Philosophy 1001
PPT 16
Postmodern Era/ Postmodernism

Phil Ppt 1 Definitions day 2

Terms to Know
Postmodern era- (culture since 1969)
Postmodernism- (postmodern philosophy)

Phil Ppt 1 Definitions day 2

PostModern (Post = After Modern)
Postmodern Era- time after modern era – a new era like the middle ages or the classical ages? (Begins 1969) Post Modernity
Postmodern thinking – Postmodernism
Rejection of key values of the Modern Era/Enlightenment
Rejection of all preceding Philosophical thinking

Phil Ppt 1 Definitions day 2

If Ever I lose my Faith IN you- Sting

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If Ever I Lose My Faith In You – Sting
You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

I never saw no miracle of science
That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn’t always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

© 1993 A+M Records

“If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do”

What is the message of this song?
What exactly has he lost faith in?
What message comes through the images?
Who is the “you” he hasn’t lost faith in yet?



Early modern Era Recap
Copernicus 1473 -1543 Scientific revolution begins
Luther 1483- 1546 Protestant Reformation (1517- 1685)  
Galileo 1564 –1642 Astronomer- proves Copernicus’ theory
Bacon 1561-1626 Scientific Method- (rejection of Aristotle)  
Descartes 1596-1649 Mind matter dualism
Newton 1642- 1727 Age of Reason

The Pre-Socratics questioned religious and mythological “authority” and began to view the world through the lens of reason. The scientific revolution and the chaos brought by the reformation opened the door for thinkers of the modern ages to challenge the authority of the church and to unfold a new age of reason.

Phil Ppt 1 Definitions day 2

Enlightenment/Late Modern era thinkers
Kant 1724- 1804 icon of enlightenment
Hegel 1770-1831 new direction in Philosophy
Darwin 1809-1882 Evolution
Marx 1818- 1883 Communism
Freud 1836-1939 Modern Psychology
Nietzsche 1844-1900 Death of God
Sartre 1905- 1980 Existentialism

Note the idea of change over time


G.W.F. Hegel – German – 1770-1831
Western civilization thought of history as progressive but Hegel brings idea of change through history to Philosophy.
Hegel’s thought – Absolute Idealism (somewhat like Plato)
world is developing and heading toward more and more awareness of its rational self
from beginning humans/humanity see self as distinct from nature – alienation But over time we all see selves as part of “world spirit”
We are social beings – to do “your own thing” is abstract and absurd- everything is in context of society flowing toward self awareness and integration- (in the end strong central govern.)



Hegel – Dialectic
Dialectic dia=2, lectic= tension
One idea confronts another until a third is produced and society moves along – progresses

Syn(thesis) Antithesis

Thesis Antithesis



Hegel and Marx
(Marx borrows from and modifies Hegel)
Marx – workers are “alienated”
Industry takes people away from ownership of means of production- farms, small business etc.
Instead the state should own and control everything.
Next step in development/evolution of society is Communism.
Revolution is required = thesis/antithesis, synthesis

(“Left/ Right” terminology in politics from followers of Hegel- left Hegelians and right Hegelians. Karl Marx, a left Hegelian.)


Darwin Marx Freud
Darwin -1859- The origin of species by means of natural selection; or, The preservation of favored races in the struggle for life (Survival of the fittest)
How would the public react to this title if published today?
Hitler’s superior race influenced by Darwin?
Marx – Communism
Freud- Father of modern Psychology
Darwin, Freud and Marx supplant the traditional Greco-Roman humanism and Christian pillars of Western thinking with their openly atheistic ideologies.



Nietzsche 1844-1900 Time April 8, 1966
In the 20th century, a modern scientific mindset and philosophies like Nietzsche challenge religious belief and give rise to atheistic and highly individualistic thinking.
Nietzsche- Key ideas
– God is creation of people but not needed in modern world
– The weak create morality by demanding the strong take care of them
– Individuals must live as courageous individuals, as though nothing exists beyond this life.
Sartre- Existentialism (see ppt on Existentialism)

Phil Ppt 1 Definitions day 2

Key Modern Values
Inevitable progress- Optimism
LBJ “Great Society”
Crookston Times “Progress Edition”
We are always progressing toward something better
Knowledge and is good, certain, rational and valuable
Truth is objective and absolute
Seek the meta-narrative- the overarching explanation of everything.

Key values of the Modern era


PostModernism Rejects modern Values
(Postmodernism rises significantly because it perceives modernism has failed to deliver on its ideas. )
Inevitable progress?
Disillusionment from continuing world problems
Skeptical of too much faith in science
Truth is certain, rational, objective etc.?
Truth is not objective but always subjective and relative
Emotional response given equal status with the logical
Reality is a social construct
Skeptical of the metanarrative- that one idea or truth applies to all.
Skeptical that language has consistent meaning.
(Nihilism- rejection of any kind of idea of truth. Belief that life is meaningless. nil means nothing or zero.)



Post Modern Values – 1969
Extreme Individualism/Freedom
Societal freedom and anti-authoritarian (1969-1973)
Individual rights – “criminals treated better than victims” (Airbase- rooms not big enough for prisoners.)
Racial- civil rights movement- but blurs into morality
Tolerate everything but intolerance



A few Implications of postmodernism
(Thought has consequence)
Fragmented highly individualistic society
Socially constructed self – i.e. self gender identity
Power dynamics – i.e. White males are the only ones to enjoy power in past, minorities must be empowered through social justice and identity politics (A rejection of “Western Civilization”)
i.e. traditional marriage marginalizes other (sexual) arrangements
Intolerance toward those who disagree
Educational institutions making social issues i.e. equality a top priority
Is this postmodernist perspective working for society?


Terms to Know
Postmodern era- (culture since 1969)
Postmodernism- (postmodern philosophy)

Phil Ppt 1 Definitions day 2

Things to Know
Can you describe the values of the modern era?
Can you describe the values of postmodernism?
Can you describe how postmodernists think the modern “project” has failed.


Things to ponder
How might you critique the values of postmodernism?
You are living in postmodern times. Are you also a postmodernist thinker?
From the vantage point of now knowing something of the drift of thought through Western history, what do you think might be up ahead in ways people will think?
Are we entering a new axial age?



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