Postmodernism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The postmodernist movement is a reaction to the ideas of the enlightenment, often referred to as modernity. Basically, it developed in the mid 20th century, largely due to the developments of the 19th and early 20th century. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Postmodernism.

Merits of Postmodernism

While postmodernist thought is far from perfect, it does raise good points. Here are a few valid claims postmodernists make:

  • There is social conditioning
  • And, there are cultural customs that different societies hold to
  • Art leads to different interpretations

Errors of Postmodernism

Even though they raise valid concerns, postmodernist thinkers make mistakes. These are a few places postmodernism goes wrong:

  • It confuses tastes and preferences with claims and opinions on facts
  • Social conditions aren’t the only influence on our lives or means of improving them
  • It over-emphasizes power

Correcting Postmodernism

In order to correct Postmodernism, we have to look at the core of it. The main issue I find is that it is concerned with things that exist, but they over-emphasize them or lend too much credence to those facets of their philosophy. For instance, there are power structures that influence our world. However, the way postmodernists look for these structures in every nook and cranny of human culture is disordered.

It also holds contradicting ideas like the universal truths of power structures and hierarchies alongside ideas of radical self-referentiality. Lastly, I judge a philosophy by it’s fruits, and the fields that have been influenced by postmodernism have been corrupted. Many are hardly intelligible at this point.

Quotes about Postmodernism:

“A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.”

–Roger Scruton

“…What are the principles of their theories, on what evidence are they based, what do they explain that wasn’t already obvious, etc.?…If [these requests] can’t be met, then I’d suggest recourse to Hume‘s advice in similar circumstances: ‘to the flames’.”

–Noam Chomsky

“The idea that we live in a postmodern culture is a myth. In fact, a postmodern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unliveable. People are not relativistic when it comes to matters of science, engineering, and technology; rather, they are relativistic and pluralistic in matters of religion and ethics. But, of course, that’s not postmodernism; that’s modernism!”

–William Lane Craig

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