s with Toulmin (1982a, b), Prigogine and Stengers (1984), and Griffith (1988a, b), and in the 1990s, with Sheldrake (1990), Oelschlaeger (1991), and Sassower (1995). The interested reader is referred to Best and Kellner (1997) who provide an extensive review of the interdisciplinary development of postmodern science. Many of the developments in postmodern science are centered around chaos and complexity theory (Bergquist, 1993; Cilliers, 1998; Letiche, 1999) and Bioethics (Best & Kellner, 1997). The postmodern contribution to such a theory is a look at the role of the self, otherwise as Hardy (1998) and Letiche (2000) argue, it is just another form of rationalist reductionism. Bohm (1988: 67-68) and Prigogine and Stengers (1984: 312) for example apply postmodern ethics to scientific attitude in order not to separate value and fact. The new postmodern science would recombine science and ethics.
If science is carried out with an amoral attitude, the world will ultimately respond to science in a destructive way. Postmodern science must therefore overcome the separation between truth and virtue, value and fact, ethics and practical necessity (Bohm, 1988: 67-68).
There is also a good deal of work in postmodern science that would turn away from "mechanistic, reductionist, na´ve realist, and deterministic" approaches of modern science by looking at entropy, chaos, complexity, and self-organization (Best & Kellner, 1997: 195). Boje, Gephart, and Thatchenkery (1996) are among many postmodernists to call for a postmodern approach to organization ecology. How do we unlearn bureaucratic narrative, in order to enter the postmodern story of organizations?
For More on Postmodern Science. (press here) To continue with a look at postmodern aesthetics (Part B), press (right) green arrow.