Friday, June 24, 2005

A Different Description of Postmodernism

A different description of postmodernism: postmodernism--
  • accepts the inevitability of subjectivity in human observations--what we see depends a great deal on where we sit;
  • seeks to regard all viewpoints as equally valid
  • recognizes the multivalence of texts (i.e., that texts can be interpreted in a number of valid ways; most texts do not have only ONE correct interpretation)
  • understands that our interpretations are inevitably shaped by the perspectives we want to advocate
  • rejects foundationalism, the idea that a universally valid set of assumptions exists, and that all people--if they'll just look at things objectively (i.e., if they'll just look at things the way we do)--will agree with us about what those assumptions are

Again, these categories are slippery. I'm still not happy with my description of postmodernism. In the next post, let me see if I can restate this description in a more cogent form.


Blogger Leo said...


You've bitten off a pretty big chunk of stuff to chew over on your blog. Here are some comments: If post-modernism (what's next, post-post-modernism?) "accepts the inevitablility of subjectivity in human observations," then how do they know that this particular observation is true? Couldn't this observation be simply their subjectivity showing? The same can be true about all viewpoints being equally valid--the objective viewpoint and the subjective viewpoint say two different things? Can they both be right? Put another way? Can Jesus and Mohammed both be right on what constitutes a "relationship with God"? How about this one--is the pedophile's viewpoint equally valid to the law enforcement officer's viewpoint who makes the arrest? What do we mean by "equally valid"? The problem here seems to be that our language is rather absolutist as we try to describe some relativistic views. I'll be curious to read more of what you have to say.


8:38 PM  
Blogger gratefulbear said...

Actually, there are already scholars talking about "post-postmodernism." Ken Wilber's "integral philosophy" is described as post-postmodernist, or "second tier" postmodernism.

4:51 PM  

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