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Approaches Used in the Structurization Paradigm

The nominalist-cum-particularist perspective on divine and human (including social) constructionism taken here selectively synthesizes the Via Moderna of William of Ockham, Martin Luther, and others with the postist thought of such writers as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Richard Rorty.

This constructionist paradigm is, from one standpoint, a dialectic of two nominalisms, Ockhamism and Foucaultianism (a dialectic of the particularity of the divine Will, or divine structurizations/discourses/language games, and the particularities of human wills, or social structurizations/discourses/language games), and is simultaneously conceived as theory, method, and praxis.

Epistemically, the paradigm has dual relativisms. Divine structurizations are relative to God's Will. Human structurizations are relative to human wills.

From another standpoint, the paradigm is a dialectic of Foucaultianism and Rorty's neopragmatism. That is to say, paradigms become accepted because of power elite dominance, because of relative utility, or both.

The paradigm may be diagrammed as follows:

naming categories of particulars --> structurization <-- naming the structurization

The naming is, by definition, a structurization, which is then itself named. Through conscious, critical naming, persons can, particularly when in solidarity with others, become liberated from the oppressive structurizations (Foucault's discourses) of power elites. Naming, or structurization, is power.

In accordance with Ockham's divine command theory, universals, such as species, are merely names. "Goodness" is one such universal. Whatever God wills, names, or structurizes as good is, by definition, good. There are no essences, or universals, of goodness. In a divine context, goodness is simply a name for what God wills. (Similarly, human concepts of goodness are relative to social structurizations.) The sacred and the profane (arguably, supernaturalist religions and the sciences) need to be kept separate.

More broadly, the paradigm includes:

  • post-Ockhamism (a dialectic of divine Will, as a divine command theory, and a freedom of conscience or human free will expressed in multiple normative structurizations, i.e., postmodern Ockhamism)

  • nominalism-cum-particularism: the particularism as related to Ockham's razor (distinguished from the nominalism-cum-universalism in some sects of Buddhism)

  • poststructuralism (Jacques Derrida, Harold Garfinkel, and, especially, Michel Foucault's constructionist view of narrative oppression)

  • post-Marxism (consciousness, both class and false, as social text, structurization, or discourse, which can be used, with reference to specific populations, to grant or deprive power)

  • fideism (including Ockham, Martin Luther, Søren Kierkegaard, and Ludwig Wittgenstein's language games, i.e., truth evaluated by internal, not external, logical or scientific rules)

  • critical theories (in Juergen Habermas' broad sense, i.e., where conceptualized as knowledge enabling individuals to emancipate themselves from domination through self-reflection), including public sociologies (Michael Burawoy, etc.)

  • post-Neoplatonism: deconstructing the Science of Reality (Marian C. Lippitt) and the powers of the soul (Henry A. Weil) into relative divine constructions

  • all discourse as language games (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

  • conflict theories and liberation sociologies

  • structuration theory (Anthony Giddens), i.e., social structures and institutions as ongoing accomplishments (structurizations similar Foucaultian discourses, primarily, and to Giddens' structurations, secondarily)

  • postliberal theologies (George Lindbeck, narrative theology, Yale school, etc.)

  • liberation theologies

  • postpositivism

  • New Historicism, i.e., a Foucaultian approach to literary criticism and literary theory, with Stephen Greenblatt being the major figure associated with it (multiple voices, or histories, within specific moments in time)

  • neopragmatism (Richard Rorty, Thomas Kuhn etc.): Truths are relative to a structurization (paradigm, narrative, discourses, dialogues, etc.). Rather than asserting absolute truth, one might instead say that certain truths are more useful than others, i.e., they work. However, the fact that certain structurizations, or truth narratives, may work, does not necessarily indicate that other, even entirely contradictory, truth systems might not work, too.

  • labeling theories

  • frame analysis (Erving Goffman)