Naugle – Chapters 7 & 8

In chapter seven Naugle discusses the disciplinary history of “worldview” in the natural sciences through Michael Polanyi and Thomas Kuhn. Polanyi defended the significance of the human dimension in knowing truth without succumbing to subjectivism. Humans’ critical personal knowledge, according to Polanyi, possesses an important “tacit” dimension. By accepting ones inescapable worldview-lense and understanding its limitations, humans can step toward truth in humility and community. Polanyi offers that while knowing is limited, truth is not. Kuhn argued that paradigm worldviews influence science in such a way that scientists act irrationally, “runn[ing] from one paradigm to another for reasons that have no real connection with finding objective truths.” Science is practiced, observed, analyzed, applied, and accepted based on the reigning paradigm, or worldview. It asks no new questions and finds no new results. Significant anomalies force science beyond the reigning worldview producing scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts, yet these revolutions bring adherents no closer to truth than previous paradigms.

In chapter eight Naugle discusses the disciplinary history of “worldview” in the social sciences of psychology, sociology and anthropology. These sciences are distinct from natural sciences in that intellectual models are not only influential in producing science, but are the object of science itself. Naugle names Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as the two most notable psychoanalysts in the twentieth century. Freud posed science to be humanity’s best hope for an all-encompassing, true worldview entailing “a metaphysical naturalism, a scientific empiricism or positivism, and a distinctively psychoanalytic anthropology.” Jung accepted psychology’s foundation in worldview and drew attention to the importance of acknowledging the dynamics of worldview in all aspects of a therapeutic relationship.

In the field of sociology, Naugle expounds on the work of Karl Manheim, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Manheim sought to foster communication between worldviews and promote greater understanding and awareness across society by explaining the methodological principles for determining worldviews of specific eras.  He succeeded in pinpointing the very spirit of an age with scientific credibility. Berger and Luckmann sought to transform the sociology of knowledge from an elitist discipline (involving primarily thought) to an egalitarian discipline (involving daily experience). Marx and Engels took worldview to a new level by solidifying it into an ideology to be used as a weapon for social interest. Their goal was to free the working classes from their false consciousness forced upon them by the ruling class. As part of the Marxist-Leninist worldview, scientific dialectical materialism made up reality.

Finally, in the field of anthropology Naugle focuses on the contributions of Michael Kearney and Robert Redfield. Kearney called for the recognition of the ideological biases informing worldview theory itself in order to develop a liberating model of worldview sympathetic to Marxist dispositions. He sought to rescue worldview from idealism to historical materialism wrapped up in daily experience. Redfield developed a universal typology of the self, others (human and nonhuman), space and time, and life and death, in order to distinguish what is true across all worldviews. He argued civilized worldviews and societies to be a corruption of primitive societies, which were the unified, interdependent, and moral expression of life.

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