Explaning Postmodernism - Stephen Hicks

Pre-modernism (Medievalism) dominated the West from 400 CE to 1400 CE, was ended by the Enlightenmend, bringing Modernism. Followed by the more recent Postmodernism.

Metaphysically, postmodernism is anti-realist, holding that it is impossible to speak meaningfully about an independently existing reality.

Epistemologically, having rejected the notion of an independently existing reality, postmodernism denies that reason or any other method is a means of acquiring objective knowledge of that reality

“Truth” is a myth. “Reason” is a white male Eurocentric construct. “Equality” is a mask for oppressions.

Focault: “reason, […] is the ultimate language of madness” Stanley Fish: “relieves me of the obligation to be right … and demands only that I be interesting.”

[…] many wanted to reinvigorate the German traditions of faith, duty, and ethnic identity that had been undermined by the Enlightenment’s emphasis upon reason, the pursuit of happiness, and cosmopolitanism.

Of the five major features of Enlightenment reason—objectivity, competence, autonomy, universality, and being an individual faculty—Kant rejects objectivity.

The irrationalists divided over whether religion is true—Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard being theists, and Schopenhauer and Nietzsche being atheists—but all shared a contempt for reason. All condemned reason as a totally artificial and limiting faculty, one that must be abandoned in the bold quest to embrace reality

Nietzsche - Reason is a tool of weaklings who are afraid to be naked in the face of a cruel and conflictual reality and who therefore build fantasy intellectual structures to hide in.

In contrast to Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, then, Kant and Hegel seem like champions of reason. Yet Kantian and Hegelian assumptions launched the irrationalist move-ments of the nineteenth century.

The death of Nietzsche in 1900 brings us to the twentieth century. Nineteenth-century German philosophy had developed two main lines of thought—the speculative metaphysical and the irrationalist epistemological. What was needed was a way to bring together these two strands of thought into a new synthesis for the next century. The philosopher who accomplished this was Martin Heidegger.

Heidegger […] is unquestionably the leading twentieth-century philosopher for the postmodernists. Derrida and Foucault identify themselves as followers of Heidegger.