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Thread: Postmodernism is an academic delusion

  1. #1 Postmodernism is an academic delusion 
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    Despite its academic cladding, and current fashionable place with geography scholars, it offers very little analytical value, because of its inherent contradictions.

    In celebrating relativism, postmodernism makes any absolute statements of truth ‘wrong’. In doing so, it establishes a moral order of ‘wrongness’ above ‘rightness’, and in creating this order, falls foul of it’s own relativistic values.

    In celebrating difference, it presents a multiplicity of identity and characteristics. In so doing, it represents us more in terms of our Difference, rather than what is Similar. This can be a more divisive than inclusive tool.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Your brief summary appears to demonstrate that postmodernism is a perspective, not that it is a delusion. A variety of perspectives are nearly always valuable.


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    In Geography particularly at the moment, postmodernism is presented as the next set of values that we will, and are living by, to replace the modernist values of the Renaissance. It condemns modernisms attempt to codify everything into one system, but by saying that the world cannot be placed into one 'theory of everything' it is making an assessment of the same type as modernism.
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    You are still offering nothing that suggests, let alone proves that it is a delusion.
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    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    As a geography student I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who's fed up with post-modernism :-D

    And you're right, what does post-modernism really say? It's a critique on modernism (and a sensible one), but does that give it any value of it own? It points us to a potential problem, but it's no solution by itself.

    Just to give people an idea of what we are talking about: modernism refers to the idea that science can create complete, definitive awnsers to problems. In geography and planning this means that interventionist policies are justified, because we are capable of fully understanding problems. Post-modernism is a critique on this worldview. It says in general that there can be more than one awnser to a question, that we will never be sure of anything and therefore that intervention in realworld affairs is a tricky thing. Some scientists take this idea too far (in my opinion) and just tell everyone to stop trying, and 'celebrate diversity' as Mackinder stated before.

    btw, Mackinder from your name I assume that you are a geographer? :wink: I study human geography, specialisation regional geography.
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  7. #6  
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    In celebrating relativism, postmodernism makes any absolute statements of truth ‘wrong’.
    Such absolute statements should not be seen as an attempt at creating an absolute rule, but making a logical deduction to prove that absolute statements are nonsense. After all, post-modernism, among other things, identifies itself in opposing such binary thought, including that of 'truth'. How can one expect something to be true or false? Does it not instantly become possible that our minds are too feeble to properly grasp the universe to make such a daring statement?

    Mr U
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    - It is my contention that PM is not what it pretends to be: that of a break from Modernism, in that the changes described by PM scholars have not taken place, and secondly even if they had, PM is does not offer the clean break from the past that it suggests, and it may be more appropriate to call it late-modernism. In these ways, PM is an academic delusion.

    -It is not possible to be fed up with something you do not believe exist (!) Have you read Harvey? He takes an overly Marxist stance but believes post-modernism to be the reshuffling of the capitalist system, to hide the exploitation inherent in the system from those who are in a priveleged position. I think he has a point.

    I am...
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    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I'm perfectly able to be fed up with the continuous, gratuitious claims of modernist ignorance :P

    Harvey's idea's almost sound like a conspiracy theory, but I guess I shouldn't judge them before I've read about them.

    *offtopic*
    I'm still planning to read his 'Social justice and the city', but I just can't find the time for it. Have you read it?
    */offtopic*
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  10. #9  
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    I think he has a point.
    I don't. If anything, PM does reflect on the values and ideas of modernism, and in this regard, it is dependent of them. For this, I have chosen to not call myself a post-modernist, as I believe a free, libertarian state is required for post-modernism to maintain itself.

    Does this, however mean that freedom is some ultimate value with which everything must be measured, as existentialists might appreciate it? No, not at all. Merely because the generation of freedom is at the base of post-modernism does not mean it is absolute or in any other way alter post-modernism.

    You have shown, as stated before that PM is a system based on prior thoughts. By that premise, modernism too would be a delusion, which I doubt serves your point. Why would pm be a delusion, seeing as it grants so much fullfillment. Any view of the universe that, at its core, admits the infinite complexity of that universe can not be more desillusioned than those that profess to know the key values and the very essence of that same universe..!

    Mr U
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