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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

Postmodernism – Kristina, Daniel, Leanne

Postmodernists believe that society (economics, dominant races and genders, politics, etc.) has tainted the language and definitions we use and basically everything we’ve come to know as “knowledge” and so therefore they believe that science is subjective and that subjectivity is based on the dominant factors of society in that time period.

By extension, postmodernists are also considered to be major skeptics because they come to question the truth of essentially anything that has any sign of being tainted by society. While they believe science is subjective, in an ideal postmodernist world everything would be completely objective and completely free of any social bias that may exist in our world today.

However, despite a postmodernist utopia being completely bias-free, postmodernists also believe that such a world is unattainable due to societal influences permeating everything down to our very definitions of words, and so even the way we perceive facts is with some bias.

Postmodernists seem like a pretty depressing bunch of people, don’t they?



5 thoughts on “Postmodernism – Kristina, Daniel, Leanne

  1. Hi Kristina, Daniel and Leanne,

    Could you elaborate more on how you have come to this understanding of postmodernism? That is, whose take on postmodernism are you drawing on?

    I ask because in this post it appears as though postmodernism is primarily linked with bias and realism. As a school of critique, however, postmodernism reacts against ruling narratives, dominant epistemes or discourses – claims to essential ‘reality’ or ‘truth’. That is, postmodernism is less a position than a gap – it’s full of ‘Yes, but…’ and ‘Yes, and…’

    I find that it’s helpful to differentiate between postmodernism and poststructuralism:
    • postmodernism: denial of essentialistic meaning / focus = knowledge <= epistemology
    • poststructuralism: denial of essentialistic identity / focus = semiotics <= ontology

    Finally, saying that "postmodernists believe X, Y, and Z" might be a little dangerous … Instead, it might be helpful to offer a few specific aspects of postmodern critique – and maybe unpack it a little.

    For example, Baudrillard argues that the modernist world is made up of simulacra – copies without originals. This is a great example of postmodernism because H, J, and K. Moreover, Baudrillard's simulacra remind me of D, E, and F.

    Or, Foucault seems to flirt with postmodernism when he L, M, and N; but later, when he O, P, and Q, he's far more structuralist.

    Posted by Tobey Steeves (@symphily) | October 17, 2012, 5:44 am
  2. Thanks for the post,

    I also found the above description of Post Modernism to be interesting. I’m no expert on the topic and it may be that postmodernism by its very nature resists definition. I am, however, used to hearing about ‘an incredulity towards Metanarratives’ (Lyotard), ‘Deconstructionism’, ‘truth as a will to power’ (Foucault), and ‘language games’ (Wittgenstein) when the topic of postmodernity arises. Did you come across these ideas in your research? I’m sure they would have a dramatic bearing on the issue of ‘objectivity in science’. And would say, Thomas Kuhn, be classified as ‘postmodern’ in his approach to scientific knowledge?

    Postmodernism does depress me a little but that may say a lot more about me than about postmodernism 😉


    Posted by Chris Price | October 17, 2012, 6:58 pm
    • Hey Chris!

      No, I personally didn’t come across any of the aforementioned ideas while researching, however I do see overlap and extensions between ideas. I did, however, come across the term “nihilism” – essentially the rejection of all established laws, which I interpret as a rather extreme case of postmodernism.

      In response to your question about Kuhn, I think the answer to your question would largely depend on who’s answering it and their interpretation of postmodernism – and of course, their knowledge of Thomas Kuhn himself. (That may even beg the question “what is the true meaning of postmodernism?” Haha.) To me, Kuhn is indeed a postmodernist. Postmodernism is based upon questioning ideas and their foundations until one cannot question them any further, resulting in either a paradigm shift (which Kuhn himself invented) or the solidification of the idea (of which Kuhn developed a criteria for measuring).

      Thanks for the reply!

      Posted by carrotdandan | October 18, 2012, 4:06 am


  1. Pingback: Postmodernism – Kristina, Daniel, Leanne « Tredding Deep Waters - October 17, 2012

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