Lerner’s Intellectual Firepower: A Theoretically-Grounded Fable

This paper depicts an imaginary battle among three theoretical forces that clash in the field of human development.  The story is told with literature in hand, as one might gesture and narrate with a set of toy soldiers.  In the opening scene, our central figure, Lerner (2006), is ambushed by those who seek to deconstruct stage theory in light of concerns about social justice.  Unprepared but unsurprised, he deflects their intellectual attack into their own conscience and emerges unscathed.  With Lerner, there is more than meets the eye.  A second offensive, mounted by postmodernists as described by Goldhaber (2000), is a more visible and drawn out affair.  Our hero eyes his postmodern critics and sees himself.  He seeks to avoid confrontation by convincing them of his allegiance.  In full view, he swiftly dismantles modernistic ideals and courageously demonstrates his transcendence over Cartesian dualism in a flashy display of high intellect.  But his postmodern audience sees a facade.  They advance, following the same battle plan for which they are well-known, and Lerner is quickly overtaken.  A reflection follows.