The Death of Postmodernism

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The Death of Postmodernism

#1  Postby logical bob » Jan 24, 2011 2:20 pm

http://www.philosophynow.org/issue58/Th ... And_Beyond

The articles's quite lengthy, so I'll summarise.

The author claims that far from being avant garde, postmodernism has become irrelevant because it fails to describe contempory culture. Postmodern theory was created to discuss texts which were mainly books and films - things which remain in the same fixed form for a long period, although their meanings are up for grabs. Today, the dominant texts are ones "whose content and dynamics are invented or directed by the participating viewer". Reality TV (which couldn't meaningfully be repeated in its original form), online material like this forum whose content is constantly changed by the participants, and porn and computer games which are "used" rather then read or watched are all outside the scope of postmodern theory.

The author notes that university courses on postmodernism draw exclusively on books written before most undergraduates were born. He argues that academia is comfortable as it is, so nobody has noticed that the outside world has moved on without them.

What do you think?
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#2  Postby Clive Durdle » Jan 24, 2011 4:28 pm

Is out of datedness a criteria for philosophy?

I thought Sokal had debunked it with the postmodernism generator.

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#3  Postby Paul G » Jan 24, 2011 4:32 pm

It would be useful to define postmodernism. Essentially, it's merely the next stage after modernity......And isn't overly specific.

As for outdated books, manifestly not true. We studied books often only a year or two old aswell as current articles
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#4  Postby Clive Durdle » Jan 24, 2011 4:36 pm

Not sure there is a stage after modernism.

I split the world in two, enlightened and mumbojumboists. Snag is we are all infected by mumbojumboism, primarlily via religion but also by interlecktwals into stuff like Orientalism, who really want to bring back Sati for example because it is a cultural tradition.
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The Death of Postmodernism

#5  Postby felltoearth » Jan 24, 2011 4:40 pm

Bookmarking.

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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#6  Postby Paul G » Jan 24, 2011 4:41 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:Not sure there is a stage after modernism.

I split the world in two, enlightened and mumbojumboists. Snag is we are all infected by mumbojumboism, primarlily via religion but also by interlecktwals into stuff like Orientalism, who really want to bring back Sati for example because it is a cultural tradition.


Again, depends what is meant by modernism.

I'm looking at this from a sociology background. I've glanced at the article and realised I need to read it in full before commenting.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#7  Postby katja z » Jan 24, 2011 5:08 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:Not sure there is a stage after modernism.

I split the world in two, enlightened and mumbojumboists. Snag is we are all infected by mumbojumboism, primarlily via religion but also by interlecktwals into stuff like Orientalism, who really want to bring back Sati for example because it is a cultural tradition.


Now I know that you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Show me where Edward Said or any other serious postcolonial critic suggested bringing back sati. :crazy:
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#8  Postby logical bob » Jan 24, 2011 5:40 pm

:this:

Sokal exposed one journal which lacked a review process. To suggest that "debunks" postmodernism in its entirety in every discipline is ridiculous. It would be like picking apart one of Sokal's rather flimsy papers on the philosophy of science and announcing you'd debunked physics.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#9  Postby katja z » Jan 24, 2011 6:38 pm

Anyway, some random thoughts about the OP (don't have the time to read the article now, sorry) ...
I think that postmodernist literary criticism - which your article seems to be referring to - has produced some interesting observations of (part of) the literary production labelled as "postmodernist", but its descriptive power is limited even there. In particular, Lyotard's concept of the collapse of master narratives doesn't really seem like an adequate description of the contemporary world (this has nothing with P. becoming obsolete, I don't think it was ever true outside the academia :ask:) I would say it has also been partly based on misreading certain non-Western literary phenomena (magical realism), and many of its themes are largely irrelevant for a lot (probably most) of non-Western production. Here it gets really messy, because there have been attempts to incorporate that as "liminal postmodernisms" ... personally, I prefer not to go down that road and avoid the term altogether. It makes my life much simpler :grin:
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#10  Postby Clive Durdle » Jan 24, 2011 6:46 pm

Image

http://misszoecat.tripod.com/dali.htm
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#11  Postby Daan » Jan 27, 2011 9:58 pm

katja z wrote:Anyway, some random thoughts about the OP (don't have the time to read the article now, sorry) ...
I think that postmodernist literary criticism - which your article seems to be referring to - has produced some interesting observations of (part of) the literary production labelled as "postmodernist", but its descriptive power is limited even there. In particular, Lyotard's concept of the collapse of master narratives doesn't really seem like an adequate description of the contemporary world (this has nothing with P. becoming obsolete, I don't think it was ever true outside the academia :ask:) I would say it has also been partly based on misreading certain non-Western literary phenomena (magical realism), and many of its themes are largely irrelevant for a lot (probably most) of non-Western production. Here it gets really messy, because there have been attempts to incorporate that as "liminal postmodernisms" ... personally, I prefer not to go down that road and avoid the term altogether. It makes my life much simpler :grin:


There are some things in life, the life cycle, family, friends etc. that have never changed during romanticism, modernism postmodernism and pseudo-modernism. People still need food for their daily survival, children still need parents coming together to make them in order to get born. I don't think romanticism and modernism are gone. Romanticism is of all ages, and modernism is alive and kicking in political ideologies. But, perhaps postmodernism is really dead. It was a nice reaction against the dominant believe in progress, but it has nothing to say against what is called pseudo-modernism in the article.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#12  Postby UndercoverElephant » Jan 31, 2011 1:06 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:Is out of datedness a criteria for philosophy?

I thought Sokal had debunked it with the postmodernism generator.

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/


It doesn't work like that. Postmodernism is a position that philosophers end up at after they've realised that the previous history of philosophy can't possibly lead them anywhere else. So you can't "debunk it with the postmodern generator". You can ridicule it and you can fail to understand why the people who end up defending it end up defending it, but you cannot go back to pre-postmodernist philosophical positions once you understand it. The only place you can go forwards to is an anti-philosophical Rorty-esque pragmatism, or to an ultimate sort of cynical nihilism as displayed by CDP.

In other words, even if you think postmodernism is "out of date", it is still less out of date than the sort of position that most people who post on these boards like to defend (e.g. materialism or metaphysical realism, which are typical of "modernism").
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#13  Postby Daan » Jan 31, 2011 1:17 pm

The article is on too vague a subject; whether the cultural dominance of postmodernism is over. I don't know if there even was a cultural dominance. The bluntness on the internet is mostly common daily life expressed on the internet. In earlier times, there were less texts, and common daily life was less visible, so postmodernism got more attention in the media.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#14  Postby Daan » Jan 31, 2011 1:19 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:In other words, even if you think postmodernism is "out of date", it is still less out of date than the sort of position that most people who post on these boards like to defend (e.g. materialism or metaphysical realism, which are typical of "modernism").


I think postmodernism is a way of turning your back to society, but issues that people have within society and politics won't dissapear if a bucnh of so-called postmodernists turn their backs on it.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#15  Postby logical bob » Jan 31, 2011 1:23 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Clive Durdle wrote:Is out of datedness a criteria for philosophy?

I thought Sokal had debunked it with the postmodernism generator.

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/


It doesn't work like that. Postmodernism is a position that philosophers end up at after they've realised that the previous history of philosophy can't possibly lead them anywhere else. So you can't "debunk it with the postmodern generator". You can ridicule it and you can fail to understand why the people who end up defending it end up defending it, but you cannot go back to pre-postmodernist philosophical positions once you understand it. The only place you can go forwards to is an anti-philosophical Rorty-esque pragmatism, or to an ultimate sort of cynical nihilism as displayed by CDP.

In other words, even if you think postmodernism is "out of date", it is still less out of date than the sort of position that most people who post on these boards like to defend (e.g. materialism or metaphysical realism, which are typical of "modernism").

Postmodernism in that sense does seem teleological in the Hegelian sense that there is a history of ideas and it leads to now (which might look suspiciously like a grand narrative). Shouldn't we anticipate it giving rise and then giving way to some kind of post-postmodernism? Why characterise the next step as having to be backwards?
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#16  Postby UndercoverElephant » Jan 31, 2011 1:58 pm

logical bob wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Clive Durdle wrote:Is out of datedness a criteria for philosophy?

I thought Sokal had debunked it with the postmodernism generator.

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/


It doesn't work like that. Postmodernism is a position that philosophers end up at after they've realised that the previous history of philosophy can't possibly lead them anywhere else. So you can't "debunk it with the postmodern generator". You can ridicule it and you can fail to understand why the people who end up defending it end up defending it, but you cannot go back to pre-postmodernist philosophical positions once you understand it. The only place you can go forwards to is an anti-philosophical Rorty-esque pragmatism, or to an ultimate sort of cynical nihilism as displayed by CDP.

In other words, even if you think postmodernism is "out of date", it is still less out of date than the sort of position that most people who post on these boards like to defend (e.g. materialism or metaphysical realism, which are typical of "modernism").

Postmodernism in that sense does seem teleological in the Hegelian sense that there is a history of ideas and it leads to now (which might look suspiciously like a grand narrative). Shouldn't we anticipate it giving rise and then giving way to some kind of post-postmodernism? Why characterise the next step as having to be backwards?


There can be no post-postmodernism. It is the end of the process of philosophising. It leaves you nowhere to go. Post-modernism is the end of the sequence of ideas which started with Kant. As for Hegel...I'd argue that the first postmodernists were Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, both of whom saw Hegel as stereotypical of what philosophy could no longer be.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#17  Postby Daan » Jan 31, 2011 2:18 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:There can be no post-postmodernism. It is the end of the process of philosophising. It leaves you nowhere to go. Post-modernism is the end of the sequence of ideas which started with Kant. As for Hegel...I'd argue that the first postmodernists were Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, both of whom saw Hegel as stereotypical of what philosophy could no longer be.


I read a book by Jonathan Dollimore, called Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, and his main theme is that what we call postmodernism is millenia old and didn't start in the 1960s. Take the Bible book Ecclesiastes for instance. It closely resembles postmodern ideas.
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#18  Postby UndercoverElephant » Jan 31, 2011 2:41 pm

Daan wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:There can be no post-postmodernism. It is the end of the process of philosophising. It leaves you nowhere to go. Post-modernism is the end of the sequence of ideas which started with Kant. As for Hegel...I'd argue that the first postmodernists were Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, both of whom saw Hegel as stereotypical of what philosophy could no longer be.


I read a book by Jonathan Dollimore, called Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, and his main theme is that what we call postmodernism is millenia old and didn't start in the 1960s. Take the Bible book Ecclesiastes for instance. It closely resembles postmodern ideas.


That may be true, but PM as we know it came about when western philosophers gave up trying to produce any grand systematic theories and philosophy turned all relativist and language-based. I'm not saying it started in the 1960's, by the way. It may have reached a peak at that point, but it started at the end of the 19th century...IMO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concluding ... _Fragments
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#19  Postby Daan » Jan 31, 2011 2:51 pm

Voltaire's Candide seems pre-postmodern, or what about Schopenhauer or Byron?
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Re: The Death of Postmodernism

#20  Postby logical bob » Jan 31, 2011 3:09 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:That may be true, but PM as we know it came about when western philosophers gave up trying to produce any grand systematic theories and philosophy turned all relativist and language-based.

Not sure about your definition there. That would make Wittgenstein and J.L. Austin postmodernists.

As for Hegel...I'd argue that the first postmodernists were Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, both of whom saw Hegel as stereotypical of what philosophy could no longer be.

And I'd say that Nietzsche's Overman and the existentialism that drew on Kierkegaard are about as modernist as it gets.

UndercoverElephant wrote:There can be no post-postmodernism. It is the end of the process of philosophising. It leaves you nowhere to go. Post-modernism is the end of the sequence of ideas which started with Kant.

But before we announce the end of philosophy, did you read the article linked to in the OP? It makes the rather more modest claim that PM as a method of cultural criticism fails to describe contemporary culture, mainly because of technological changes and new media, and that contemporary cultural studies has already left PM behind.
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