the language of postmodernism

What did you say? And what did you mean by it?

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iambiguous
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Re: the language of postmodernism

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Modernism vs. Postmodernism
at The Living Philosophy website
Modernism

For our purposes here the exact dates do not matter because we’re not really talking about a historical period. Following Foucault’s analysis in his essay What is Enlightenment? we will be treating modernity more “as an attitude than as a period of history.”

And this attitude is most salient in the period known as the Long 19th Century which spanned from the French Revolution in 1789 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This was the time when Modernity had come into its fullness and was the dominant force in the culture.
And hardly coincidental that this basically overlaps historically with the spread of capitalism around the globe and the industrial revolution. The modern industrial nations wobbling back and forth between the rugged individual and the welfare state. And now it seems with the deeply entrenched reality of the global economy, the rest hardly even matters.
Foucault identifies a number of traits of Modernity including:

a questioning or rejection of tradition;
the prioritising of individualism, freedom and formal equality;
faith in inevitable social, scientific and technological progress,
a movement from feudalism toward capitalism and the market economy,
industrialization and urbanization,
secularization and,
the development of the nation-state, representative democracy and public education
Now all we need is a context. Then point by point we can elaborate on what Foucault's traits/attributes above mean to us. Subjectively, existentially. And, of course, those among us who equate enlightenment with their own objectivist dogmas can explain how they came to grasp this...philosophically?

Then point by point, context by context, the postmodernists among us can deconstruct these arguments one by one. Finally pinning down the parts that are immune to deconstruction and are actually applicable to all of us.
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iambiguous
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Re: the language of postmodernism

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Modernism vs. Postmodernism
at The Living Philosophy website
The groundwork for Modernity was laid by the philosophers of the French Enlightenment who influenced the Founding Fathers of the US and the rebels of the French Revolution. The ideals of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in the US and ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ in France were the clarion call of Modernity.
The groundwork being capitalism. The historical evolution of the market economy and a burgeoning world trade. Everything changed. Not the least with God and religion. Gradually over time Christianity had to make its own adjustments...from "the dark ages" to "the enlightenment". From an other-worldly Catholicism to a very much this [and for the amoral entrepreneurs] only this world where prosperity was deemed to be a sign of God's approval. Indeed, for some denominations, the church basically was just a business.
Man was liberated from his oppressors. The monarchies and aristocracies were cast aside, church and state were separated; Modernity was to be an age of Reason.
Cue the objectivists:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... ideologies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_s ... philosophy

Reason, indeed. Pick one from the links above. Or start a new one.
The worldview of Modernism was characterised by an extravagant optimism and confidence in its own power. Reason was the guiding principle of the age and the novelty of it was intoxicating. With it came a naivete and optimism about the inevitability of Progress in all spheres of life.
And, sure enough, within the realm of science and in regard to interactions in the either/or world, reason has brought into existence inventions and technologies and experiences that most of us couldn't explain if our lives depended on it. The modern world "for all practical purposes" just is what it is.

But then there is the profound lack of Progress in those realms of life that revolve around moral and political and religious conflicts. And, really, how might the modernists and the postmodernists be distinguished here?
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iambiguous
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Re: the language of postmodernism

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Modernism vs. Postmodernism
at The Living Philosophy website
This confidence [see above] rose to a peak at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century. During this time, new technologies that revolutionised life were emerging every year. In the space of a few decades, dozens of world-altering inventions appeared on the scene. For the first time we had bikes, planes and cars, lightbulbs, telephones and the radio. Diseases that once wiped-out entire swaths of the population were now being eradicated.
Okay, so ask yourself this: how is modernism differentiated from postmodernism in regard to the extraordinary progress made here? How relevant is it at all in regard scientific advancement, new technologies, new inventions, new manufacturing and engineering feats?

Perhaps someday in regard to such things as the quantum world, deontology, determinism, the Big Questions, the existence of God, etc., there will be such distinctions made. Or, sure, maybe they are already making them, and it hasn't gotten around to me.
Science was making rapid leaps forward and it seemed that it was a mere matter of tying up loose ends. In the Long 19th Century the Laws of Thermodynamics were formulated, the Periodic Table was created, and Einstein published his revolutionary papers on relativity.
And, clearly, one of the main reasons scientific progress can be made is that there is always a right answer in the either/or world. Physicists and chemists and biologists etc., really do have to go all the way out to the end of their respective limbs before squabbles popped up in attempting to grasp an actual TOE....the TOE?

One that allows for a definitive understanding of our flesh and blood interactions in turn?
Even in philosophy there was a fervent excitement about the new study of language and logic. In one of the most typical expressions of Modernism’s self-confidence Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed in 1922 to have dissolved all the problems of philosophy writing that

“The problems are dissolved in the actual sense of the word — like a lump of sugar in water.”
Of course, we don't speak of the "early Wittgenstein" and the "late Wittgenstein" for nothing.

And for those who are sticking with the self-confidence expressed above in regard to language and logic, let's note a set of circumstances, and explore just how far language and logic can go in regard to expressing confidence in the face of conflicting goods.
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iambiguous
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Re: the language of postmodernism

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Modernism vs. Postmodernism
at The Living Philosophy website
On the social and cultural front it was the age of Democracy when across the world women were getting the vote and slavery was being banned.
Back again to the historical consequences of capitalism. Democracy because that is more suited to a market economy. That plus the deep state of course. The inherent nature of political economy. The end of chattel slavery because wage slaves get the job done in turn and once they punch out they're on their own.
But it was also what Matei Călinescu described as “the age of ideology” when people like Marx and Freud tried to give exhaustive accounts of human life. It was the age of Communism, Anarchism and Fascism which each had a grand totalising narrative that proposed a revolution in the ways society is arranged.
And what of the 21st Century? The century of "lifestyles"? The century where one or another rendition of pop culture and mindless consumption [made in the USA] spreads around the globe and those who own and operate the global economy are themselves more or less partial to autocracy? Will America follow Russia and China down the road to a flat-out state capitalist ruling class?
Modernism had big dreams. It was cresting the wave of progress and, with the inevitable success of that wave, anything seemed possible. It was a time of audacious dreaming.
In other words, the "age of ideology". The belief that, "okay, God is dead! So what, who needs Him?!"

Instead, you pick one of these:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... ideologies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_s ... philosophy

Or, again, you eschew politics altogether and let your life revolve around all of the things that money can buy.
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iambiguous
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Re: the language of postmodernism

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Modernism vs. Postmodernism
at The Living Philosophy website
Postmodernism

By the second half of the 20th century, it became obvious that the vision was a fantasy and with that the conflict of Modernism vs Postmodernism began to gain cultural prominence.
As I noted on another thread...
Historically, existentialism as a philosophy is, in my view, derived from Nietzsche's conjecture that "God is dead" and as a result of contemplating "what is to be done?" in the wake of the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World war and then the reality of living at time where [re the Cuban Missile Crisis] a nuclear holocaust was seemingly eminent.
First, Nietzsche drew our attention [philosophically, morally, politically etc.] to the consequences of a No God world. And then the 20th Century made it just as abundantly clear what the consequences of ideology would be. What then were the odds that a new Ism would come into existence?

Instead, we basically have what's left of the old Isms. And the world seems increasingly more intent on dividing itself up between the competing amoral "show me the money" autocracies -- Putin, Xi, Trump.

As for the postmodernists...look around you. Aside from the academic community, what impact have they made on the world we live in? These folks -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodern_philosophy -- next to the folks on Wall Street and their cronies in Washington? Postmodernism next to the juggernauts that are pop culture and mindless consumption and reality TV?
The promises of liberty equality and fraternity, of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness began to appear increasingly hollow with every year. The brutality of the French in Algeria was hardly an embodiment of liberty, equality or fraternity. The soldiers addicted to heroin in Vietnam were far from the Jeffersonian life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The millions of Vietnamese who even today suffer the downstream effects of the American Agent Orange would undoubtedly agree.
Of course, that's all predicated on one particular set of political prejudices. There are others. Many, many others. Just as there are, in turn, countless conflicting assessments of what "liberty, equality and fraternity" themselves mean. It's just that most postmodernists here are likely to argue that this is basically the natural order of things. There is no one size fits all ideological agenda that one or another rendition of "globalism" can sustain into the best of all possible worlds.

But this doesn't make the either/or world any more susceptible to "anything goes". The premodern, the modern and whatever some construe the postmodern world to be are all intertwined in the same laws of nature.
Women had been given the vote but were still ostracised from the workplace and far from true autonomy. The African-American community may have been technically freed from slavery but to call them even second-class citizens in 1950s and 60s America would have been laughable.

As the second half of the twenty-century progressed, it became obvious that the equality and liberty that had been promised in Modernism’s wave of revolutions against the old powers was for many, a horizon that drew no closer.
Again, modernism often starts from the assumption that in regard to conflicting goods of this sort it is possible [philosophically or otherwise] to "think up" -- to define and to deduce -- the most rational and virtuous of human behaviors...while for most postmodernists, all of that becomes hopelessly subjective...readily open to "deconstruction" and the like.
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Re: the language of postmodernism

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Modernism vs. Postmodernism
at The Living Philosophy website
Dr King: "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.
Woke, right? Well, at least for these guys: https://knowthyself.forumotion.net/f6-agora
The balance of power had shifted but the hands that held it fitted the same demographic profile. But now instead of monarchs and aristocrats, there were tycoons and bankers.
Cue [among others] Marx and Engels. Premodern, modern, postmodern. There has almost always been one of another rendition of the ruling class. It's not like those on Wall Street and their political cronies in Washington here in America read Adorno, Lacan, Foucaut, Derrida etc., and think to themselves, "uh, oh...what now?"

Money doesn't talk these days, it absolutely bellows. And for an increasingly larger and larger portion of the global population, it's the new religion. And, to the best of my knowledge, there's no such thing as a postmodern bank account.
Modernism had taken great leaps forward. But it was not enough. Cynicism began to set in.
Indeed, as The Clash suggested in The Magnificent Seven, "Plato the Greek or Rin Tin Tin...who's more famous to the billion millions?"

Today the billion millions are thoroughly engrossed in, among other things, the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce romance. A pop star and football player!

In fact, how does my own cynicism stack up against the reality of, say, pop culture?
The dream of Modernism was dead. And in its wake Postmodernism emerged. This attitude of Postmodernity was everything that Modernity wasn’t. Bye bye to the grand narratives, to the naivete and optimism, to utopian dreams of happy ever after and the glorifying of science.
Trust me:

Postmodernists, like all the rest of us, are, from the cradle to the grave, embedded in the either/or world. Birth, school, work, death. Subsistence: food, water, shelter. Bills to pay, relationships to sustain, responsibilities to bear. It's just that, like me, they are considerably less inclined to pin down the is/ought world...objectively?

And any number of men and women are still convinced that their own "grand narrative" is the One True Path to Enlightenment.

Objectivists, let's call them.
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