Critical Military Epistemology: Designing Reflexivity into Military Curricula


  • Christopher Paparone US Department of the Army


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.

Author Biography

Christopher Paparone, US Department of the Army

Chris Paparone is a retired US Army Colonel who is now serving as a US Department of the Army civilian. While on active duty, he served in various command and staff positions in war and peace in the continental United States, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Bosnia. He is a graduate of the US Naval War College and received his PhD in public administration from The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg.