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Types of Pluralism

W Watson (in a paper "Types of pluralism" in The Monist, 73(3):350-65, 1990) suggested that there are four types of pluralism:

(I thank Matthew Jones for his excellent exposition of Watson's taxonomy, in his paper "Mission impossible? Pluralism and multiparadigm IS research" given to the 1999 UK Association of Information Systems Conference, from which the above was formulated.)

However Dooyeweerd has a strong notion of pluralism: a plurality of aspects of reality that are fundamentally (ontologically) irreducible to each other. Watson does not cover Dooyeweerd's type, which might be called 'ontological pluralism' (possibly because he was publishing in The Monist?) But it seems to me that Dooyeweerd's type can account for each of Watson's types.

Each aspect (e.g. quantitative, physical, biotic, analytical, lingual, economic, aesthetic, juridical, ethical, credal (which, interestingly, is the aspect of commitment, faith, vision)) has its own distinct:

We (human beings, animals, plants, etc.) function in all aspects, as subject or object, in an integrated manner, so that in pre-theoretic thinking the functioning is tacit. (e.g. as I write this to you, I am primarily functioning lingually, and also analytically in that I am making distinctions between what to say and what to leave out, and also e.g. biotically in breathing etc. but also I aim to be social and ethical, also economic of time, etc.)


But, you might ask, how can this be? In brief, for two reasons. One is that for Dooyeweerd 'reality' (i.e. what is independent of us and of what we are part) is based in laws (of each aspect) rather than in entities (and their behaviour). The other is that theoretical thinking is no longer the 'ideal' way of knowing, but merely one way: that enabled by the analytical aspect. To Dooyeweerd, to some extent, pre-theoretical ('everyday') thinking is 'higher' than theoretical because it is integrative and richer, in that it combines all the aspects that are relevant to a situation while theoretical thinking divides them up.
This page is part of a collection of pages that links to various thinkers, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.

Copyright (c) 2010 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.

Written on the Amiga and Protext.

Created: 1999? Last updated: 7 February 2001 copyright, email. 17 June 2010 .nav, .end, rid unet. 7 September 2017 rid counter.