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A view of nursing epistemology through reciprocal interdependence: towards a reflexive way of knowing

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The discipline of nursing has experienced the movement from modernism to postmodernism through expressions ranging from dualistic and polarized discourse to contradicting pluralistic positions. For the purpose of this paper, these responses are described as ways of knowing and are examined for their impact on the evolution of the nursing discipline. Reciprocal interdependence is offered as an alternate way of knowing capable of incorporating differing world views into a coherent and comprehensive systemic whole. The reflexive and potentially transformational impact of reciprocal interdependence on the advancement of nursing knowledge is reviewed through a discussion of the value of polarity, as well as the contribution of complementary and dialectical perspectives to the maintenance of interactions between the whole and its constituents.
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Keywords: Hegel’s dialectics; complementarity; neo-modernism; nursing epistemology; polarity; reciprocal interdependence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, Clinical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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