A friend once said to me that he would be glad to discuss postmodemity if only he knew what modernity meant. There are so many descriptions. We’re all modern: Modern society, modern art, modern philosophy, modern science, modern technologies.
Who Are We
A critique of Jurgen Habermas’s ideal of pure communication.
Centers have been out of intellectual and political fashion, because they have been often oppressive. We both celebrate and worry about postmodern fragmentation as we enact it in our technology, while fearing hidden centralization.
“Modern” Self-awareness is not so formal and purified as it would like to pretend.
A study of different kinds of modern and postmodern irony, showing how irony has many shades and different implications, and cannot provide a final attitude.
The dispute between the modernist Habermas and the postmodernist Lyotard is not quite a replay of Plato vs the Sophists that they both would like it to be.
Essays that challenge the purity of modern self-conceptions and the idea that we can float free above history as sovereign choosers or ironic observers. But they also challenge the fixity of tradition, and Plato’s idea that we must choose either to search for absolute foundations or be overwhelmed by a swirl of competing powers and persuasions.
An argument against any easy contrast between fixed ancestors and floating moderns: being modern means living with more explicit internal splits and distances, but our ancestors too had their internal spacings and distances.