Books & Manuscripts

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Harlene Anderson, Ph.D.

Houston Galveston Institute

Taos Institute

 My collaborative philosophy and practices, including therapy, teaching, research, and consultation, reflect a view of ethics as representing or communicating agreed upon values and morals—and the rules for those values and morals—that have been historically, culturally, contextually, communally, and linguistically created. My view of ethics is situated on a postmodern backdrop.

Postmodernism broadly speaking offers a different way of thinking about the nature and meaning of knowledge, including a critical and skeptical perspective of knowledge such as universal and meta-narratives, and its certainty and power. Intrinsic is a self-critique of postmodernism itself. Although there are diverse branches of postmodernism, a common thread runs through them: the premise that knowledge and language are relational and generative.

Knowledge–what we know or think we might know–is linguistically constructed, the development and transformation of knowledge is a communal process, and knowledge and the knower are interdependent. Language –spoken and unspoken, including words, signs, and gestures–gains its meaning through its use, is the primary way we construct and make sense of our world, and what is created in and through language is multi-authored among a community of persons. Inherent in language, therefore, ” is the transformation of experience, and at the same time it transforms what we can experience”
(Goolishian & Anderson, 1987, p. 532). A transformative view of knowledge and language invites a view of human beings as resilient; it invites an appreciative approach. And, it invites uncertainty.