Richard P. Nielsen
Toward An Integrated “In All Things” Based Ignatian and Praxis Based Aristotelian Theory Building Epistemology
Toward An Integrated “In All Things” Based Ignatian and Praxis Based Aristotelian Theory Building Epistemology Abstract Aristotelian-Ignatian “In All Things,” Praxis Based Theory Building While Ignatian teaching epistemology is relatively well developed, it is less so for theory building epistemology within the social sciences and professional schools. This issue is particularly important for research universities and research oriented professors where teaching and research are much more closely joined, particularly in Ph.D. and some masters level programs. A three moment Ignatian teaching epistemology is: (1) inductive attention to “God in all things;” (2) hermeneutic interpretation of meaning; and, (3) loving praxis. This is similar to the first three moments of a four moment Aristotelian praxis based theory building epistemology of: (1) inductive experience based attention to the good, the true, and the beautiful that is naturally and potentially in all things; (2) hermeneutic interpretation (what Aristotle referred to as theoria and is different from the fourth moment theory building); (3) ethical praxis, service to others; and, (4) praxis based theory building. That fourth theory building Aristotelian moment can be integrated with the three moment Ignatian process. This integration can be considered from both a theological “In All Things” perspective and a philosophical “In All Things” Aristotelian perspective. Within social science based dialectic change theory, conflict transformation, socioeconomic development, organization development, action learning, positive psychology, and positive organizational studies, this four moment Aristotelian theory building epistemology is often implicitly used. This article compares an Ignatian “In all things” based pedagogical epistemology with an Aristotelian praxis based theory building epistemology and suggests a theory building integration of Aristotelian and Ignatian methods. It then considers examples of explicitly Ignatian influenced and other social scientists who have used this four moment epistemological process. Implications for research and theory building within Jesuit colleges and universities are considered.