• Manuel
    1.4k


    That comes out of phenomenology, which precedes postmodernism. Merleau Ponty died in 1961, whereas post-modernism came out in the late 60's early 70's.

    It also depends on if it is correct to label Heidegger as a postmodernist, which is not clear. But then he would be the very best of pomo, in my opinion.

    Zahavi is a Husserlian phenomenologist. I was just reading him the other day.
  • Joshs
    2k
    That comes out of phenomenology, which precedes postmodernism. Merleau Ponty died in 1961, whereas post-modernism came out in the late 60's early 70'sManuel

    We’re not talking chronology , but similarity of ideas. There are loads of papers connecting MP to postmodernists like Deleuze and Nancy. In fact, in terms of content, I would argue that Heidegger’s phenomenology ( and Gene Gendlin’s also) comes AFTER postmodernism. In fact , in 1997 Gendlin held a conference at the University of Chicago titled ‘After Postmodernism’. Trust me, what he had in mind had nothing to do with what the critics of pomo on this thread are advocating for.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    As I understand it, Being and Time was extremely influential for postmodernism, that came out in 1927. And also for existentialism and phenomenology. Maybe postmodernism would've arose with Husserl alone, I don't know.

    Derrida's De la grammatologie came out in 67', Foucault's Les mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines came out in 66'.

    So I'd have to know who you have in mind when you say postmodernism. That's just the thing, is postmodernism over? I have no idea. There's talk of post-postmodernism, I don't know what that means.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    My pragmatists are e.g. Peirce, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Popper, Feyerabend, Sellars, Otto-Apel, Haack et al ...

    Yeah, but there's no "need to prove" my/any "point" when the meanings of all "points" are episteme-relative or deferred. (Anyone who has read Derrida & Foucault against themselves (i.e. in Nietzschean fashion) would "know" that.) :wink:
  • Joshs
    2k
    I thought Witt was a huge fan of James. And that Feyerabend’s work was in opposition to Popper’s pragmatism.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    And where do you stand on critical theorists like Adorno and Habermas, Badiu , Lacan, Zizek or pomo theologians like Caputo , Critchley, Charles Taylor?Joshs
    Adorno, Žižek, Critchley have always been interesting reads ... the others not so much.

    Yeah, so what? I'm a big fan of Schopenhauer and yet as anti-idealist (of any flavor) as they come, and Foucault too but I'm also anti-p0m0. Watch that genetic fallacy, Joshs ..
  • Joshs
    2k
    there's no "need to prove" my/any "point" when the meanings of all "points" are episteme-relative or deferred. (Anyone who has read Derrida & Foucault against themselves (i.e. in Nietzschean fashion) would "know" that.) :wink:180 Proof

    Not quite:

    “ For of course there is a "right track" [une 'bonne voie "] , a better way, and let i t b e said i n passing how surprised I have often been, how amused or discouraged, depending on my humor, by the use or abuse of the following argument: Since the deconstructionist (which is to say, isn't it, the skeptic-relativist-nihilist!) is supposed not to believe in truth, stability, or the unity of meaning, in intention or "meaning-to-say, " how can he demand of us that we read him with pertinence, preciSion, rigor? How can he demand that his own text be interpreted correctly? How can he accuse anyone else of having misunderstood, simplified, deformed it, etc.? In other words, how can he discuss, and discuss the reading of what he writes? The answer is simple enough: this definition of the deconstructionist is false (that's right: false, not true) and feeble; it supposes a bad (that's right: bad, not good) and feeble reading of numerous texts, first of all mine, which therefore must finally be read or reread.

    Then perhaps it will be understood that the value of truth (and all those values associated with it) is never contested or destroyed in my writings, but only reinscribed in more powerful, larger, more stratified contexts. And that within interpretive contexts (that is, within relations of force that are always differential-for example, socio-political-institutional-but even beyond these determinations) that are relatively stable, sometimes apparently almost unshakeable, it should be possible to invoke rules of competence, criteria of discussion and of consensus, good faith, lucidity, rigor, criticism, and pedagogy.”

    Derrida, Limited, inc.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    Okay. What am I missing? There are no valid p0m0 arguments (Sokal, et al), they eschew 'logocentric' discourses; so what's your point? If my polemic doesn't persuade you, Joshs, so much the better. Ain't that p0m0 enough for you?
  • Joshs
    2k
    There are no valid p0m0 arguments (Sokal, et al), they echew 'logocentric' discourses; so what's your point?180 Proof

    Well, to begin with , a good thing to point out would be that there ARE valid and invalid arguments from a pomo perspective, as Derrida just told you. But their validity is relative to the norms of intersubjective communities, which can remain more or less stable for long periods of time. Think of Kuhn’s paradigms. If epistemes has no relative stability there could be no science.
    Logocentrism is the belief that objects are present-to-themselves things, locatable as independent of their relation to a subject.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    I'm not a member of a p0m0 "intersubjective community". And Kuhn? :rofl:
  • Bitter Crank
    9.8k
    Two years later, Britain ceded India. Not a coincidenceKenosha Kid

    Bear in mind that Indians had been organizing efforts to rid themselves of the British Raj since before WWI. It was an item on their agenda about which both Moslems and Hindus agreed. At the end of WWII Britain was bankrupt; some food rationing continued for 9 years after the end of the war. They were in no position to enforce the terms of empire, especially a global empire of increasingly restive independence movements.

    No doubt, though, there were people in GB who thought GB should get out of the empire business, for reasons military, economic or moral.
  • Joshs
    2k
    So I'd have to know who you have in mind when you say postmodernism. That's just the thing, is postmodernism over? I have no idea. There's talk of post-postmodernism, I don't know what that means.Manuel

    I only use the term postmodern in reference to a core group of French philosophers (Derrida, Focault , Deleuze, Nancy, Lyotard) and those they influenced or who offer similar ideas.

    Most of the world hasnt yet caught up to these writers, in my opinion. I know of only a tiny handful of thinkers who have gone beyond them. Gendlin is one of them.

    “An enormous gap called postmodernism has recently been created between experiencing and concepts. I want not only to examine the nature of this gap, but also to attempt to move beyond it. Of course there are many strands of postmodernism. It is best known for denying that there is any truth, or that one can claim to ground any statement in experience. Postmodernism is right in that one can not claim to represent or copy experiencing. But this does not mean that what we say has no relationship to what we experience—that there is no truth, that everything we say is arbitrary. In contrast to postmodernism, I show that we can have direct access to experiencing through our bodies (Gendlin 1992). I maintain that bodily experience can not he reduced to language and culture. Our bodily sense of situations is a concretely sensed interaction process that always
    exceeds culture, history, and language.”

    “ The Postmodernists were wrong to deny the objectivity of scientific concepts (especially when they wrote the
    denial on computers, and took airplanes to conventions to say it). Their real contribution was destroying the representational assumption. But since they saw no alternative, they glorified ‘limbo’. We see exactly how logic builds the world further, and how logical consequences add to implicit understanding. We see why our two systems must be kept apart, and also how
    they relate.” Gene Gendlin
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    Yes. But I ask you, what aspect of pomo had not been articulated previously by other people many, many years ago? I mean the sophists were a kind of postmodernism.Manuel

    I think since pomo started out as a sort of global state of the infoNation, it's less a question of precursors and more a question of contemporaneous relevance. As 180 pointed out, there were lots of precursors, but clearly Darwin wasn't talking about advertising and computing, nor was Copernicus, nor Wittgenstein, not Einstein. Nor does a philosophical precursor translate automatically into a worldwide change of view: philosophy is largely constrained to academia, even more so than science. Postmodernism started as a report on the postwar West. It was empirical first of all, not theoretical.

    This is sort of jumping the gun a bit, but if we accept that the postmodern era happened at all, then we're accepting an event prior to which there was a general belief in special neutral, objective frames of reference from which you can judge the truth of certain statements and after which there was a general belief that no such frame exists (scepticism about authority): everything that uses language does so within a language game, with its own assumptions, biases, hidden dichotomies and preferences, axioms, contradictions, etc. There's a nice analogy with quantum mechanics here: observing an experiment makes you part of the apparatus... You can't not play the game.

    In this regard it seems to me that something like deconstruction is warranted. The lack of a neutral perspective justifies a wariness about accepting the perspective of the author without examination. Otherwise we can take the position that, while metanarratives fell out of favour, they're not necessarily wrong, that there's an optimum set of metanarratives that are objectively true. Which is what the next thread was going to be about

    In reading this thread I'm beginning to see a distinction between an era and a people. The OP had me thinking merely of an era (post-modern); but subsequent posts discuss a person (a post-modernist). The latter could be a person like me, who: 1. simply thinks the era is/was real, 2. embodies the characteristics of the era; 3. embraces the characteristics of the era; or 4. merely happens to live in the era. I might be #1 and #4 but don't know enough about myself or the characteristic to know if I qualify for #2 or #3. Still reading. But I think it might be helpful to me if the distinction was made. Maybe I'll just have to struggle to discern from context.James Riley

    Yes, this is why I stated the OP as I did. Postmodernism started out pretty much as a description, even a criticism, of trends. Some postmodernists are not in favour of postmodernism, they're just also not in favour of sticking their heads in the sands. Others do embrace it, some ironically, some not. Some flit between opposing it with respect to their metanarratives and endorsing it with respect to other, less-favoured metanarratives, a position that's pretty easy to deconstruct which we might consider the start of post-truth.

    My point is that p0m0 says nothing new that has not been said clearer, more insightfully and more applicably since the late 16th/early 17th century.180 Proof

    Which late 16th/early 17th century texts were concerned with advertising and computers?

    Nice quote. I've read Derrida reject the accusation that deconstruction levels the playing field, an accusation I've never understood. Just because you can deconstruct any text, it doesn't follow that all texts are shown to be equally incoherent or unstable. No deconstructionist is going to hear a Trump speech and read a Nature article and conclude that they're much of a muchness.

    I'm not wanting to pooh pooh pomo (poohmo?) criticism; I would like to hear more, but there are strong whiffs of substitution, straw men, and other fallacies in almost all critiques I've heard. Chomsky's criticism is pretty well known and well-quoted, and it's... huh?!? When something makes very clever people say very stupid things, it's worth checking out.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Who are these non/Jamesian pragmatists? Certainly not Dewey or Mead. Do you mean Peirce? And where do you stand on critical theorists like Adorno and Habermas, Badiu , Lacan, Zizek or pomo theologians like Caputo , Critchley, Charles Taylor?Joshs

    This must be to 180 Proof since I have not raised theory. Any female pomo theorists other than Kristeva?

    Joshs, what I am really interested in is do you have a view on Wayfarer's tentative historical timeline QM to postmodern thinking?
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    Bear in mind that Indians had been organizing efforts to rid themselves of the British Raj since before WWI.Bitter Crank

    Yeah and we shot a lot of them.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    I see.

    Well, it's a question of dispute to claim that the postmodernists achieved something of which few people have caught up on. I think Susan Haack, Galen Strawson and Raymond Tallis do very, very good work and none of them agree with Kant on much.

    Not that agreeing or disagreeing with Kant by itself is worthy of praise or derision. Just more evidence of how influential Kant was, for good or ill.

    Postmodernism started as a report on the postwar West. It was empirical first of all, not theoretical.Kenosha Kid

    Maybe you're right. I doubt that anyone coming out of the postwar West would have used that term or even agreed with what it came to mean. If the question is that of information and control of people, the PR industry, was ahead of all of them, clearly. They actually impacted the world to a degree which is hard to conceptualize.

    then we're accepting an event prior to which there was a general belief in special neutral, objective frames of reference from which you can judge the truth of certain statements and after which there was a general belief that no such frame existsKenosha Kid

    You'd have to give one or two examples, otherwise I'm not sure I follow.

    Russell was aware about points of view and frames of reference, he went to jail for resisting WWI, one of the very few to do so. When asked later in life why he never commented on the crimes of Communists, he replied by saying "there was no need." That's all the media talked about.

    So it's not as if pomo came and suddenly people became aware of different perspectives.

    In this regard it seems to me that something like deconstruction is warranted. The lack of a neutral perspective justifies a wariness about accepting the perspective of the author without examination.Kenosha Kid

    Sure. I mean that's a sane attitude.

    Maybe now I'm the one being confused but the birth of modern philosophy was with Descartes, who said that it was a good idea to, at least once, doubt everything.

    I think that's a fine attitude to have in general, when warranted, of course.
  • Joshs
    2k
    Any female pomo theorists other than Kristeva?Tom Storm

    Judith Butler comes to mind , also Hanne De Jaegher, but there are many more.

    Joshs, what I am really interested in is do you have a view on Wayfarer's tentative historical timeline QM to postmodern thinking?Tom Storm

    My comments only apply to the range of thinking that I believe is common to the French philosophers who emerged in the 1960’s (although I do see the ideas of Nietzsche , Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty as also post-modern). Their thinking is also referred to as post-structuralist , since they specifically targeted and used as their source of contrast the fad of structuralism which was popular in political theory, anthropology , psychology, literary theory , philosophy and linguistics in the 1950’s ( Althusser, Marx, Levi-Strauss, Saussure, etc).

    As far as relativity and quantum theory is concerned, in my opinion these approaches in physics belong to Kantian and neo-Kantian idealism, which may very well be considered by certain historians and others within the humanities as postmodern based on how they are defining the term. But if one wants to define it strictly in relation to the thinking of the philosophers I mentioned above, then it belongs to an earlier era of philosophy and falls under their critique.
  • Joshs
    2k
    it's a question of dispute to claim that the postmodernists achieved something of which few people have caught up on. I think Susan Haack, Galen Strawson and Raymond Tallis do very, very good work and none of them agree with Kant on much.Manuel

    I agree they do good work and I think the difference between them and the postmodernists is slight but still important.
  • Joshs
    2k
    Chomsky's criticism is pretty well known and well-quoted, and it's... huh?!? When something makes very clever people say very stupid things, it's worth checking out.Kenosha Kid

    You can add John Searle and Steven Pinker to that list.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    Maybe you're right. I doubt that anyone coming out of the postwar West would have used that term or even agreed with what it came to mean. If the question is that of information and control of people, the PR industry, was ahead of all of them, clearly. They actually impacted the world to a degree which is hard to conceptualize.Manuel

    But it's not like the idea is that WWII happened, the postmodernists said "We're pomo now," and people started acting all pomo. The fallout of WWII, including in commerce, was an input to pomo theory, not an output.

    So it's not as if pomo came and suddenly people became aware of different perspectives.Manuel

    Again this seems back to front. Early pomo writers like Lyotard and Baudrillard weren't spawning different perspectives: they were writing about things that had already happened... Fall of metanarratives, symbols without symboliseds, etc. These were already real before the postmodernists got involved. Or at least that's the question raised in the OP.

    Maybe now I'm the one being confused but the birth of modern philosophy was with Descartes, who said that it was a good idea to, at least once, doubt everything.Manuel

    Except God. And the limitless capability of the rational mind. Perhaps he did doubt these once each, in a perfunctory manner.
  • Manuel
    1.4k
    These were already real before the postmodernists got involved.Kenosha Kid

    Exactly.

    Except God. And the limitless capability of the rational mind. Perhaps he did doubt these once each, in a perfunctory manner.Kenosha Kid

    Sure, we pick out those things we can still find useful today.

    So use radical doubt and see what reason tells you. We know reason is not all encompassing, but if we use it judiciously, we might be able to make sense of the world.

    We don't need God anymore - or at least, many of us no longer see it as necessary.

    As an aside, not referring to you, but it bothers me that Descartes gets so much crap these days. It's not as if a scientist born in Descartes time would've obviously come up with general relativity, or would've obviously had seen how thought and matter cannot be metaphysically distinct.

    I think Descartes is exactly on point highlighting our reason, it's an honorable aspect of being human. It's just that it's not all encompassing, as you rightly say.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    Which late 16th/early 17th century texts were concerned with advertising and computers?Kenosha Kid
    Silly. That's like asking which sacred scriptures were concerned with abortion or secularism?

    Maybe now I'm the one being confused but the birth of modern philosophy was with Descartes, who said that it was a good idea to, at least once, doubt everything.

    I think that's a fine attitude to have in general, when warranted, of course.
    Manuel
    :up:
  • Saphsin
    353
    This thread has a number of people I respect, so I have to come out here and ask what the additional practical benefit comes from talking about modernity, anti-modernity, postmodernity, and such. They seem like generalized abstract categories that some social theorists came up with that we can easily do without. I can follow the arguments in this thread, but it seems much more straightforward to talk about the use/misuse of reason, objectivity, industrialization/consumerism, and so on. That's just more relatable to how I think about the relevant subject matters.
  • StreetlightX
    7.5k
    There seems to be some struggle to identify the novelty of postmodernity here, but I would suggest it is to be found in an area which seems to be relatively neglected so far in this thread - aesthetics. Pace Jameson, you have a few standout features: the prevalence of pastiche as an aesthetic form, the preponderance of irony, the increasing indiscernibility of 'high' and 'low' culture, the weakening of 'historicity' (the inability to locate ourselves in an arc of time, you simply get dislocated and fragmented temporal repetition), the 'waning of affect' (a 'flatness' of emotional tonality, where nothing surprises anymore, and everything is approached with ironic detachment), the suspicion of 'depth' and the valorisation of 'surfaces' in our aesthetic topographies, etc, etc

    Taken in this way and as a set of feature relating to the sensibilities with which we apprehend the world, I'd say it's hard to deny that postmodernity - at least taken as a tendency or set of tendencies - has definitely had its time. The issue of the 'waning of affect' is one of the more questionable theses, and it's arguable that there's been a heightening of affective importance in recent times, but otherwise the rest of the list is pretty on point I'd say. On the other hand, there is the consideration of just how euro or Anglo-centric the notion is. Like, how much of this characterizes the sensibility present in Asia, Africa, or South America for instance? Is postmodernity a phenomenon more specific to the global north? I suspect so.

    That all said, of all the features involved, my own winner for the most significant one is the waning of historicity. This goes hand in hand with the basic neoliberal premise that 'there is no alternative' (TINA) and the notion of "capitalist realism" - that there is no real future. That's been disrupted somewhat by the slow rot of the American empire and the rise of a new bi or tri polarity on the global scale (China-US-Russia), but even then you get this feeling that at stake is the rise of a new hegemon which only a few tweaks here and there (slightly less liberal, still capitalist as all hell). That we seem to be unable to locate ourselves in time (and space too!), is a big one. Jameson calls it an inability to engage in 'cognitive mapping'. More and more I find Benjamin's reflection on history to be more pertinent than ever:

    "A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress" (Thesis IX, Theses on the Philosophy of History).
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    As an aside, not referring to you, but it bothers me that Descartes gets so much crap these days. It's not as if a scientist born in Descartes time would've obviously come up with general relativity, or would've obviously had seen how thought and matter cannot be metaphysically distinct.Manuel

    No, I wouldn't criticise him for dualism. I think his meditations were absolute tosh even at the time, though.

    Silly. That's like asking which sacred scriptures were concerned with abortion or secularism?180 Proof

    It would be if you were saying that a philosophy concerning abortion was already covered by the Bible. And it would be an equally apt question :)
  • Mww
    2.7k
    I think his meditations were absolute tosh even at the time, though.Kenosha Kid

    “....But, as in the " Discourse on Method," I had requested all who might find aught meriting censure in my writings, to do me the favor of pointing it out to me, I may state that no objections worthy of remark have been alleged against what I then said on these questions....”
    (M.F.P., Preface to the Reader, 1647, in Veitch 1901)

    Hobbes, Gassendi, Arnauld, et al aside.....asked and answered in exchanges of letters through Mersenne, even before publication of Meditations
    ————-

    Thought maybe....you know, in your spare time.....you might find something interesting here, essay by Williams specifically:

    http://assets.cambridge.org/97811070/59207/frontmatter/9781107059207_frontmatter.pdf

    I don’t do postmodernism, so beg pardon for being off-topic.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    It also depends on if it is correct to label Heidegger as a postmodernist, which is not clear. But then he would be the very best of pomo, in my opinion.Manuel

    I think, as 180 showed, you could argue for centuries back to decentralising, relativistic, or sceptical precursors, proto-pomo-contenders, and things that started it all. The interwar period seems as good as postwar to me. The Third Policeman was written then iirc.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Sure. I mean, it's fine if you want to focus on the skeptical side, or on the problem of "metanarratives", that can be useful.

    However, I would think that someone like you would be concerned when serious physicists like Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont show how many of the figures belonging in this school of thought, make science a total metaphor, making meaningless statements about how math and physics relate to politics or power.

    And I personally think that science has several important limits when it comes to what it can hope to explain.
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    Postmodernism is all about premature portentous pronouncements.
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