Explaining Postmodernism

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Hegel's contribution to postmodernism

  1. Reality is an entirely subjective creation;
  2. Contradictions are built into reason and reality;
  3. Since reality evolves contradictorily, truth is relative to time and place; and
  4. The collective, not the individual, is the operative unit.

Summary of irrationalist themes

The legacy of the irrationalists for the twentieth century included four key themes:

  1. An agreement with Kant that reason is impotent to know reality;
  2. an agreement with Hegel that reality is deeply conflictual and/or absurd;
  3. a conclusion that reason is therefore trumped by claims based on feeling, instinct, or leaps of faith; and
  4. that the non-rational and the irrational yield deep truths about reality.

Heidegger and postmodernism

  1. Conflict and contradiction are the deepest truths of reality;
  2. reason is subjective and impotent to reach truths about reality;
  3. Reason's elements - words and concepts - are obstacles that must be un-crusted, subjected to Destruktion, or otherwise unmasked;
  4. Logical contradiction is neither a sign of failure nor of anything particularly significant at all;
  5. Feelings, especially morbid feelings of anxiety and dread, are a deeper guide than reason;
  6. The entire Western tradition of philosophy - whether Platonic, Aristotelian, Lockean, or Cartesian - based as it is on the law of non-contradiction and subject/object distinction, is the enemy to be overcome.

First thesis: Postmodernism is the end result of Kantian epistemology

Postmodernism is the first ruthlessly consistent statement of the consequences of rejecting reason, those consequences being necessary given the history of epistemology since Kant.

todo: summarise p81-83

Second thesis

Postmodernism is the academic far Left's epistemological strategy for responding to the crisis caused by the failures of socialism in theory and in practice.