Letter to the Editor: Respecting Multiple Epistemologies in Social Work

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Social Work Education

Publication Date


Date Added



We are responding to an article published in the Journal of Social Work Education titled “Postmodernism: A Dead End in Social Work Epistemology” by Caputo, Epstein, Stoesz, and Thyer (2015). In their article the authors lay forth a limited and problematic thesis calling for social work to discontinue using and relying on postmodern contributions to guide social work practice and research. Although the authors’ article focused on previously raised ontological and epistemological concerns (Epstein, 1993; Stoesz, 2013; Thyer, 1989; Wakefield, 1993), it was limited in the following several key areas: misunderstanding of postmodernism as an epistemological position; taking an either/or position on knowledge building in social work that is not conducive to furthering the profession or preparing future practitioners; and a failure to understand how social work and social work education have benefited by the diverse theories, ideas, and perspectives derived during the postmodern era, including within the postpositivist paradigm.




Social Work

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Lee, Justin; Monico, Carmen; Mann-Williams, Angie; Rotabi, Karen Smith; Young, Jimmy A.