2 June 2017

Critical Military Epistemology: Designing Reflexivity into Military Curricula

by :

Author: Christopher Paparone

Abstract: The author recommends the discipline of the Sociology of Knowledge as an educative underpinning to enhance reflexivity in military practice. The essay develops four postmodern propositions for designing reflexivity into military curricula:

1. That military epistemology is an outgrowth of an historic socialization process;

2. That using Searle’s fact continuum, we can reveal the subjectivity of military knowledge by exposing the objectivation of socially constructed facts;

3. That US military scientism is an ideology, hence, a potential social hazard for those who criticize scientism as the underlying logic of practice; and,

4. Critical Military Epistemology (CME), based in the other three propositions, is one educative approach which will enhance reflexivity, providing a plurality of underlying logics of practice.

The author offers recommendations for a CME approach, advocating a plurality of onto-epistemological assumptions, to include critically studying military history as a history of military sensemaking, exposing practitioners to the assumptions of SoK, reading the seminal work of Donald A. Schön, and applying CME to promote interdisciplinary awareness. The essay concludes that imbedding CME philosophy in curricula designs will enhance tacit knowledge, emancipatory thinking, reframing, and critical reflexivity in the pursuit of novel underlying logics of practice.

* Note: this paper is part of the Special Issue of Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, titled ‘Reflexive Military Practitioners: Design Thinking and Beyond’. The full issue can be accessed at:

View special issue via JMSS

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