Toward A Justified Relativism
Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1989, Vol 34(8), 731-732. Reviews the book, Meaning and Method in the Social Sciences: A Case for Methodological Pluralism by Paul A. Roth (1987). This volume takes as its starting point what many consider the critical question now facing the social sciences: Given the collapse of positivist-empiricist foundations of scientific rationality, how are we now to proceed? "Although the philosophical community concurs in the rejection of positivism," begins Roth, "there has arisen no corresponding consensus concerning the replacement of that conception". So central has positivism been to the justification of mainstream psychological science, the problem is one that no serious professional can fail to address. The central contention of the present volume is that there can be no univocal or transcendent rationale of procedure for the sciences. A single successor to positivism is prohibited on logical grounds and is also undesirable in terms of its curtailments of liberty.
Kenneth J. Gergen.
"Toward A Justified Relativism".