to be a Good Postmodernist
Postmodernism as a term has different meanings in different disciplines. It seems to have derived originally from the fields of art and architecture, in particular as a response to the functionalist approach to architecture of the early- and mid-Twentieth Century of creating practical structures that could tend to be more like buildings suited to lives of drudgery than homes or dwellings. I shall not be addressing these original issues or disciplines, however; I shall rather be addressing the epistemological and metaphysical, sometimes ethical, issues associated with the philosophical opinion that this term has come to represent.
Any philosophical position
or theory is difficult to focus in on, but postmodernism is particularly
difficult to pin down. This is
partially due to its emphases upon methods of collage, pastiche, and
multivalence perspectives. Postmodernism
is particularly difficult to define because most postmodernists will claim there
is no centralized definition of the term. Postmodernism
would have to be approached through multiple perspectives, not only because this
is the way to approach anything but also because there are multiple different
versions of postmodernism. Some
explanation would be in order.
Though there are many
influences on postmodernism, perhaps the best approach to it is through Kuhn.
In the early 1960's Kuhn performed the impossible by uniting the
philosophical community behind his assessment of science in his The Structure
of Scientific Revolutions.
Kuhn provides many examples leading up to his assessment, but a
particularly valuable one is the anomalous card experiment.
A deck of cards is prepared in which the color of some of the cards is
changed. For example, one of the
cards might be a red ace of clubs. A
subject is shown one card from the deck after another and is asked to identify
Even on the shortest exposures many subjects identified most of the cards, and after a small increase all the subjects identified them all. For the normal cards these identifications were usually correct, but the anomalous cards were almost always identified, without apparent hesitation or puzzlement, as normal. The black four of hearts might, for example, be identified as the four of either spades or hearts. Without any awareness of trouble, it was immediately fitted to one of the conceptual categories prepared by prior experience. One would not even like to say that the subjects had seen something different from what they identified. With a further increase of exposure to the anomalous cards, subjects did begin to hesitate and to display awareness of anomaly. Exposed, for example, to the red six of spades, some would say: That’s the six of spades, but there’s something wrong with it – the black has a red border. Further increase of exposure resulted in still more hesitation and confusion until finally, and sometimes quite suddenly, most subjects would produce the correct identification without hesitation. Moreover, after doing this with two or three of the anomalous cards, they would have little further difficulty with the others. A few subjects, however, were never able to make the requisite adjustment of their categories. Even at forty times the average exposure required to recognize normal cards for what they were, more than 10 percent of the anomalous cards were not correctly identified. And the subjects who then failed often experienced acute personal distress. One of them exclaimed: “I can’t make the suit out, whatever it is. It didn’t even look like a card that time. I don’t know what color it is now or whether it’s a spade or a heart. I’m not even sure now what a spade looks like. My God!
Kuhn suggests that
scientists operate in a similar fashion, in the following sense.
Kuhn postulates, and has
much evidence for, a view that science is performed in two primary stages.
A theory is advanced that receives acceptance by large or important
portions of the scientific community. It
becomes established and leads to a variety of research projects in keeping with
its tenets. That is, the theory
itself makes certain predictions and the predictions are investigated. An example would be the observational predictions on the part
of Newton's theory of gravity that objects attract one another in conformity
with an inverse-square law. The law
itself is simple enough and it is easy enough to observe the positions of the
planets. The difficulty is that the
law says not only that the earth is attracted to the sun, but the sun is
attracted to the earth; the earth is attracted to Saturn; Saturn is attracted to
Mars, and so forth - each object pulling the others out of their orbits.
This, at the time, was a mathematical nightmare that required a
considerable amount of time - about a hundred years - to resolve into a testable
model. At that time the astronomers
reported that the objects - the planets and the sun - were not in the positions
predicted. Particularly, the outer
known planets, Jupiter and Saturn, were drawn too far out of their orbits at
certain times. The options were
then, simply speaking, to throw the theory out as incorrect or to keep the
theory and account for how the theory had gone awry.
If the theory was correct, as astronomers believed it was, then there
should be some way to account for the unexplained perturbations.
There must be another object that had not yet been accounted for.
The astronomers worked out the mathematics of where the object had to be,
turned their telescopes to that position, and discovered the planet Neptune.
Neptune had been overlooked as a planet because it had been observed in
various places at various times as a new star.
Such investigations of predictions made by a theory Kuhn refers to as
"normal science". They
are much akin to puzzle solving.
Sometimes, however, certain
predictions of the theory do not hold true and what Kuhn refers to as
"anomalies" develop. Such
data are embarrassing for the holders of the theory and are simply ignored and
shunted aside until someone comes along who takes them seriously and uses them
to construct a new theory to which they are subsumed. This results in a new theory that is not in keeping with the
old one and is in competition with it. If
the new theory develops adherents, it may be that it becomes more accepted than
the old one and supercedes it. The
development and elaboration of such theories Kuhn refers to as “Revolutionary
Science”. If the new theory
becomes accepted, it then reverts to Normal Science as scientists begin basing
their research on the articulation of the predictions of the new theory.
Two paradigms are, states
Kuhn, incommensurable. As
interpreted by some, this means it would be impossible to apply a common
standard to assess them. If this claim is true, then there would be no standard by
means of which the competing theories of, say, phlogiston and oxidation could be
The primary question that
was posed as a result of Kuhn's work, however, was: Is objectivity possible?
As expressed by Kuhn:
But is sensory experience fixed and neutral?
Are theories simply man-made interpretations of given data?
The epistemological viewpoint that has most often guided Western
philosophy for three centuries dictates an immediate and unequivocal, Yes!
In the absence of a developed alternative, I find it impossible to
relinquish entirely that viewpoint. Yet
it no longer functions effectively, and the attempts to make it do so through
the introduction of a neutral language of observations now seems to me hopeless.
The problem in the anomalous
deck of cards experiment given above is not that the subject reports a red card
as a black card but the subject sees a red card as black.
“One would not even like to say that the subjects had seen something
different from what they identified.” The
distal stimulus is red; the proximal stimulus is black.
Put simply, theory affects perception.
If our very observations are governed, or even just affected, by our
background beliefs or "paradigms" - that is, if what we perceive is to
any extent a function of what we already hold true rather than a function of the
distal percept - then can we achieve any sort of certainty, or even just
reasonable results, in science or any other field?
Some people answer:
no, objectivity is not possible. Some
people answer: yes, objectivity is
possible. Postmodernists have
tended towards the former opinion. Particularly
in question is what is referred to as the Correspondence (or Mirror) Theory of
Truth. Originally attributed to
Aristotle, the theory claims that something (expressed in terms of words or
thoughts) is true just in case it correctly depicts, expresses, or corresponds
to the way the world actually is. But
if we may not access "the way the world actually is" because of our
previous intellectual commitments and beliefs, such a theory - so it is claimed
- gets tossed out the window as a project impossible even in principle.
Particularly this is held to be so because of precommitments of a
societal character. Our local
culture has such an enormous impact over our latent intellectual assumptions and
beliefs that these become invisible to us and are beyond our control.
They constitute a "paradigm"
or intellectual pre-judgment that intrinsically alters our very perception.
Just as scientists often see what their theories predict rather than what
is actually there (several new stars rather than a planet), so our cultural
background holds great influence over our own perceptions.
A very important example of this is the outlook on the part of Europeans
and North Americans who viewed the rest of the world as "uncivilized"
or importantly subhuman. A white
person from the old south looking at a black person saw something less
than human and was able to find any amount of substantiating evidence to
reinforce this view. This then led to European cultural imperialism and the
subjection of various peoples, including their destruction in some cases, all in
the name of progress, but actually out of cultural hubris and arrogance.
This Euro-centered, self-serving view is often referred to by
postmodernists, after Lyotard, as the Grand Narrative.
So what is the answer?
One of the things all this means is that the old "positivist"
view that science is but a distillation of observations is no longer tenable.
For "positivist" read "modern". So the answer, say postmodernists, must be some sort of
post-modern, post-positivist, or post-empiricist position.
The answer preferred by many
postmodernists is: pastiche.
We can't get out of our various cultural pre-commitments, but we can
perceive the same thing from various perspectives.
This will then help vitiate the negative effects of arrogance and hubris
inherent to growing up in any specific culture - particularly the Western one. For example, if we are able to perceive religion from various
different cultural perspectives - such as that of the Japanese, Tibetans,
Indonesians, and Liberians - then we shall have a much better perspective on
what religion is all about than if we adopt a simplistic Western perspective
that our religion is the best and only true one.
This will then have the salutary effect of lessoning the extent and
number of executions, mass-murders, pogroms, wars of a religious character, and
general over-all hatred in the world. That
is, such pastiche or multiple perspective approach will result in tolerance and
less of the problems associated with cultural arrogance.
There is an important
difficulty with this point of view, however.
Many postmodernists believe
relativism is the best answer to epistemological questions.
Relativism says that knowledge (and probably truth and ethics as well) is
relative (to something: the individual, the culture, the society, a group of
experts, privileged holders of power, etc.) and therefore (here's the important
part) objectivity does not exist. The
attractive aspect of this position is that it seems to lead to tolerance of a
diversity of opinions. All
positions are correct from some (relative) perspective.
There are just differing interpretations, and if we cannot objectively
judge - if all positions are incommensurable - then we should not attempt to.
There are many responses to
relativism, but the primary and foremost response was delivered by Plato over
2,000 years ago when he had Socrates ask Thrasymachus in the opening book to the
Republic: Can one be wrong? And
this is the approach I suggest to use with relativists.
When you hear someone say every position is just as good as any other
from its own perspective and is just a different interpretation, ask the
following question: "Can
anyone be wrong?" What you
will probably receive is a blank look, a puzzled expression, and then the
question, "What do you mean?" Say, "I mean: Can
anyone be wrong? Have you ever been
wrong? Have your parents ever been
wrong? Are your boss or children or
spouse ever wrong? Has our
President ever been wrong? Is it
possible in principle our President ever could be wrong?
Have men ever been wrong about women?
Have women ever been wrong about men?" Probably you will receive the question: "Wrong according to whom?" Pursue the point: "Wrong
according to you. It's your opinion
we're discussing. Can a person be
Be prepared for some
waffling. The person will, however,
either have to accept, in keeping with the claim that everyone is (relatively)
right, that it is impossible for anyone to be wrong - which was the person's
original claim - or the person will have to take back the claim that all
positions are right and admit that people can sometimes be wrong.
Although there are quite many people who would like to believe that
everyone is right - in their own way - there are actually very few people who
will believe that no one can ever be wrong.
The one position implies the other, however.
Some few people will actually admit that no one is, can, or could ever be
wrong. As peculiar as this sounds,
at least be satisfied that you are in the presence of an honest person - a
strange one, but an honest one. If this person happens to be your teacher or professor, you
should at least be able to get the person to agree to allow you to give yourself
your own final grade because: isn't
your opinion just as valid, just as good, and just as worthwhile an
interpretation as your teacher's? Or
does your teacher not really believe what your teacher is saying?
From my own experience, however, most people who claim to be
postmodernist will not have considered this implication to their belief and will
be caught quite flat-footed.
A variation of the
relativist position (and the discussion above) is the view on the part of many
postmodernists that knowledge (or even truth) is decided by well-positioned
"experts". Using the
question just posed, such opinion implies that the Qualified Qualifiers were
correct when they delivered the verdict that Galileo was wrong and guilty of
heresy when he taught that the earth orbits the sun. This is the old view (again
on the part of Thrasymachus) that passage of a law (or societal acceptance)
decides what is just or what is good. In
postmodernist parlance: “the winners write the history books”.
But the same traditional response (again on the part of Socrates)
applies, however, that there would then never be an unjust law.
That is, if the laws are identical to justice, then the laws will always
be just by definition alone and could never be, even in principle, unjust.
Law = Just Law ≠ Just
A modern twist to this
response, as pointed out by many observers, is that any social reformer would
not only be performing illegal acts but unjust and unethical ones as well.
As above, if you can convince yourself that there never is, or could be,
an unjust law you may join the small group of honest but strange persons
referred to previously. Most people, however, will find themselves unable to accept
the position that no one can ever be wrong for some rather obvious reasons.
Any discipline involves a
regional ontology. Our knowledge is
therefore context-dependent and what we perceive is dependent upon what we
already hold true. There are occasions in which differing perspectives may be
equally valid, though different. The
dispute between particle and wave theories of light at the early part of the
Twentieth-Century is a classic example. Each
side perceived the world according to a different perspective and, in accordance
with a different paradigm, cited different evidence - or even the same evidence
- in defense of its theory. Though
entirely different, competing
theories may be equally true. Many such differences derive from the fact, however, that not
only are both accounts equally true, they are equally false as well and an
entirely different and new perspective is required.
Knowledge can only be
measured against a background of established social expectations and learned
communal practices; particularly, truth occurs within the context of language,
and languages vary. This is
not then to say, however, that truth does not or cannot exist. Knowledge is dependent upon differing perspectives, cultures,
languages, but this does not mean that opinions can’t be wrong.
It means that there are varying perspectives that may be considered
right, sometimes more or less right. That
knowledge is dependent on context, however, does not mean that just any old
thing will work; it instead means that there are rather specific expectations
before something will count as knowledge. Again,
that there are different possible answers that may be right does not therefore
mean there can be no answers that are wrong.
Not only are there multiple
perspectives and interpretations, however, there is an additional issue
difficult to approach and that I cannot speak of greatly here. A specific theory or belief might be true or false depending
on the frame or perspective taken. That
is, not only knowledge, but truth is context-dependent.
For example Galileo's theory of free-fall is true within a Galilean
perspective, but it is false within a Newtonian perspective.
This is because the Galilean perspective does not take into consideration
the miniscule attraction of the earth to the falling object.
The point is not that Galileo's law is approximately true but that that
it is in fact true - from the limited Galilean frame of reference.
The situation is not different in advanced physics.
We must choose a frame of reference to make any sense of the world.
The question is primarily one of exclusion. Intellectually we must always exclude data and experiences to
make sense of the world. The
primary function that our sensory array has been developed to do is not gather
information but filter or selectively exclude it.
A very important - and
sufficient - reason to be tolerant of differing perspectives, however, is that
it has happened often in the past - very often in fact - that the received
position has turned out to be simply wrong.
In addition, we need specifically to always be careful that our own
opinion might be a rationalized product of our own mind.
I shall have more to say about this.
The correct answer to the
question posed by Kuhn is not that objectivity is impossible but that it is
difficult. Some people see,
finally, the black card as red, and though some people don't it is still wrong
to call the red card black.
"But," a person
might respond, "What do you mean by 'reasonable'?
Whose reason? What reason?”
Step Two - Take Out the Trash: When You Find Yourself Addicted to an Unreasonable Opinion let it Go
Face it people:
there are no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
It's not a question of whose rationality, which standards, whether reason
is relative to cultures or individuals; there just ain't nearn.
Let us recognize that
activation of opiate receptors might be from an irrational source, and that it's
not guns that are the most dangerous weapons but ideas that are the most
When you find that your
theory predicts something and that thing does not come true, try reassessing
your theory. When you find that
your attempts at collectivization result in the starvation of millions of
people, let your dogma go. When
your opinion concerning eugenics finds yourself or your acquaintances performing
acts you feel to be abysmally unethical, let your opinion go. When you find yourself hunting witches or torturing people to
save their souls, try kicking back with some quality time to reassess your
opinion. When you find yourself
accusing a person of rape who has never raped anyone, and justifying it because
the person must be some sort of rapist anyway, give some thought to the
possibility you might be wrong. When
you find yourself running an airliner full of people into a large building
because you think, really really think, God wants you to, try for a moment to
release yourself from your ideological chains.
When you find yourself in agreement with your friends as they assure you
a country has weapons of mass destruction, publicly go to war for this reason,
and subsequently discover the country actually doesn't have such weapons, try
reassessing your beliefs.
Or, even better,
paraphrasing Galileo, try constructing your theory to fit the evidence rather
than constructing the evidence to fit your theory.
Not all beliefs,
interpretations, narratives, or stories are true. Throw out the ones that are not.
No, it's not true that any narrative is just as good as any other. No, it's not true that scientific hypotheses are just ungrounded stories, narratives, or myths that happen to be accepted by some conveniently positioned "experts". No, Hollywood doesn't produce reasonable biographies that are just true from a different perspective or interpretation. No, there is no such thing as phlogiston - nor, yet, any reasonable theory of cold fusion. No, you can't get all the nutrition you need from breathing air alone. There are some positions, narratives, or beliefs that simply aren't true. Do not attach yourself to them for misguided ideological reasons; throw them out.
No, there is no crises of
the substantiation or verification of science of which the scientists are
unaware. This is because the method
of questioning data analysis and scientific method posed by Kuhn and his
associates is itself based upon scientific method, as Kuhn’s deference to
Koyre shows. Instead of doing as
philosophers have done in the past, coming up with an a priori theory of
how science supposedly proceeds, he took the time to look at the history of
science to see how it in fact proceeded and provided the evidence so that others
could publicly and openly judge. This
is his warrant and this is the cause of the near-universality of his acceptance.
He used the empirical (not empiricist) method.
People who claim the old "positivist" view of science is wrong
are right but this doesn't mean then that science doesn't exist or has no
method. It simply means it never had the method advanced by the a
priori positivists. Yes, rigid
empiricism is wrong, but that doesn't mean that just anything goes.
Despite problems with philosophical explanations of how scientific method
works, science is still the only method we have for reassessing our opinions -
reasonable or otherwise - and correcting our pre-judgments.
Keep in mind that although our knowledge is context-dependent, one
paradigm is not always just as good as any other.
Paradigm changes do happen - sometimes for good reasons, because one
paradigm actually is better than another.
Science is not, as some
would have it, in a state of disarray. It continues on in the manner in which it
always has, using the methods and practical tools that it develops and to which
it has become accustomed. The only
real difference is that the lay community has come to recognize that science is
not certain - something that really should have come as no surprise considering
the inherently hypothetical nature of its discipline - and that scientists are
sometimes as susceptible to the pre-judgments and preconceived notions as are
ordinary people - something that also should have come as no surprise.
It is very difficult to
investigate things when the mind is not free.
Human beings receive conditioning within the social context of their
friends, relations, and culture. As
a hypothetical and purely heuristic example, the friends of our parents might
continually tell us that what we must do is spend more money and lower taxes and
we uncritically adopt that opinion as an ideological dogma.
As we have seen in the case of Kuhn’s deck of cards experiment,
conditioning has a remarkable control over the mind.
Prejudice enters into our very perception and reinforces our old opinions
even when our old opinions might otherwise be easily demonstrated as wrong.
We still see the red card as a black one and we cannot help but perceive
evidence for the opinions of our parents' friends everywhere. We need, however, to consider the possibility that our
conditioning itself might be wrong - not just wrong from a perspective, but
wrong. Sometimes there really are
right and wrong answers - though they may be difficult to recognize.
Real actions we perform have real consequences whether we wish to accept
those consequences or not. We
can't, ceteris paribus, lower taxes and spend more money, no matter what
our parents’ friends might have ever told us.
When our theory doesn't work we need to seriously reflect upon it and
consider changing it.
Most opinions are held
simply because most of the people with whom we associate hold them.
This is true to an extent in science as well, but there is a very
important difference between the opinions held by most people and the opinions
held by scientists. Scientists sometimes take a look around to try to see if
their opinions are correct. Most
people do not. Opinions in science
allow for the possibility they might be wrong.
Opinions held by most people do not.
They are, unfortunately, held as truth, absolute and eternal.
Opinions not held on
evidence that do not allow for the possibility of being wrong are compulsions.
They are, as Freud said, wishful thinking.
What postmodernists refer to as the Grand Narrative was an example of
wishful thinking - the West wanted to believe it was better than everybody else.
But the Grand Narrative is not breaking down into local narratives, as
some would have us believe. Human
beings being such as they are, the Grand Narrative will only be replaced by yet
another fad of hubris and arrogance - perhaps, in this case, postmodernism
itself. The moral to the story is
that truth can never be approached through dogma and that the difficulty is not
only in appreciating different accounts of the truth - something we need to do -
but also differentiating between opinions we hold that are in keeping with the
phenomena - the things themselves - and those that are not.
We must free our minds of preconceptions, and when postmodernism itself
becomes a series of preconceived notions supporting - in principle -
preconceived notions, it is time to let it go.
Allow me to explain.
There is a website you may
go to and it will write for you a postmodernist essay.
The essay is generated randomly and is entirely meaningless.
Here is the URL: http://www.elsewhere.org/cgi-bin/postmodern/.
According to this website, a physics professor has succeeded in getting
an entirely meaningless article manufactured in such a fashion published in a
professional journal. Unfortunately,
much of postmodern discourse is jargon and jargon developing around an opinion
should be considered a symptom of ossification.
When our words take on lives of their own and ride free from the
phenomena we may attain a natural high associated with hubris.
If this didn't result in our getting angry at other people about it, this
might not be such a bad thing. When
we feel a compulsion to use new-fangled figurative jargon or even, now,
old-fashioned figurative jargon in an attempt to express ideas in keeping with
the latest dogma or literary fashion, we have left authenticity behind.
We have turned away from what postmodernism originally tried to do.
This is what we mean by
deconstruction. We must challenge
the opinions received from authority. Just
because our society tells us something is true does not make it true.
Look at the evidence carefully. Try
to have an open mind. Continually
question, particularly your own opinion. Try
to view an opinion from the perspective of those that hold it.
If the opinion seems reasonable from that perspective and can possibly
fit the phenomenal evidence, even if one does not agree with it, keep it as a
provisional option. The primary
deciding factor, however, is that in view of the remarkable ability of the mind
to alter perception, if the opinion is not even supported by the proximal
stimulus – as in the case of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – give
serious consideration to dropping the opinion.
That is, if the opinion clearly and obviously isn't reasonable or can't
possibly fit the phenomenal evidence, junk it.
But don't keep a theory out of emotional fear, because it provides you
with psychological hubris, because other people tell you to, or because no
opinion can ever be wrong. When we
finally perceive that the card is not black but red, let us have the courage to
admit our mistake and change our minds. Conformism
applies not only to what a government might say or to propaganda or a political
agenda. Conformism is a very strong
component of the human psyche and results in various kinds of correctness,
political and otherwise. Deconstruction
requires, however, more than a litany of accepted and acceptable ideological
terms. To adopt the phrase from
Orwell, it takes an ability to face unpleasant facts.
In this sense, insofar as postmodernism has become an ideology,
postmodernism itself requires deconstruction.
For what it's worth, I shall
add my own bit of jargon to the vocabulary of the moment.
I refer to opinions held as compulsions in the face of countermanding
evidence as cynosures. The
term cynosure originally means magnetic center, but within the context I am
proposing a cynosure is an ideological dogma, and an important property of a
cynosure is that it is an illusion - it is not true.
Postmodernism has become a cynosure insofar as it states on the one hand
that any opinion is just as good as any other but on the other then accepts that
belief itself (that opinions are all equally as good) as warrant to get angry at
people who do not believe as postmodernists believe.
One questionable defense used by postmodernists is that postmodernism
can't be proven wrong because there is no one theory of postmodernism but many
different postmodernisms. Insofar
as postmodernism refuses, as a matter of principle, to admit of countermanding
evidence, it has become something we believe only because we repeat it to
ourselves to the point that it unduly affects our perception.
It has become a cynosure. That
is, it has succumbed to the same social pressures it had originally set itself
Postmodernism was originally
set against a propensity to see things in black and white, absolutist terms.
People who think in such terms were depicted as “modern”, but this
was an injustice. Modernists, postmodernists, and people who adhere to all
sorts of faiths and beliefs can see things in such narrow and, at times,
fanatical terms - or not. Postmodernism
has turned out to be no panacea against rigid hubris and superficial dogmatism;
it has provided no antidote to past, modern, or postmodern ideological excess.
With respect to the
extraordinary violence to which our past and current dogmas have led, I suggest
we might consider the possibility of getting our endorphins from body-piercings
or tattoos rather than from the mindless repetition and reinforcing of
ideological mantras, or the torturing or bullying other people because of
localized and self-replicating ideological perspectives. The natural, inherent,
predictable disposition on the part of human beings to blame others for our
problems and point the finger elsewhere is something that needs to be
countermanded by being honest with our experiences.
Postmodernism is on its way
out and this is a probably good thing. The
pastiche or collage approach - the appreciation of multiple perspectives and
points of view - is, however, still important and needs to be retained despite
any excess of faddish ideologies. The important insight is the epistemological realization that
there exist or may be multiple acceptable formulations which may be considered
true. But one doesn't have to
adhere to a dogma to believe this - it can be shown experientially - and one
doesn't have to adhere to an opinion that there can never be a wrong opinion to
believe this either. It would be a
mistake to believe that every opinion is just as good as any other.
That is, it would be a mistake to believe there are no mistakes.
How to be a Good
Probably just don't be one.
 Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd. Ed. U. Chicago: Chicago. 1962, 1970, 1996 ISBN: 0-226-45807-5.
 Bruner, J.S. and Leo Postman. “On the Perception of Incongruity: A Paradigm,” Journal of Personality, XVIII (1949), 206-203. Cited in Kuhn, op. cit., p. 62 ff.
 Ibid. 218. Cited in Kuhn, op. cit. pp. 63-4.
 Kuhn. Op. Cit. 126.
 Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Bennington, Geoff & Brian Massumi, trans. U. Minnesota: Minneapolis. 1984, 1989. ISBN 0-8166-1166-1.