Criticism of postmodernism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Criticism of postmodernism are intellectually diverse, including the assertions that postmodernism is meaningless and promotes obscurantism.

Contents

Vagueness

Philosopher Noam Chomsky has argued that postmodernism is meaningless because it adds nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge. He asks why postmodernist intellectuals won't respond like people in other fields when asked:

"Seriously, what are the principles of their theories, on what evidence are they based, what do they explain that wasn't already obvious, etc? These are fair requests for anyone to make. If they can't be met, then I'd suggest recourse to Hume's advice in similar circumstances: to the flames."

Moral relativism

Some critics have interpreted postmodern society to be synonymous with moral relativism and contributing to deviant behavior. See, Postmodernity, subsection "Anti-postmodernity critiques."

Culturally conservative writers are characterized as tending to look askance at the postmodernist era as ideologically agnostic and replete with moral relativism or situation ethics. Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler offer the following definition of postmodernism: “A worldview characterized by the belief that truth doesn’t exist in any objective sense but is created rather than discovered.”… Truth is “created by the specific culture and exists only in that culture. Therefore, any system or statement that tries to communicate truth is a power play, an effort to dominate other cultures.”

Many philosophical movements reject both modernity and postmodernity as healthy states of being. Some of these are associated with cultural and religious conservatism that views postmodernity as a rejection of basic spiritual or natural truths and in its emphasis on material and physical pleasure an explicit rejection of inner balance and spirituality. Many of these critiques attack specifically the tendency to the "abandonment of objective truth" as the crucial unacceptable feature of the postmodern condition and often aim to offer a meta-narrative that provides this truth.

Marxian criticisms

Callinicos attacks notable postmodern thinkers such as Baudrillard and Lyotard, arguing postmodernism "reflects the disappointed revolutionary generation of '68, (particularly those of May 68) and the incorporation of many of its members into the professional and managerial 'new middle class'. It is best read as a symptom of political frustration and social mobility rather than as a significant intellectual or cultural phenomenon in its own right."

Art historian John Molyneux, also of the Socialist Workers Party, accuses postmodernists for "singing an old song long intoned by bourgeois historians of various persuasions".

Fredric Jameson, American literary critic and Marxist political theorist, attacks postmodernism (or poststructuralism), what he claims is "the cultural logic of late capitalism," for its refusal to critically engage with the metanarratives of capitalization and globalization. The refusal renders postmodernist philosophy complicit with the prevailing relations of domination and exploitation.

Sherry Wolf, a leading member of the American International Socialist Organization dismisses postmodernist theories as a way to fight for gay liberation in her 2009 publication, Sexuality and Socialism.

Alan Sokal, a self-described "unabashed Old Leftist" claims he never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class and formulated a hoax to discredit postmodernism.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Criticism of postmodernism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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