• Yellow Horse
    20
    It's not taking any grand narratives seriouslyschopenhauer1

    I like Lyotard's book, but the position sketched above has been with us much longer than the term 'postmodern,' no? What about an atheist who doesn't believe in progress? Is that enough?
  • 180 Proof
    1.4k
    You are not obligated to do goods above and beyond simply not doing harm. There are many things that are permissible.Pfhorrest
    :up:
  • Kenosha Kid
    519
    I may end up getting more wordy in my descriptions in the future, where "apple" is a complex model made up of many submodels which each predict some particular phenomena.Adam's Off Ox

    Assuming the existence of an objective reality underpinning the regularity of phenomena at various scales neither compels one to consider all objects at each of those scales nor dictates a limit on what can be considered objectively real. It is not a prescriptive statement to say that the simplest explanation for the appearance of objective physical reality is an actual objective reality. As I said, how you consider a particular apple is a separate, although related concern. (An objectively real apple is the simplest explanation for seeming consensus that this is indeed an apple too. However, it lacks the regularity of multiple events that is so compelling for a belief in objective physical reality.)
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    I like Lyotard's book, but the position sketched above has been with us much longer than the term 'postmodern,' no? What about an atheist who doesn't believe in progress? Is that enough?Yellow Horse

    I think the literary critique has been there or a long time. Look at Voltaire's Candide and other satires, or example. You can go back to Aristophanes if you really wanted. It is the specific use of irony and cynicism in backlash against meta-narratives of Enlightenment ideals (roughly starting around the late 1600s) that post-modernism is taking a stance on. Atheists, for example, can be very "modernist" in their politics, historical thinking, and views of science. Traditional Marxism is atheistic, but it believes in an unfolding historical truth of economic determinism that leads to "progress" in the form of an "end to history" which is the communistic form of political economy. You also have it in the forms of libertarianism where the "freedoms" afforded from a free-market economy bring the most prosperity and material wealth and is thus its own praise for the meta-narrative of economic market mechanisms. Secular humanists might have a similar outlook in regards to human progress through science being a key to human happiness.

    In the field of history, it would critique Enlightenment's view that there is any discernible pattern one can use to characterize history. Certainly it would be contra Hegel's view, but also possible views that there were particular "eras" that have ultimate discernible causes and effects that can be deduced like a science or a through-line that is "just so".

    It would apply to views of hard sciences being the suspect for any means to ultimate answers. Thus human nature would tend to be understood as having something biologically "fixed" in modernism, where post-modernism would emphasize human fluidity through language communities.Thus there would be a de-emphasis on evolutionary psychology "just so" stories, anthropologies that rely on reductionism of the human animal to a fixed pattern. Rather they would emphasize the inability to define humans in terms of biological or behavioral traits. Post-modernists would say rather that this should be looked at from the perspective of how various communities use language and how cultures are consider themselves in context of other cultures. Thus, one can argue identity politics is considered hand-in-hand with post-modernist thinking. Enlightenment has a unifying outlook and narrative generally and principles are often steeped in ideas of science, progress, etc. I kind of picture something like Star Trek as a science fiction version of modernism at least in its imagining of the Star Fleet and its mission to explore space (though various episodes might touch on post-modern points)., Post-modernism has a multiplicity and disorienting aspect in opposition to linearity of modernism. There is never one perspective only to consider.

    In literature and movies, it might be found in not following linear time or space like in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five. It might be to reject the narrative of the happy industrialized lifestyle for the absurdities of various everyday social interactions, and the negative interpersonal aspects of maintaining such an economy in an industrialized world.

    In leftist politics, a modernist might emphasize cultural unity, our sameness, and how science and technology unifies people. The post-modernist would focus on the differences, how communities have their own narratives that are often not considered by the power structures that be. It is more about power and its relation to groups. In rightist politics, a modernist would emphasize also cultural unity and economic determinism through markets. Post-modern rightists tend to be an oxymoron but, there could be methods in rightwing politics that can be considered post-modern, such as relativizing the "truth" of academic liberal "elites" which they deem as a meta-narrative.
  • Kenosha Kid
    519
    Which is exactly the opposite of objectivity. The problem with those is precisely that they are non-objective; they only seem, subjectively, good to a few people, disregarding any concern for consistency or neutrality, i.e. objectivity.Pfhorrest

    I agree that it is contrary to objectivity. I just disagree that the opposite therefore implies objectivity. The discerning feature is in the evolved biology of mankind: it is statistical, self-assembling and contingent. (We might yet evolve stronger bases for dealing with strangers, for instance.) Bad here is the same kind of bad as a bad apple tree that bears no apples: it is a failure to be what you are. We are social animals, evolved to outcast individuals who hurt the group as a whole. (We now actually praise such individuals. We might, on the contrary to my last parenthetical, yet evolve to see antisocial behaviour as good.)

    And I think the truth of this lies in the cosmic insignificance argument, that, ultimately, it doesn't matter if you're a bad person in the scheme of things. You can't say that about the objective reality of, say, gravity: "Well, we released that ball and it went up, which is gravitationally bad, but not important in the scheme of things." Things falling upwards would render the reasoning behind an assumption of objective physical reality itself invalid, and science couldn't exist. It is the scheme of things that is most affected.

    So it sounds like we are in agreement.Pfhorrest

    I think not quite. A couple of counter-examples...

    I said above that most questions of harm (e.g. invasion, slavery, rape) can be resolved in a certain way. There are some that cannot be resolved this way. A Christian raises their child in their faith. For them, this is a morally good, possibly obligatory action depending on their views. For me, this counts as doing harm, insofar as it puts the child at a disadvantage in discerning truth from lies, reality from make-believe, and so is a morally bad, impermissible action. But this is a case where, if roles were reversed, the Christian would attest that they would want the perceived harm done to them.

    In your view there is one answer to this question: it has one particular position on each of the charts you presented. In my relativistic view, each of those charts belongs to an individual, with conformity between individuals giving statistical scales for a community. So while I bemoan the ignorance and harm, I do understand why it is right from the Christian's point of view to do what they are doing. It is a very good thing for them to do from their frame of reference, a very bad thing from mine.

    Another is what I've mentioned before: insoluble moral questions, such as the train track question. Your schema dictates that there is an absolute answer, but we might not know it. Mine allows for the fact that the right answer for me is different from the right answer for you. A real-world example of this is the competing rights of women as described by trans-exclusionary feminists (TEFs) and of trans-women (TW). These arise out of mutually-exclusive concerns.

    A TEF never has to consider what it is like to seem to yourself a woman trapped in a man's body by accident of birth. A TEF has always had to consider the danger of finding themselves along with a physically overpowering male stranger. A TW has less reason to consider the latter and more reason to consider the former. The problems that arise have binary answers. No midpoint between the two positions can be taken: either TW have access to female spaces or they do not; either TEFs accept TW as women (and become TIFs) which means, effectively, pretending that women born in men's bodies are typical women's bodies, or they do not.

    Any answer to this binary question is nothing more than picking sides: "I hold the concerns of this group to be more important than the concerns of that group". That cannot concur with an objective moral position because it is in itself a bias. One could, and TIFs and TWs often do, argue that the TEF position is impermissible prejudice, but to do so would be to deny woman any safe space at all, including from cis men, which does harm. One could argue that cis women outnumber trans women and opt for the greater good, but that's qualitatively the same hypocrisy as slave traders and Nazis, i.e. to not extend altruism and empathy to smaller out-groups.

    Moral relativism, based on the existential problem of applying biological moral capacity evolved in one environment to a completely different environment, allows for the fact that some moral questions only have frame-dependent answers. Moral objectivity does not: it is an assertion that one group's concerns outweigh another's in cases such as these through top-down morality in principle (if not in practise, lacking access to objective truths). But also in principle, either position could be legally enforced, and the course of moral trends would go one way or another. What's actually happening is that each property owner is responsible for insisting on their own moral position: if a CEO forbids TWs from using female toilets, that is their prerogative, and the TW is free to find a more sympathetic employer; if they permit it, that is also their prerogative and the TEFs are free to find a more sympathetic employer. Pluralism and relativism provide bottom-up solutions that actually make sense.
  • Risk
    11
    In this regard, it is ineffective, escapist, and doesn't change the dull reality any ounce. At best it creates insensible sentimentality to try to console, but mainly it is simply the reiteration that there is no where to go, nothing to do.schopenhauer1

    I find it fascinating that with such a strong grasp of postmodernist ideas, you end up at "no where to go, nothing to do" (it makes me immediately turn inwards to try and find what I missed)

    The non prescriptive nature of postmodernist thinking has the potential to be freeing, as the only framework without a "system" which provides infinite options and 0 hard restrictions.

    It quite literally puts all of the power of life in your hands whilst simultaneously highlighting that all other (current) systems demand you remove some level of that responsibility and place it externally.

    There are a lot of things postmodernism is not great at, most obvious being the pragmatic movement forward of society (on whatever level). However it is the single greatest defence humans have against external dangerous human thought.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    It quite literally puts all of the power of life in your hands whilst simultaneously highlighting that all other (current) systems demand you remove some level of that responsibility and place it externally.

    There are a lot of things postmodernism is not great at, most obvious being the pragmatic movement forward of society (on whatever level). However it is the single greatest defence humans have against external dangerous human thought.
    Risk

    Granted, there is a freeing aspect to post-modernism's dedication against meta-narratives, what I am saying is that it doesn't solve anything against the problems of modernism, because at the end of the day, as long as you use technology created from Enlightenment principles (that is to say all modern technology), and as long as society is organized in economic principles surrounding the use of the technology and its distribution, post-modernism can only provide an escapist, artistically inspired display, but nothing that brings us to a new way of life, really.

    It's like hippies and going back to nature.. you need the technology to go back to nature people.

    Or communes that rely on the outside for its technology to thrive.. nope you need that outside economy to thrive people.

    Or whatever else is trying to get "past" modernism and its ways of life. Just won't happen. Even if they do, there is no "solution" anyways. There just is in fact, no place to move, no place to go, no such thing as a Utopia even in principle. We have minutia-mongering, technology and our escapisms of our personal dramas within it.
  • 180 Proof
    1.4k
    ... so as I was saying

    ... I don't think it's controversial to say the predominant trends in philosophy are post-postmodern (i.e. we've moved past dada/kitsch-like obscurant paeans to [ ... ] so-called "deconstructive" - relativisms (à la Frankfurter's bullshit) which had been a mid-20th century onanistic "war on truth" parlor game that's no longer [somewhat less] fashionable ...)180 Proof

    I.e. Here's 'the XY-thing' (Modo); and yet this Y-thing 'about any ~X-thing sans a Y-thing' (p0m0). :joke:
  • Gnomon
    715
    So, in this thread I'm trying understand the appeal of the blatantly antiscience, and vaguely anti-reason, Postmodern philosophy.Gnomon
    Wow! I never expected the plaintive OP to get such reaction. But it has veered off into some very technical and arcane discussions. Anyway, I'll add my 2 cents worth, in a more general sense. I view PM as a cultural course correction, that has influenced the world in a manner similar to Marxism. It raised consciousness of some issues, but didn't offer a viable alternative to the core of the 17th century Enlightenment's legacy : the novel method of acquiring practical knowledge that we call "Modern Science". :nerd:

    Anti-Modernism :
    Modernism inherited the scientific methods & attitudes of the Enlightenment, but focused more on technological expertise than on philosophical wisdom. Thus, its rapid material progress was at the expense of spiritual values, and often left some large segments of society behind in the rush for the next great thing.
    Postmodernism was an attempt to level the playing field for less-developed nations, and for the forgotten people of various genders, colors, and locations. Ironically, its academic language was often lost on the very ones it was intended to raise up.


    Age of Re-Enlightenment :
    Perhaps the BothAnd successor to Postmodernism will be called the “Re-Enlightenment”, as old verities are re-discovered.
    http://bothandblog2.enformationism.info/page14.html
  • Risk
    11
    There just is in fact, no place to move, no place to go, no such thing as a Utopia even in principle.schopenhauer1

    So this is where I find the value of postmodernism. No predetermined hierarchies. No utopia. Pure choice. Historically people have needed narrow illogical frameworks to motivate themselves to restlessly strive forward. Think clergy building stability via monogamous societies. I don't think its a leap to suggest this may be a cultural characteristic, not intrinsic. And in the future we recognise the grey, ambiguous, interconnectedness of everything which will lead to fascinating new insights and innovations.

    I think it has everywhere to go as it is not bounded by a systematic framework of restrictions or isolated thinking. Always looking for a critique though so please fire away!
  • Yellow Horse
    20

    We seem to see the situation in basically the same way. How do some of John Gray's darker passages fit in here? He attacks the religion of progress.

    I also was just shown this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hJv5yBLe9c
  • Yellow Horse
    20
    I think it has everywhere to go as it is not bounded by a systematic framework of restrictions or isolated thinking.Risk

    Does it have everywhere to go except nowhere? Is it bound to this project of not being bounded?

    will lead to fascinating new insights and innovations.Risk

    Novelty as progress? Is 'pomo' another name for an old demon?
  • Risk
    11
    Correct by definition it is unbounded. Which is the "good" I perceive from it.

    Novelty as progressYellow Horse



    I challenge you to explain any such case of progress not being novel. Real or abstract.
  • Yellow Horse
    20
    any such case of progress not being novelRisk

    I don't know if you'll count this, but some people think in terms of forgotten wisdom. They want to return to the good old days. Backwards is forwards for them.
  • Risk
    11
    My first argument against gets very semantic and situational which id be tentative to give. The more reasonable approach would be to ask if this reversion would be identical to before, or merged with the newer thought. Again providing the novelty required. Battle testing ideas with new scenarios is novel progress in my book, but I recognise this could be subjective!
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    We seem to see the situation in basically the same way. How do some of John Gray's darker passages fit in here? He attacks the religion of progress.Yellow Horse

    Yeah I've read one or two of his books. I generally agree, though not necessarily my brand of pessimism. Still laudable. I'll check out the video.

    So this is where I find the value of postmodernism. No predetermined hierarchies. No utopia. Pure choice. Historically people have needed narrow illogical frameworks to motivate themselves to restlessly strive forward. Think clergy building stability via monogamous societies. I don't think its a leap to suggest this may be a cultural characteristic, not intrinsic. And in the future we recognise the grey, ambiguous, interconnectedness of everything which will lead to fascinating new insights and innovations.

    I think it has everywhere to go as it is not bounded by a systematic framework of restrictions or isolated thinking. Always looking for a critique though so please fire away!
    Risk

    So I think there are more concrete motivations than "pure choice". We may be condemned to be free, but we are not free not to die. We are not free not to be uncomfortable. We are not free to not be bored. I truly think every motivation can be categorized under our striving wills' need to survive, find comfort, and entertain ourselves.

    In the "modern" world, we have science and technology. This is the superstructure cultural context in which we play out our will's need for survival, comfort, and entertainment. We cannot just "be" we are always "becoming". That is to say, we must race down the hill so we don't trip over ourselves. How does this play out? Getting the raise, the house, the accomplishment of some sort, get the relationship, etc. It's always trying to get the next thing. Then we have to slow down.. We always have to figure out how to find rest.. meditate, relax, enjoy the moment. We can never JUST BE. We have to speed it up or slow it down. Fill it with things or clear the mind. This just indicates life is just something to DEAL WITH. We are given this gift of dealing with, being demanded from, and demanding from others. And we call this "good". What's the matter with never being? Deep sleep? Unborn? After alive? What is it about BEING?

    Anyways, sentimental notions of looking at the camera rolling the eyes, or the moments in the office that are not dull.. "Look the office is a place of meaning in the dull absurdity".. That kind of shit makes it seem like there is vindication, salvation, and the rest. They are creative stories by writers, producers, directors, and set crew.. It was their way to make money to make you feel better, on the vision they had of modern life.

    Technology lulls you into thinking things are great, but we are never content, and it is just in the name of survival, comfort, and entertainment. Post-modernism micro-narratives are no more a salvation than grand narratives of success, accomplishment, everything is great, progress, innovation, etc. It's suffering all the way around, suffering in just being, and then add the suffering of any situation on top of the core strivings of the human. The absurdity of the repetition of living daily is not overcome just because we can make art based on this understanding.

    One of the most pessimistic mythologies is Philipp Mainlander's idea that God was originally a unified super being that could not stand its own unity. It was essentially bored. Thus, it individuated itself in the world in a big bang so as to be able to become nothing eventually. Now there is some metaphysical pessimism :lol:.
  • Yellow Horse
    20
    though not necessarily my brand of pessimism.schopenhauer1

    For me Gray is just an example. Will tech give us utopia? Will we all wake up and be cool one day? How does antinatalism connect to the apocalypse desired by the first Christians or concerns about overpopulation? Does part of us want it all burned down and over with?
  • Yellow Horse
    20
    The more reasonable approach would be to ask if this reversion would be identical to before, or merged with the newer thought.Risk

    As a novelty-as-progress addict, I'd tell the forgotten-wisdom crowd that they can't get the moment back, that the image of that wisdom is different the background of our world now.

    At the same time, I don't think that the mission has to consciously be the search for novelty. I imagine old dogs annoyed at all the new tricks they don't feel like learning. I tend to read the dismissal of 'pomo' as a defense against difficult novelty.
  • Risk
    11
    We may be condemned to be free, but we are not free not to die. We are not free not to be uncomfortable. We are not free to not be bored.schopenhauer1

    I don't think you can count the impossible as a choice. I think you may agree that choice would be the set of all possibilities that could be actualized in your life. Talking about choice beyond that simply doesn't make sense. If we don't set this definition, we end up talking in nonsensical terms such as choosing whether blue is a colour.

    I would disagree that we are free not to be bored or uncomfortable. I think the most obvious way to demonstrate this is by pointing out that even on a bed of nails, some find it comfortable. Even in isolation, some are never bored. So to arrive at your assertion, you would need to define the words as things guaranteed to occur. Thus stripping their negation from the set of all life possibilities.

    We cannot just "be" we are always "becoming".schopenhauer1

    I'm sure you would call it striving ey Schopenhauer ;)

    Just as with Arthur, I disagree with you here. You are setting the rules of engagement without any logical foundation to them. Claiming things must be so and not justifying why.
    - Our wills need to survive. What is suicide but a logical contradition to this so called universal law
    - comfort. What about those who seek discomfort, even enjoy pain.
    Unjustified, unverified rules of engagement.


    It's always trying to get the next thingschopenhauer1

    Again these rules of engagement are unjust. We observe time (at least in a spatial sense) linearly. Therefore we are always, by definition, moving to the next thing. This is not a choice. To Just Be, would to somehow be able to freeze time. So to build premises around what life is, based on such self fulfilling terminology doesn't make sense.

    but we are never contentschopenhauer1

    And to hit the proverbial nail on the head of why Post Modernism is, to me, the only way to Be. Contentness comes from within yourself. If you give up the meta narratives and accept full responsibility, absurdity and possibility for your life, contentness and everything else become states you choose. You can define your contentness to be that encompassing moments of not being content. It is not an infinite subdivisible moment of measurability, contentness is cumulative.
    I think my favourite iconography from all of philosophy was whem Camus sketches out;

    While Sysphus was condemmed to push the boulder, he was not condemned to be sad whilst doing so

    The freedom this perspective offers when you abondon the meta narratives and recognise choice for what it is and can be, seems only achievable through post modernist thinking.

    Hence What is it good for, absolutely EVERYTHING.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    I would disagree that we are free not to be bored or uncomfortable. I think the most obvious way to demonstrate this is by pointing out that even on a bed of nails, some find it comfortable. Even in isolation, some are never bored. So to arrive at your assertion, you would need to define the words as things guaranteed to occur. Thus stripping their negation from the set of all life possibilities.Risk

    People train themselves to do this. Most socially-enculturated humans without developmental issues get bored. It's a fact. Just because certain people are able train themselves to "clear the mind" or try to adapt their comfort levels to conditions, does not mean that these are not motivations for our dissatisfactions at most times in our lives. Go to work, clean the dishes, ride your bike, hunt the animal, dance around the fire.. Take away over-inflated romantic notions or overwrought theories of motivation, it's survival, comfort, or entertainment (mainly from boredom) or a combination of two or three of them at once.

    To Just Be, would to somehow be able to freeze time. So to build premises around what life is, based on such self fulfilling terminology doesn't make sense.Risk

    That's the point, it ISN'T by definition, part of our existence. We CAN'T escape it.

    everything else become states you choose.Risk

    I disagree. There is a meta-narrative- survival, comfort, entertainment motivations in a cultural context. The "condemned to be free" is only within that broader framework.You are condemned to be free actually gets neutered to "You are condemned to be free within the context of cultural contingency, and the needs to survive, find comfort, and entertainment". Entertainment here is anything that provides meaning or flow states in your life. Something to keep your big brain occupied. It could be ANYTHING that is not survival or comfort-seeking. Washing the dishes, probably out of comfort-seeking. Going to work, probably out of survival needs. Buying food, survival. Going to the bathroom, mainly survival. Going mountain-climbing, entertainment need. Religious observation, entertainment-seeking. Reading philosophy, entertainment seeking. Saving someone who is injured- taking away the discomfort of seeing someone in pain. For survival to work on a societal level, it may also fall into that to teach altruism when needed. Our core dissatisfaction with being, needs an avenue in the linguistic-cultural framework of a society and with our linguistically-based brains to interact with it. However, many layers of soci-cultural avenues to carry it out, the core goes back to survival, comfort, entertainment.

    While Sysphus was condemmed to push the boulder, he was not condemned to be sad whilst doing soRisk

    Yes but the boulder being pushed is the unmovable conditions. Coping mechanisms to deal with the initial conditions are all this is. It doesn't change the conditions.

    I'm more interested in catharsis through complaint. We need to recognize the suffering and not try to smooth it over, deny it, sublimate it, ignore it, accept it, etc. The best way to rebel against the fate is to not create the fate for yet more people by procreation. Stop the whole madness altogether.

    Just as with Arthur, I disagree with you here. You are setting the rules of engagement without any logical foundation to them. Claiming things must be so and not justifying why.
    - Our wills need to survive. What is suicide but a logical contradition to this so called universal law
    - comfort. What about those who seek discomfort, even enjoy pain.
    Unjustified, unverified rules of engagement.
    Risk

    Actually Schop wrote a lot about suicide, and that it was simply the will, acting against itself, thus still using will to negate the will. It is finding comfort in non-existence.

    People mostly seek discomfort for a greater sense of entertainment or for a greater sense of comfort later on. Exercise for example for health or the exercise high or to look a different less discomforting way.

    Observation and experience tell me this is the best understanding of what is going on.

    The freedom this perspective offers when you abondon the meta narratives and recognise choice for what it is and can be, seems only achievable through post modernist thinking.

    Hence What is it good for, absolutely EVERYTHING.
    Risk

    No meta-narratives..but you like your electricity right? You like living in a dwelling right? That requires all the minutia-mongering of the meta-narrative of modernism. You can hack it in the wilderness but that required you to be in the meta-narrative to try to break away from it (usually unsuccessfully as even tribal societies must live in the narratives of their tribal way of life and teach the survival context of that way of life).
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