Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on postmodernism · Discourses of Postmodernism. Multilingual bibliography by. The term “deconstruction,” like “postmodernism,” has taken It also sets out Derrida's difference with Heidegger over Nietzsche. Request PDF on ResearchGate | The critical difference: Deconstruction and postmodernism | Although deconstruction seems, at first sight, to be a variety of.
Science is therefore tightly interwoven with government and administration, especially in the information age, where enormous amounts of capital and large installations are needed for research. Science, however, plays the language game of denotation to the exclusion of all others, and in this respect it displaces narrative knowledge, including the meta-narratives of philosophy.
This is due, in part, to what Lyotard characterizes as the rapid growth of technologies and techniques in the second half of the twentieth century, where the emphasis of knowledge has shifted from the ends of human action to its means Lyotard , This has eroded the speculative game of philosophy and set each science free to develop independently of philosophical grounding or systematic organization.
As a result, new, hybrid disciplines develop without connection to old epistemic traditions, especially philosophy, and this means science only plays its own game and cannot legitimate others, such as moral prescription. The compartmentalization of knowledge and the dissolution of epistemic coherence is a concern for researchers and philosophers alike.
Furthermore, within each game the subject moves from position to position, now as sender, now as addressee, now as referent, and so on. The loss of a continuous meta-narrative therefore breaks the subject into heterogeneous moments of subjectivity that do not cohere into an identity.
But as Lyotard points out, while the combinations we experience are not necessarily stable or communicable, we learn to move with a certain nimbleness among them.
Postmodern sensibility does not lament the loss of narrative coherence any more than the loss of being. However, the dissolution of narrative leaves the field of legitimation to a new unifying criterion: Performative legitimation means maximizing the flow of information and minimizing static non-functional moves in the system, so whatever cannot be communicated as information must be eliminated.
The performativity criterion threatens anything not meeting its requirements, such as speculative narratives, with de-legitimation and exclusion. In this regard, the modern paradigm of progress as new moves under established rules gives way to the postmodern paradigm of inventing new rules and changing the game.
Inventing new codes and reshaping information is a large part of the production of knowledge, and in its inventive moment science does not adhere to performative efficiency. By the same token, the meta-prescriptives of science, its rules, are themselves objects of invention and experimentation for the sake of producing new statements. In this respect, says Lyotard, the model of knowledge as the progressive development of consensus is outmoded.
In fact, attempts to retrieve the model of consensus can only repeat the standard of coherence demanded for functional efficiency, and they will thus lend themselves to the domination of capital. On the other hand, the paralogical inventiveness of science raises the possibility of a new sense of justice, as well as knowledge, as we move among the language games now entangling us. Phrases in Dispute see Lyotard where he combines the model of language games with Kant's division of the faculties understanding, imagination, reason and types of judgment theoretical, practical, aesthetic in order to explore the problem of justice set out in The Postmodern Condition.
Without the formal unity of the subject, the faculties are set free to operate on their own. Where Kant insists that reason must assign domains and limits to the other faculties, its dependence upon the unity of the subject for the identity of concepts as laws or rules de-legitimizes its juridical authority in the postmodern age.
Kant's third Critique therefore provides the conceptual materials for Lyotard's analysis, especially the analytic of aesthetic judgment see Kant As Lyotard argues, aesthetic judgment is the appropriate model for the problem of justice in postmodern experience because we are confronted with a plurality of games and rules without a concept under which to unify them.
Judgment must therefore be reflective rather than determining. Furthermore, judgment must be aesthetic insofar as it does not produce denotative knowledge about a determinable state of affairs, but refers to the way our faculties interact with each other as we move from one mode of phrasing to another, i. In Kantian terms, this interaction registers as an aesthetic feeling.
Where Kant emphasizes the feeling of the beautiful as a harmonious interaction between imagination and understanding, Lyotard stresses the mode in which faculties imagination and reason, are in disharmony, i. For Kant, the sublime occurs when our faculties of sensible presentation are overwhelmed by impressions of absolute power and magnitude, and reason is thrown back upon its own power to conceive Ideas such as the moral law which surpass the sensible world.
For Lyotard, however, the postmodern sublime occurs when we are affected by a multitude of unpresentables without reference to reason as their unifying origin.
Justice, then, would not be a definable rule, but an ability to move and judge among rules in their heterogeneity and multiplicity.
Postmodernism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
In this respect, it would be more akin to the production of art than a moral judgment in Kant's sense. Modern art, he says, is emblematic of a sublime sensibility, that is, a sensibility that there is something non-presentable demanding to be put into sensible form and yet overwhelms all attempts to do so.
But where modern art presents the unpresentable as a missing content within a beautiful form, as in Marcel Proust, postmodern art, exemplified by James Joyce, puts forward the unpresentable by forgoing beautiful form itself, thus denying what Kant would call the consensus of taste. Genealogy and Subjectivity The Nietzschean method of genealogy, in its application to modern subjectivity, is another facet of philosophical postmodernism.
Michel Foucault's application of genealogy to formative moments in modernity's history and his exhortations to experiment with subjectivity place him within the scope of postmodern discourse. That is, genealogy studies the accidents and contingencies that converge at crucial moments, giving rise to new epochs, concepts, and institutions. In Nietzschean fashion, Foucault exposes history conceived as the origin and development of an identical subject, e.
Underlying the fiction of modernity is a sense of temporality that excludes the elements of chance and contingency in play at every moment. In short, linear, progressive history covers up the discontinuities and interruptions that mark points of succession in historical time. This entails dissolving identity for the subject in history by using the materials and techniques of modern historical research.
Just as Nietzsche postulates that the religious will to truth in Christianity results in the destruction of Christianity by science see Nietzsche , —83Foucault postulates that genealogical research will result in the disintegration of the epistemic subject, as the continuity of the subject is broken up by the gaps and accidents that historical research uncovers.
Here, Foucault gives an account of the historical beginnings of modern reason as it comes to define itself against madness in the seventeenth century. His thesis is that the practice of confining the mad is a transformation of the medieval practice of confining lepers in lazar houses.
These institutions managed to survive long after the lepers disappeared, and thus an institutional structure of confinement was already in place when the modern concept of madness as a disease took shape. However, while institutions of confinement are held over from a previous time, the practice of confining the mad constitutes a break with the past.
Foucault focuses upon the moment of transition, as modern reason begins to take shape in a confluence of concepts, institutions, and practices, or, as he would say, of knowledge and power. In its nascency, reason is a power that defines itself against an other, an other whose truth and identity is also assigned by reason, thus giving reason the sense of originating from itself.
For Foucault, the issue is that madness is not allowed to speak for itself and is at the disposal of a power that dictates the terms of their relationship. The truth of reason is found when madness comes to stand in the place of non-reason, when the difference between them is inscribed in their opposition, but is not identical to its dominant side.
In other words, the reason that stands in opposition to madness is not identical to the reason that inscribes their difference. The latter would be reason without an opposite, a free-floating power without definite shape. As Foucault suggests, this free-floating mystery might be represented in the ship of fools motif, which, in medieval times, represented madness.
Such is the paradoxical structure of historical transformation. In his later writings, most notably in The Use of Pleasure Foucault Foucault employs historical research to open possibilities for experimenting with subjectivity, by showing that subjectivation is a formative power of the self, surpassing the structures of knowledge and power from out of which it emerges.
This is a power of thought, which Foucault says is the ability of human beings to problematize the conditions under which they live.
He thus joins Lyotard in promoting creative experimentation as a leading power of thought, a power that surpasses reason, narrowly defined, and without which thought would be inert. In this regard, Foucault stands in league with others who profess a postmodern sensibility in regard to contemporary science, art, and society. We should note, as well, that Foucault's writings are a hybrid of philosophy and historical research, just as Lyotard combines the language games of the expert and the philosopher in The Postmodern Condition.
This mixing of philosophy with concepts and methods from other disciplines is characteristic of postmodernism in its broadest sense. Productive Difference The concept of difference as a productive mechanism, rather than a negation of identity, is also a hallmark of postmodernism in philosophy.
Gilles Deleuze deploys this concept throughout his work, beginning with Nietzsche and Philosophyin Englishwhere he sets Nietzsche against the models of thinking at work in Kant and Hegel. Here, he proposes to think against reason in resistance to Kant's assertion of the self-justifying authority of reason alone Deleuze , Philosophical critique, he declares, is an encounter between thought and what forces it into action: Since thought cannot activate itself as thinking, Deleuze says it must suffer violence if it is to awaken and move.
Art, science, and philosophy deploy such violence insofar as they are transformative and experimental. Opposition occurs on the same logical plane, but difference moves across planes and levels, and not only in one direction.
Furthermore, where Hegel takes the work of the negative to be dialectic's driving power, Deleuze declares that difference is thinkable only as repetition repeating itself as in Nietzsche's eternal returnwhere difference affirms itself in eternally differing from itself. Its movement is productive, but without logical opposition, negation, or necessity.
Instead, chance and multiplicity are repeated, just as a dice-throw repeats the randomness of the throw along with every number. On the other hand, dialectic cancels out chance and affirms the movement of the negative as a working out of identity, as in the Science of Logic where being in its immediacy is posited as equal only to itself Hegel For Deleuze, however, sensibility introduces an aleatory moment into thought's development, making accidentality and contingency conditions for thinking.
These conditions upset logical identity and opposition, and place the limit of thinking beyond any dialectical system. In Difference and Repetitionin EnglishDeleuze develops his project in multiple directions. His work, he says, stems from the convergence of two lines of research: His major focus is a thoroughgoing critique of representational thinking, including identity, opposition, analogy, and resemblance Deleuze , Where Kant founds the representational unity of space and time upon the formal unity of consciousness Kant, difference re-distributes intuitions of past, present, and future, fracturing consciousness into multiple states not predicable of a single subject.
Intensive qualities are individuating by themselves, says Deleuze, and individuality is not characteristic of a self or an ego, but of a differential forever dividing itself and changing its configuration Deleuze , This leads Deleuze to postulate multiple faculties for subjectivity, which are correlates of the sensible insofar as it gives rise to feeling, thought, and action.
Subjectively, the paradox of the differential breaks up the faculties' common function and places them before their own limits: The dissolution of the subject and its implications for society is the theme of Anti-Oedipus: The book, in large part, is written against an established intellectual orthodoxy of the political Left in France during the s and s, an orthodoxy consisting of Marx, Freud, and structuralist concepts applied to them by Louis Althusser and Jacques Lacan.
Deleuze and Guattari argue that this mixture is still limited by representational thinking, including concepts of production based upon lack, and concepts of alienation based upon identity and negation. Furthermore, the Oedipus concept in psychoanalysis, they say, institutes a theater of desire in which the psyche is embedded in a family drama closed off from the extra-familial and extra-psychic forces at work in society.
The first inscriptions are relations of kinship and filiation structuring primitive societies, often involving the marking and scarring of human bodies. The full body of society is the sacred earth, which appropriates to itself all social products as their natural or divine precondition, and to whom all members of society are bound by direct filiation Deleuze , Finally, capitalism de-territorializes the inscriptions of the despotic machine and re-codes all relations of alliance and filiation into flows of money Deleuze , The organs of society and the state are appropriated into the functioning of capital, and humans become secondary to the filiation of money with itself.
Austin 's theory of speech acts.
Deconstructionism and postmodernism
Richard Rorty[ edit ] Richard Rorty argues in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature that contemporary analytic philosophy mistakenly imitates scientific methods.
In addition, he denounces the traditional epistemological perspectives of representationalism and correspondence theory that rely upon the independence of knowers and observers from phenomena and the passivity of natural phenomena in relation to consciousness. As a proponent of anti-foundationalism and anti-essentialism within a pragmatist framework, he echoes the postmodern strain of conventionalism and relativismbut opposes much of postmodern thinking with his commitment to social liberalism.
Jean Baudrillard[ edit ] Jean Baudrillardin Simulacra and Simulationintroduced the concept that reality or the principle of " The Real " is short-circuited by the interchangeability of signs in an era whose communicative and semantic acts are dominated by electronic media and digital technologies.
Baudrillard proposes the notion that, in such a state, where subjects are detached from the outcomes of events political, literary, artistic, personal, or otherwiseevents no longer hold any particular sway on the subject nor have any identifiable context; they therefore have the effect of producing widespread indifference, detachment, and passivity in industrialized populations.
He claimed that a constant stream of appearances and references without any direct consequences to viewers or readers could eventually render the division between appearance and object indiscernible, resulting, ironically, in the "disappearance" of mankind in what is, in effect, a virtual or holographic state, composed only of appearances. For Baudrillard"simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance.
It is the generation by models of a real without origin or a reality: Eclectic in his methodology, Jameson has continued a sustained examination of the role that periodization continues to play as a grounding assumption of critical methodologies in humanities disciplines. He has contributed extensive effort to explicating the importance of concepts of Utopia and Utopianism as driving forces in the cultural and intellectual movements of modernityand outlining the political and existential uncertainties that may result from the decline or suspension of this trend in the theorized state of postmodernity.
Like Susan SontagJameson served to introduce a wide audience of American readers to key figures of the 20th century continental European intellectual left, particularly those associated with the Frankfurt Schoolstructuralismand post-structuralism.
Thus, his importance as a "translator" of their ideas to the common vocabularies of a variety of disciplines in the Anglo-American academic complex is equally as important as his own critical engagement with them. Douglas Kellner[ edit ] In Analysis of the Journey, a journal birthed from postmodernism, Douglas Kellner insists that the "assumptions and procedures of modern theory" must be forgotten. His terms defined in the depth of postmodernism are based on advancement, innovation, and adaptation.
Extensively, Kellner analyzes the terms of this theory in real-life experiences and examples. And this for Derrida is a "Cartesian gesture for the twentieth century. A reappropriation of negativity. To all appearances, it is reason that he interns —" Derrida, Note the approval of Foucault, on this basis: Mark the words emphasised.
Such a construction can be construed as structuralist traits. So one may argue: Foucault also criticizes Derrida for the reductionist effect of textualisation, an act of "reducing discursive practices to textual traces": I would say that it is a historically well-determined little pedagogy — teaching the student that there is nothing beyond the text, but that within it —" Foucault, Histoire de la folie: Some of them, such as Foucault started as structuralist and moved towards the theory of body.
On the other hand, some others, and the most prominent being Freud whose central concern was body and unconscious could be termed as structuralist where libidinal forces, in turn, become socially structured.
It is this move of Freudians which make postmodernists look towards Nietzsche and Foucault. This de-differentiation without political economy and only with materiality is what makes postmodernism a potentially reactionary culturalist re-incarnation. How and why do they get converted into the process of discursive and programmed is the question which leads us to the theory of desire in postmodernism and is a problematic in its own right.
It is another matter that materiality of the body could be extended to materiality of social and hence non-reductionist materialism! But, considering for a moment here that this happens, then Anderson, P. University of Chicago Press. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences.