-Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on Postmodernism.
"Science has always been in conflict with narratives. Judged by the yardstick of science, the majority of them prove to be fables. But to the extent that science does not restrict itself to stating useful regularities and seeks the truth, it is obligated to legitmate the rules of its own game. It then produces a discourse of legitimation with respect to its own status a discourse called philosophy. I will use the term modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a meta discourse of this kind making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of rational or working subjects, or the creation of wealth...
Simplifying this to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards meta narratives. This incredulity is undoubtedly a product of progress in the sciences: but that progress in turn presupposes it... The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is also being dispersed in clouds of narrative language elements, narrative, but also denotative, prescriptive, descriptive, and so on... Each of us lives at the intersection of many of these."
-Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge
"Postmodernism is among other things a sick joke at the expense of revolutionary avant-gardism. "
Rob: "What's this week's topic?"
And so the dreaded Postmodernism revealed its ugly head at Tapping Philosophy, where groans ensued, and the eyes of back into their respective heads, where they would lay for some time. So what is Postmodernism? Jameson seems to assert that it is the cultural superstructure of late capitalism, where Lyotard situates the postmodern in the epistemological encounter of the language game of scientific legitmation against narratives. The word tends to get thrown around in a derogatory manner in some circles, while in others it is exalted. Does postmodernism completely trash modernism, or simply reveal content that was already latent within modern thought? If the first is the case, what is good about postmodernism, and why would it be a helpful critical framework? We should question the historical nearness of postmodernism. Hasn't the age of modernity resulted in untold progress across civilizational boundaries? If it reveals already latent content, why even use the distinction in the first place? What events in history have occurred that might precipitate such a disjunction between science and narrative, and is it possible to repair this disjunction within the postmodern epistemological framework? Would such a repair even be desirable as the possible return to a modern epistemology? What are the consequences of postmodernism, and does postmodernism call for anything, or is it simply critical or descriptive?