In many fields, postmodern forms of thought have recently emerged, posing fundamental challenges to modern assumptions concerning knowledge. This article explores the implications of four post-modern philosophical positions on knowledge to show how they reject absolute foundations and seek to expand the possibilities for scholarly practice. It further argues that an absolute foundation pervades higher education and that it unjustifiably constrains the capacity of intellect. This absolute foundation is the notion that legitimate intellectual activity is the disciplinary pursuit of knowledge of entities that exist before and independent of inquiry. A postmodern conception of higher education that would expand the playing field for inquiry is advanced based on the flexible concept of intellectually compelling ideas.

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pp. 113-140
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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