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Reviewed version: July 10, 2006
- 1 The usage and extent of the concept of ‘postmodernism’
- 2 Authors
- 3 Randolph Bourne
- 4 Literary Contributors (Surrealism, Beckett, Ihab Hassan, etc.)
- 5 This page: Anti-postmodern pov and not user friendly
- 6 The Dawkins quote
- 7 Negative criticism vs. Actual information
- 8 Ishiguro quote: another example of a quote made useless by its lack of context
- 9 Postmodernism in science
- 10 Postmodernism article and Postmodernity article
- 11 Introduction edits
- 12 More on Introduction edits
- 13 So what's postmodern again?
- 14 This article doesnt make any sense
- 15 Postmodernism
- 16 Postmodernism
- 17 Postmodernism - confusion in this article
- 18 Wikipedia: the postmodernist ur-text
The usage and extent of the concept of ‘postmodernism’
I have added this section, using Dick Hebdige. to succinctly (I hope) broaden the scope to indicate the frequent use in popular culture of the term postmodernism while still indicating the broader scope of the term. Mike Milligan 11:09, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
After consulting some books, I think Wagner did a fair job assisting in the clarification, and since the architecture bit edited in by Galemp, in the near future maybe we have some more - encyclopedic - sources we can quote from? Britannica was no big help, doesnt have a single entry for it, it's m-w.com component gives a (too) short definition, but it keeps mentioning it. Proposals for something else?--FlammingoHey 13:11, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
This passage does not add new information, is there a reason to keep it anyway? The term is actually used as early as 1916 in Randolph Bourne's "Trans-NationalAmerica" in relation to advances in a cultural context --FlammingoHey 22:16, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Literary Contributors (Surrealism, Beckett, Ihab Hassan, etc.)
I have several serious problems with the section titled "Notable philosophical and literary contributors," mostly the "literary" part. I'm reluctant to make the actual changes because if you give proper room to literary contributors the section would be gigantic and that's supposedly being taken care of by the "postmodern literature" page (though I've complained on that talk page about how inadequate it is). One problem I have is the mention of Dadaism without the mention of Surrealism. Dadaism was a brief movement compared to Surrealism; though both highly influential movements, Surrealism lasted for much of the early part of the 20th century and I'd say it had a more significant influence. Just look at how often an artist from each movement is mentioned by a "postmodern" artist or philospher. How often does Foucault or Derrida reference Rene Magritte, for example? I'm not saying the page needs an in depth exploration of the influence of Surrealism on postmodernism, but it needs as much mention as Dadaism. Also, the phrasing/grouping implies that Beckett was an existentialist which is a common mistake (yes, I know Camus isn't one either, but that's not my point); if "literary" is in the title of the section, shouldn't more time be spent on actual literary figures (I'm talking maybe a sentence or two). Beckett's break from Joyce is more significant in making him a "father" of "postmodernism" than implications that he "drew heavily" from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche ... who, by the way, he didn't really draw all that "heavily" from. I vote for another sentence or two to justify this section having the word "literary" in the header. I say a significant development in the history of postmodernism (and this can justify the inclusion of Dadaism) is the adaptation of William S. Burroughs of the cut up technique (first suggested by Tristan Tzara, a Dadaist and a Surrealist). But I'm sure plenty of people would disagree that there's enough significance to that to include it here.
Now for the basic factual error: "In 1971, the term postmodernism was coined for the first time by the Arab American Theorist Ihab Hassan." First of all "coined for the first time" is redundant, and it's just plain wrong. I love Ihab Hassan but he didn't coin the term postmodernism. He may be the first one to use it in the way we use it today. "Postmodernism" was first used to describe Latin American literature of the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, first used in the 30's. Then Charles Olson was using it in the fifties and it was used by a lot of people in the fifties and sixties to describe Black Mountain poets, New York School poets, San Francisco Renaissance poets, Beat poets, etc. That's why the influential anthology edited by Donald Allen originally called "The New American Poetry" (1960)that was influential in helping define the above mentioned groups, was later republished as "The Postmoderns" and the related anthology of fiction edited by LeRoi Jones was also called "The Postmoderns". Is all that relevant? Maybe, maybe not. I certainly think the phrasing on the Hassan sentence needs to be changed.
F. Simon Grant 19:45, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
- I gave it a try, though only a tiny edit; would you like to rephrase what you just wrote here and put it on the page? Even the headlines # 2 Overview
- 3 Approaches to the term
- 4 Development of postmodernism are totally redundant, they are simply three attempts of a (second!) introduction, and none of them is satisfactory. Contribution much apprechiated! -- FlammingoHey 11:13, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
- What do you think would be most relevant to add? The history of the use of the term is interesting, but with such a cluttered and confusing page I don't know how relevant or useful talking about 19th century Latin American poetry would be. Since this is such a cluttered page, I'd like to get feedback on what should be added. I suggest expanding the Surrealism (the break from focus on conscious understanding is significant), maybe two or three literary milestones (the three b's: Beckett, Burroughs and Borges [I forgot to mention good old Jorge Luis Borges earlier, but I difinitely think he's significant, influences writers, Foucault references him, etc.]) Would adding those four things make it too cluttered? By the way, somebody really needs to work on the postmodern literature page. This page seems relatively well maintained. Maybe somebody from here can help it out. I've been meaning to, but that page needs a whole lot more time than I'm able to give it right now.
F. Simon Grant 16:42, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
This page: Anti-postmodern pov and not user friendly
To me this whole page sounds like an article for a literary journal (though I doubt the severe amount of unecessary repetition would get it published) by a professor trying to prove that postmodernism is useless and terrible -- not an encyclopedia article. It seems to be mostly about how confusing the term is (said about a hundred different times) and how it's not really worth much to talk about. It's not a very informative or easy to read page. If I was a student trying to learn something about postmodernism I would be even more confused about it, less informed about it than I was before I started. I certainly would assume that every critic hates and dismisses postmodernism. This whole thing is more like a rant than an encyclopedia article. Now, I love rants, but rants don't really teach me much. Take for example one of the most basic ideas of postmodernism: Lyotard's attack on metanarratives (and I know there's a postmodern philosophy section, but the idea of attacking metanarratives is something that permeates through most aspects of postmodernsim, so I think this concept should be pretty clear and straight forward on the basic "postmodernism" page). I think you'd have to dig through the dense hoity toity phraseology to find out what metanarratives are, and even then I'm guessing you'd have to already know what it means and already know how significant it is. Lyotard explains it himself, but is that really user friendly? Overall, why even write about something that's obviously (according to the impression I get from this page) not worthwhile that was probably a big mistake? The "negative criticism" appears to be another of many redundancies. As Flammingo mentioned above, the useless repetion is a big problem (and I'll work on that if I have the time), but I think neutrality and clarity are even bigger problems here. At least that's what it seems like to me.
F. Simon Grant 15:21, 10 August 2007 (UTC) 17:37, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I admit I disagree somewhat - to me, its downfall lies in the fact that it seems to have been written by a self-absorbed BA student imagining his or herself to be oh so terribly 'pomo.' This is certainly amongst the weaker major Wikipedia articles.
Not that I can be bothered to fix it. Treefox 13:56, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
- You don't have to be insulting, Treefox. My above criticism of the page had to do with NPOV and the reader-friendliness of the page. Notice I said it sounded like a professor in a literary journal. You said it sounded like a "self-absorbed BA" being "oh so terribly 'pomo'" which seems to serve little practical purpose beyond insulting all the very intelligent and non-self-absorbed people who work on this page (why would self-absorbed people edit Wikipedia?). Comments like "oh so terribly" sound fairly self-absorbed and elitist to me. Please inform us what SPECIFICALLY about this page sounds like a self-absorbed BA?
- I'll give you an example of what I was talking about. The following paragraph is criticism and opinion (the "in fact" in line seven, sounds more like opinion than fact to me). Saying something like "more nuanced non-postmodernist thinkers and writers" and "is at best simply a period following upon modernism" are pov -- well-reasoned pov, certainly; not a self-absorbed BA's pov -- it's not consensus, encyclopedic, etc. Certainly not reader friendly. What's the point? How does it help people understand postmodernism? I question especially the last sentence, the inclusion of Baudelaire. Is he being considered a Modernist in this paragraph? By which definition of Modernism? By the definition of modernism that puts the beginning of modernism at the beginning of the Enlightenment, and therefore a mid-19th century poet like Baudelaire would be part of modernism, well, then, of course postmodernism is a part of that because it's several centuries long. In that case, would people like Mann, Stravinsky, Mondrian, etc. really be its most representative figures, it's great thinkers, it's standard setters? But if you put the beginning of modernism at the beginning of the 20th century with Pound and Mann and Kandinsky, etc. -- and they'd certainly be more like standard setters in that case -- then Baudelaire wouldn't really be a part of that, he'd be a part of an earlier period, and the aesthetic of modernism would've certainly developed in part from the aesthetic of Symbolists which developed in part from the aesthetic of Baudelaire which developed in part from the aesthetic of Poe and the Romantics, and so on ad infinitum. So how is the writer of this paragraph defining "separate period" and "quantum leap". Victorian literature is separate from Romanticism, but is it a "quantum leap"? Is Tennyson a quantum leap from Keats? They're in separate periods, right? What's the point? Overall, period separations are a convenient illusion: they help us understand relationships while not necessarily having a basis in fact: it's like state lines. But when you make it a big mess like this -- when you point out something that's true for ALL periods of art and literature: that they're not truly separate, that they're all interdependent, that no period is a quantum leap from the previous period -- then the convenient illusion ceases to be convenient all together. It's like you have a legal case involving state law and you say, "There's no difference between states. We're all Americans." It's true, but it doesn't really address what specifically the differences are in state laws. More important to an encyclopidia article about postmodernism than pointing out the illusion of distinction: What aspect specifically of postmodernism makes it different from modernism? How does the label help us understand art, literature, philosophy, etc. in the last half of the twentieth century? The fact that label distinctions are false (big duh) is mentioned about twenty times on this page. What's not presented in a reader-friedly way -- and what's not addressed in the following unhelpful quote -- is what actually defines this distinction (even if it's an illusion).
- "The argument against the need for the concept is that the "modern" era has not yet arrived at its term [this is apparently the definition of modernism that equates modernism with enlightenment]; and that the most important social and political project of our age remains modernism's project of replacing counter-enlightenment and emotionalist tendencies [postmodern art and literature are emotionalist and counter-enlightenment, so postmodernism is continually in the process of being replaced by the better option, rationalism? I can't wait for Positivism to come back into style], as well as combating widesperead cultural ignorance, pervasive superstition, and mindless resistance to technological and social innovations [so postmodernism promotes ignorance and superstition -- sounds like a bad thing to me]. From this perspective, the realities of the modern era, and its philosophical underpinnings, are being challenged by a backlash from precisely that reactionary quarter [so postmodernism is the same as Victorian conservatism? so postmodern literature is just a rebirth of the realism movement? Or maybe this is an unhelpful over simplification] against which modernism in fact [fact? really?] began its initial late 19th-century crusade. On the other hand more nuanced non-postmodernist thinkers and writers (quoted below) hold that postmodernism is at best simply [nothing more nothing less? that helps me understand why it's called "postmodernism", something I could've probably figured out by, I don't know, paying attention] a period following upon modernism; a hybrid variety of it; or an extension of modernism into contemporary times; and therefore not a separate period or idea which represents a quantum leap from the theories of art familiar to us from Stravinsky, Mann, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Baudelaire [so ... what are those theories? This is an encyclopedia article for the general public -- is the general public going to be familiar with Piet Modrian's theories of art? And why is Mann mentioned but not Pound or Joyce? Why Kandinsky and not Picasso, Breton, etc.?]"
F. Simon Grant 15:21, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
- Here's another one in the "overview" section: Shouldn't this go in the "negative criticism" section? Is this really the most important basic "overview" knowledge? It's pov ("This latter concept CAN ONLY be described" -- sounds like an essay, not an ecyclopedia). And what are these "assertions"; that's a provacative, intriguing statement, but it's not explored. The paragraph before it gives some basic overview stuff, but both paragraphs, I'd say, are not reader-friendly. The whole "meta-narratives" thing is very important to postmodernism as a whole ... but what is it? Same goes with bricolage -- Why's it a bad thing? Imagine you're somebody who has no idea what postmodernism is. Would you read this and say, "Oh, I get it. Metanarratives and bricolage. Makes perfect sense to me"? This is not a scholarly journal. It's just wikipedia. Delusions of sophistication are unhelpful. (Also, this has needed a citation since March -- does the section or the article really need this paragraph?)
- "Critics of the idea claim that it does not represent liberation, but rather a failure of creativity, and the supplanting of organization with syncretism and bricolage; this latter concept can only be described as anti-intellectual. They argue that postmodernism is obscurantist, overly dense, and makes assertions about the sciences that are demonstrably false."
F. Simon Grant 19:06, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
- It seems to me that your criticisms of the lack of a neutral POV are fair and accurate. However, the pursuit of NPOV doesn't mean that the article should only present 'neutral' and descriptive accounts of postmodernism; the term and its constituencies are highly contended, and the article ought to describe that. A description of a contradictory and divided field is what we should be aiming for, I would suggest. With regard to the modernism questions, though, very many people define its beginning in the mid-c19th and with Baudelaire specifically (off the top of my head, Walter Benjamin talks about incorporating the 'shock' of the urban, Marshall Berman too); this isn't to collapse the category into the Enlightenment. Naturalism and symbolism are part of modernism, but not of the avant-garde phase. Another note: the complaint about whose name is or isn't included: that list may be extended to the ridiculous. Each name defines in a certain way the movement they're 'representing'. DionysosProteus 01:28, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
The Dawkins quote
But don't the postmodernists claim only to be 'playing games'? Isn't it the whole point of their philosophy that anything goes, there is no absolute truth, anything written has the same status as anything else, no point of view is privileged? Given their own standards of relative truth, isn't it rather unfair to take them to task for fooling around with word-games, and playing little jokes on readers? Perhaps, but one is then left wondering why their writings are so stupefyingly boring. Shouldn't games at least be entertaining, not po-faced, solemn and pretentious?
--Heyitspeter 02:07, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
There was a discussion on the "postmodern literature" page about removing the Richard Dawkins quote. Most of the discussion had to do with whether or not he was talking about literature. Regardless, I think it's a useless quote. It's an opinion. What's his criticism? That postmodernism is boring? That's not scholarly, useful, relevant, or, frankly, very interesting -- just a silly waste of space, and another example of redundant and unhelpful things on this page. Anyway, here's the discussion from the "postmodern literature" page:
F. Simon Grant 19:17, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Is this quote from Dawkins really needed? Since when has his opinion on literature mattered? --Dreww 17:23, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
- Is anyone even sure this is a quote about literature? I would more readily believe that Dawkins tries to chastise postmodern philosophy. (About which he presumably knows nothing, of course.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 14:25, 6 May 2007 (UTC).
- Ok, for the moment, this needs supporting editors, so here's the passage: Richard Dawkins writes of postmodernism: "But don't the postmodernists claim only to be 'playing games'? Isn't it the whole point of their philosophy that anything goes, there is no absolute truth, anything written has the same status as anything else, no point of view is privileged? Given their own standards of relative truth, isn't it rather unfair to take them to task for fooling around with word-games, and playing little jokes on readers? Perhaps, but one is then left wondering why their writings are so stupefyingly boring. Shouldn't games at least be entertaining, not po-faced, solemn and pretentious?" --Richard Dawkins: Postmodernism Disrobed Cheers, FlammingoHey 16:03, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
- Right, but that quote is not about postmodern literature. Just look at the context.--Dreww 17:25, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
- This seems just like an opinion and not really a well-reasoned literary criticism. I think there should be more negative criticism on this page (Jameson, Eagelton, etc.) but it doesn't seem like Dawkins, a very smart man when it comes to religion, etc., is putting much thought into his criticism here. It seems like a side comment, like he was talking about something else and wanted to give a little jab at postmodern literature (and it definitely seems like he's talking abt literature here). But it's just an opinion, not an argument with much merit. I wonder what he was thinking about specifically when he said, "one is then left wondering why their writings are so stupefyingly boring. Shouldn't games at least be entertaining, not po-faced, solemn and pretentious?" Off the top of my head I can't think of a postmodern novelist who isn't entertaining, especially compared to modernist writers (I'm not talking about quality, just entertainment). People like Pynchon may seem stupefying and pretentious (though I'd disagree -- only an opinion, not an argument), but boring and solemn don't really fit. Vonnegut may often be solemn but he's definitely not pretentious (again, opinion) or boring. Maybe he's talking about Derrida -- still just an opinion. Anyway, for all the solid arguments Dawkins may have made about other things, this is not a helful, insightful, or relevant argument. Jameson or Eagelton, on the other hand, might present an actual argument against postmodernism (literature specifically) based on more than just opinion.
F. Simon Grant 14:26, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
and the Sokal stuff for that matter
In that same vein: Is the Sokal stuff really a relevant devestating attack? He kind of proves postmodernism while attempting to disprove it. It's like people criticizing abstract expressionists because it's messy and looks like a crazy person did it or criticizing Paul Klee because it looks like something your kid could do. I've had students say, "I'll just throw a bunch of crap on a canvas and see if I can get it into a museum" and I reply, "Sure, if it's good it might." Does that undermine the art world because craft and representation are no longer valuable? Some say yes, but is that a devestating attack? William S. Burroughs would say to Sokol: congratulations, that just proves scientific control systems are bullshit. I'm just saying the Dawkins and the Sokol stuff are up front, but they both seem like the opinions of people who don't like postmodernism and not any solid, valid argument against it -- definitely the weakest, lamest of the criticisms. I've always heard that Marxists have the strongest, most solid objections, but I would expand on Jameson and Eagelton. I would get rid of the Dawkins nonsense entirely and tag the Sokol stuff on at the end just as funny trivia because it's not worth much else.
F. Simon Grant 21:12, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
The point of Sokal was that no rigour was applied to post-modernism, not that the standards applied were themselves, as you put it, "bullshit". --THobern 10:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by THobern (talk • contribs)
Is it relevant?
I removed the quote, and it was put back, and I removed it again. In the interest of avoiding and edit-war, or whatever you call it, I figured I'd post here.
I don't particularly care whether Dawkins is or is not qualified to comment on post-modernism. The section header reads: "As meaningless and disingenuous". Dawkins does not criticize post-modernism "As meaningless and disingenuous", but rather, as boring. The only statement made per se is that post-modernism is boring. The rest of the quote consists of questions. Questions do not provide information, and so are not helpful by themselves, even if they bear a superficial relation to the material in question. A criticism section consisting of questions wouldn't actually be a criticism. Even Richard Rorty could have asked, "But don't the postmodernists claim only to be 'playing games'? Isn't it the whole point of their philosophy that anything goes, there is no absolute truth, anything written has the same status as anything else, no point of view is privileged? Given their own standards of relative truth, isn't it rather unfair to take them to task for fooling around with word-games, and playing little jokes on readers?"
We can include the Dawkins quote in the criticism section; but if we do, let's include it under the "Post-modernism is Boring" section.--Heyitspeter 23:23, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
- I don't think that's an accurate representation of what Dawkins says in the quotation. That the quotation consists of a series of rhetorical questions does not make it without substance. He is very clearly presenting an argument, in the form of a series of questions. That argument levels two specific accusations: (1) that its extreme relativism and playfulness renders it inappropriate to serious critical debate (or something along those lines), and that (2) it does not live up to its own professed standards of playfulness. (1) certainly like an accusation of meaninglessness and (2) looks like an accusation of disingenuousness. That he also calls it boring, it seems to me, is part of a broader argument. The debates from the literature page about whether or not he's referring to literature specifically aren't relevant here. DionysosProteus 01:41, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
- If you look carefully (I copy/pasted the comment on the top of this section) you'll see that he doesn't actually assert (1). He asks whether (1) is valid, and then answers, and I quote, "Perhaps." Also, (2) does not imply that postmodernism is meaningless. I would be more inclined to read the quote as an assertion of disignenuity, but I don't think it is. If I call myself a playwright but write a bad play, it's not that I'm not a playwright and was lying, I just wasn't that good. Similarly, Derrida may state that philosophy should be playful, write philosophy that is not playful, and still be a philosopher who philosophizes. He isn't disengenuous for writing philosophy that doesn't live up to his expectations, he is simply (according to Dawkins) a bad writer/philosopher.
- This is what Dawkins is asserting: "Post-modernists would like all works to be playful, but it looks to me like their work is boring. They should have utilized the playfulness they appreciate." That's all he is saying in that quote. It isn't about disenginuity or meaninglessness, it's about the quality of their work.--Heyitspeter 02:07, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
- Anything can be classified as "boring" when one can't understand it. I'm sure James Joyce and William Faulkner are very boring to people who are used to a certain style of writing. Richard Dawkins is just too narrow-minded and self-centered to realize that. I'm glad his quote was deleted. Timeloss 11:03, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
if this is still at question -- It seems to me the Dawkins quote is important, precisely because of its mischaracterization of what has come to be popularly called Postmodernism. How something is misunderstood is often as important as how it is understood. For example, Derrida (leaving aside the "is he post-modern and what would that mean if he was?" question) is obviously not only "playing games" -- he is asking serious questions about violence, religion, war, etc. Nor does he advocate "just" being playful -- I would ask Dawkins to find the quote where Derrida or any other major post-modernist says "we should only be playful." The idea that post-modernists were "just playful" is a common mischaracterization. Moreover, the relativism issue is about how folks like Dawkins characterize so-called post-moderns --- none of these folks (except Joseph Margolis - and he only in an attenuated sense) actually characterize themselves as relativists. Again, I would ask Dawkins to find a passage in Derrida, Foucault, Rorty (or even Margolis) etc. which says that "anything written has the same status as anything else," if such a statement has any meaning. So, Dawkins in effect is saying, "if my mischaracterization of what I call postmodernism is right, why are they so dull and serious?" The idea that postmodernists were relativists in the way Dawkins means it is, again, an obvious mischaracterization. [Which doesn't mean Dawkins is wrong so much as he is knowingly giving bad argument, because of the arrogance of some (emphasis on some) scientists who believe it's okay to give dumbed down versions of science (or dumbed down criticisms of what is percieved as a threat to science) for (what folks like Dawkins consider to be) the stupid masses.]
That said - I think such a mis-characterization is significant enough to include in an encyclopedia - since this type of criticism, and worse, is quite common -- nor need it be labeled as a mischaracterization - if the article is well-written, the thoughful reader will know folks like Dawkins are full of poo.
FInally, shouldn't this issue be decided here, on the talk page, rather than through a revert war, as seems to be the case?Editor437 12:10, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
- That's the idea. Hence the discussion which is happening right now.
- You make a good point. It seems to hint at a deep mischaracterization. Still, Dawikins doesn't actually affirm a positive answer to the questions, so they aren't statements per se, and therefore cannot be misunderstandings in any strict sense. I think you may be right that it could be included in a section on 'common misperceptions' or some such, just to add some character to that section; but the question for this discussion was concerned with whether it is relevant to the "As meaningless and disingenuous" section, which (and it sounds like you might agree) it isn't.--Heyitspeter 15:42, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
- The Dawkins quote is problematic on an even more basic level (and hopefully I'm beating a dead horse here, but I think this debate can be simplified). Dawkins says postmodern writers are boring. So what? What does it matter that Dawkins is not entertained by postmodernists? "Playful" to postmodernists doesn't really mean entertaining. To equate the two is a ridiculous oversimplification. Further more, on an even simpler level, it's Dawkins' opinion. Anyone can easily disagree and that would be the end of the argument. It's like an argument a college freshman would've made. All the debate about the Dawkins quote presented here is interesting, but it's skirting around the basic flaw of the argument: it's an opinion based on an evidently poor understanding of postmodernism. Dawkins could've farted at a picture of Derrida and done as good a job at arguing. Now that would've been entertaining.
F. Simon Grant 15:25, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
- Dawkins is not a notable critic of postmodernism except perhaps in the context of postmodernist debates in science, ie Science Wars. Since that subject is not even adequately covered here in this article, the balloon of the Dawkins quote is just cartoony/pop trivia/Dawkins fancruft --- take your pick. This article "as is" is almost incoherent on that aspect of postmodernism, mentioning for example the Sokal Affair-the "gotcha" episode unmasking of the postmodernist critique of science but fails completely in even describing the nature of postmodernist critique itself. Whether or not Dawkins' argument is flawed is not for WP editors to judge. We are, however, tasked with assessing its notability. And in the context of the article in its present form, the Dawkins quote is obviously out of place here.-- Professor marginalia (talk) 17:03, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
- Word. Yeah, I tried to make my argument as straightforward and objective as possible, so I didn't mention the quotes quality, but I agree with both of your points. However, I'm not sure that it matters to wikipedia whether the viewpoints brought up in an article are accurate. Isn't notability the only requirement? Does anyone know where I can find this out?---- Heyitspeter (talk) 19:26, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Negative criticism vs. Actual information
In this whole article I counted 39 paragraphs and lines, 17 of which are negative criticism. That means 22 out of 39 are actually informative? I would count some of those as being jumbled nonsense, so I'd say roughly half of the paragraphs or lines in this article are about the negative criticism of postmodernism. How informative is that? Yet I say it needs an entire section dedicated to Lyotard's concepts and an entire section dedicated to Baudrillard's concepts -- purely informative which is what an encyclopedia article is supposed to be. If an article is missing big important details like that, I'd say 17 paragraphs of negative criticism is way too much. I'm sure somebody will assume I'm a pomo junky who's trying to quash negative criticism -- I'm just saying in an article that's supposed to be informative, especially in an article where basic info about the main topic of the article is obscured or missing, 17/39 is way too big a ratio. Let's work on making the neutral stuff strong, then negative becomes more relevant. I don't care if something's bad if I don't understand what that something is.
F. Simon Grant 14:48, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Ishiguro quote: another example of a quote made useless by its lack of context
In my assessment of all the useless information in this article, somehow I skipped this one. That's probably because I respect Barry Lewis and Kazuo Ishiguro and assumed it was right. There's nothing wrong with the info in the quote; there's something very wrong with the lack of context. First of all, what book does this come from? Was it just Barry and Kazuo in conversation? Were they speaking simultaneously like a Beckett play? That would be postmodern, sure, but it doesn't make it useful. Secondly, what's being described here could just as easily describe modernist fiction. I doubt that's the fault of the speakers; they (or he?) maybe gave more context in the complete quote. These are common features of postmodern literature, but only "mingling of fictional forms" -- which I'm assuming is pastiche -- really makes it distinct from modernism. Without the assumption that it's a reference to pastiche, the vague statement "mingling of fictional forms" still could describe modernist fiction. As important to the lack of clarity in this particularly vague quote is the apparent lack of relevance to the page as a whole. Perhaps if there was a quote about the reflection of the challenge to metanarratives in the pastiche of postmodern fiction, maybe then it would be helpful. Or, you know, something like that. As it is, the casual reader might get more from Moe's quote than this one.
- "Postmodernist fiction is defined by its temporal disorder, its disregard of linear narrative, its mingling of fictional forms and its experiments with language." - Barry Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro
So James Joyce is a postmodernist? Who knew?
F. Simon Grant 18:11, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Postmodernism in science
I have removed the criticism of postmodernist theory of science. If, as one editor has alleged, "there is no such thing", then criticisms of it don't make sense. But I would like to argue that indeed there was a good deal written of postmodernist theories of science-an epistemological stream that is very real. There are many texts available referring to the subject, and I do think it warrants mention in the article. (See "A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science", Noretta Koertge, "A Society of Signs", David Harris; "Implications of Postmodernism for Science, or, Science as Progressive Discourse" the Educational Psychologist. See Science wars. ) It's widely described as a postmodernist movement, if you will. Professor marginalia 23:38, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
- I said "there is no such thing as 'postmodernist science', only a critique of the claims of scientific discourse." That is to say, there are postmodernst writers who have engaged in critiques of science. In other words they have a theory of science (though speaking of 'they' in this fashion is obviously rhetorical. There are divergent views and no single 'postmodern' pov). Much of the Sokal affair was about pm claims to engage with and critique science. However, there is no such thing as 'postmodernist science' in the same way that there is 'postmodernist art'. Paul B 08:52, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
- Thanks. Kuhn, who was arguably one of the biggest influences to
postmodernist thinking in science, was a PhD scientist and professor of science
history, not an artist or writer. Most significant thinkers who furthered the
postmodernist theories of science came from social scientists, and in that
sense it was as much a science as behavioralism or cultural anthropology. It
was very influential for a time, even influencing educational theory and
teaching of science. I agree there is ambiguity in the terminology -
unfortunately there is too much confusion of the whole subject in this article.
Sokal, for example, is discussed in some detail and he is a "debunker" of sorts
of postmodernist scientific analysis. This philosophical genre, postmodernist
scientific analysis, is not explained in the article--all that appears is
criticism of it. Somehow this needs to get sorted out. And the introduction
needs to encompass the postmodernism in science since it is criticized at
length in the article. Why is Dawkins remarking upon it? He's not an art
reviewer, he's a scientist reacting against postmodernist thinking in
science.Professor marginalia 17:47, 27 October 2007
- Kuhn is not, as far as I am aware, ever referred to as a postmodernist, but
even if he were, his scientific activity is not characterised as "postmodernist
science", rather, his theory of science is deemed to have been a precursor. Of
course, if you trhink the discussion of postmodernist commentaries on science
is weak, improve it. Paul B 19:40, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
- You're correct. Kuhn was more like the "seed of thought", yes, working in
epistemology of science, not a laboratory. Like Popper, not a working scientist
but reshaping the concept of knowledge from science. Do you see why the article
is a muddle on this? Kuhn is identified in it. Kuhn was talking narrowly of
science, at least that's always been my understanding. I will think about how
to best improve this. Since I'd argue there is at least as much to say about
postmodernism in the field of science as there is postmodernism in the fields
of law or theology, "See also" section as is used for the others might help. As
well as editing away all the "science war" critics like Sokal if the subject
isn't even going to be explored here.Professor marginalia 23:02, 27 October 2007
- Before anyone attempts to improve the postmodernism-to-science section of this article, I'd like to add my two cents: This page should really be for the general public, not just specialists. There's a lot of really basic stuff missing from this article that needs to be fixed before we work on something that's essentially tangential. I'd say science is to postmodernism as psychoanalysis is to abstract expressionism. It's interesting to look at them together, but far from essential. Postmodernism is a huge subject and we can really talk about any aspect of knowlege and justify its presence on this page (I personally think pop culture should be addressed more specifically) -- but what's most needed on this page is an overhaul so that it's much more general-audience-friendly. Once the core is solid (much, much more solid than it is now) I'd say there would then be room for more tangential aspects of postmodernism like science, etc.F. Simon Grant (talk) 18:32, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
- You're correct. Kuhn was more like the "seed of thought", yes, working in epistemology of science, not a laboratory. Like Popper, not a working scientist but reshaping the concept of knowledge from science. Do you see why the article is a muddle on this? Kuhn is identified in it. Kuhn was talking narrowly of science, at least that's always been my understanding. I will think about how to best improve this. Since I'd argue there is at least as much to say about postmodernism in the field of science as there is postmodernism in the fields of law or theology, "See also" section as is used for the others might help. As well as editing away all the "science war" critics like Sokal if the subject isn't even going to be explored here.Professor marginalia 23:02, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
- Kuhn is not, as far as I am aware, ever referred to as a postmodernist, but even if he were, his scientific activity is not characterised as "postmodernist science", rather, his theory of science is deemed to have been a precursor. Of course, if you trhink the discussion of postmodernist commentaries on science is weak, improve it. Paul B 19:40, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
- Thanks. Kuhn, who was arguably one of the biggest influences to postmodernist thinking in science, was a PhD scientist and professor of science history, not an artist or writer. Most significant thinkers who furthered the postmodernist theories of science came from social scientists, and in that sense it was as much a science as behavioralism or cultural anthropology. It was very influential for a time, even influencing educational theory and teaching of science. I agree there is ambiguity in the terminology - unfortunately there is too much confusion of the whole subject in this article. Sokal, for example, is discussed in some detail and he is a "debunker" of sorts of postmodernist scientific analysis. This philosophical genre, postmodernist scientific analysis, is not explained in the article--all that appears is criticism of it. Somehow this needs to get sorted out. And the introduction needs to encompass the postmodernism in science since it is criticized at length in the article. Why is Dawkins remarking upon it? He's not an art reviewer, he's a scientist reacting against postmodernist thinking in science.Professor marginalia 17:47, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Could we maybe take Quine out of this, he is defenetly not a postmodernist. He'd be better characterized as a conservetive neopositivist. His statements on philosophy are also very much aggressive polemics against postmodern thought. On Kuhn I would opt on leaving him in since his thoughts are very much respected and rethought throughout the postmodern philosophy. It could be useful for anyone of the general public who is interestet in the more concrete thoughts of postmodernism to get linked onto his page. I also suggest to put Feyerabend in there as well, he is one of the disciples of popper and kuhn and his book "against method" formes very well a part of postmodern thought on science. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 22:04, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
- I guess... but Quine can be kind of difficult to classify. He really did have a lot of strong arguments against some basic axioms that most people think of as necessary prerequisites for knowledge (e.g., the analytic-synthetic distinction). Richard Rorty used his critique of translation to prove one-half of his critique of any type of knowledge whatsoever (the other half was Sellars' myth of the given). Along with most people, I suppose (not counting Rorty, though), he was extremely opposed to being classified as post-modern. But so was Foucault... Just some thoughts...--Heyitspeter (talk) 22:48, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Postmodernism article and Postmodernity article
I am confused over the relationship between these two articles. Could anyone help clear this up for me? I note that Postmodernism has a link to Postmodernity but not the other way round. Mike Milligan (talk) 14:41, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
- Someone else may want to be clearer (I'm oversimplifying with often ambiguous terms) but my understanding is that postmodernism is more of a conceptual notion relating to critical ideas and the arts, while postmodernity is more a reference to our current time period (end of WW2 to the present) in relation to politics, economy, and "culture". For a better understanding you may want to see the similar relationship between modernism and modernity where the differences are more clearly defined but, I believe, forms the template for the differentiation between postmodernism/ity. Again, to oversimplify, postmodernism is conceptual in nature and related to the arts/philosophy/critical theory, while postmodernity is more of a temporal/chronological term (not sure of the right word) related to history, economics, social issues, etc. --TM 15:30, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks to those who responded to my queries in this and other articles. These responses have given me the confidence to change the introduction to this article. I feel that the article may have lost focus. I hope that my amendments go some way to address this. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 18:33, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
More on Introduction edits
I amended the introduction because
- There's a lot of really basic stuff missing from this article that needs to be fixed before we work on something that's essentially tangential. (see above)
- The Wikipedia appeal for an expert's view - I am not an expert but I do teach first year undergraduates in social sciences. I know that they would find the present introduction incoherent and baffling
- The Wikipedia appeal for a more international view.
I was really disappointed that my revised introduction was deleted (easier than burning books?) by another Wikipedian. Can I ask that my revisions be considered on their merits? Please improve on them but let us work together to providing a coherent introduction to Postmodernism which will help the newcomer. Mike Milligan (talk) 21:57, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
- Thank you for contributing to Wikipedia, and I'm terribly sorry if my edits were erroneous.
- However, I spend a few hours daily reverting vandalism and your edit diff looked like pure old vandalism. If you would just have made an attempt to explain your edit (using the edit summary) I would probably have had a second look at you removal of a lot of content. So, happy editing and please remember this is a collaborative project!
- Hope you forgive me and again thanks for contributing
- / Mats Halldin (talk) 22:12, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
So what's postmodern again?
This article doesnt make any sense
- Hahaha! In that case, shall we delete this article as well? --Heyitspeter (talk) 22:42, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The above two entries make sense. May I suggest the following definition...
There is so much confusion over what this term is meant to mean. I have read many attempted definitions of the term and they fall into two categories.
1 The verbose. These use language that you can not understand without the aid of a dictionary, but when you filter them down they seem to say the same thing. There is no authoritative voice or objective perspective. They then invariably quote an authoritative objective voice to validate their claim. (see above)
2 Definition by example. These usually cite the work in theatre, film or literature to show what postmodernism is. Unfortunately the techniques described as used by these people were previously used by Buster Keaton, Bob Hope, and Gene Kelly. Has anyone ever seen a Hollywood musical that was not surreal? Postmodernism seems to be little more than a word seeking a definition that does not exist, but when you look at the attempted definitions, I think that is entirely appropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MackenzieSpence (talk • contribs) 17:44, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Postmodernism - confusion in this article
I agree that postmodernism is difficult to define but I still think it is important and worthy of a good Wikipedia article. However, this article is much more confused than most postmodernism primers. The postmodernisms in architechture, art, literature, etc are, I think, defined in relation to 'modernisms' which took place in the early twentieth-century. However the philosophical writings are reacting to modernity (science, Enlightenment values, etc.) which is itself defined in relation to pre-modernity (dominance of church and monarchy) so the historical timespan is much larger. I think if this was made clearer then we might be able to make this article make much more sense. Perhaps this could be done by briefly commenting on this, referring the interested reader to the 'specialist' articles and then going on to what seems to be the meat of this article - the postmodern thinkers. Mike Milligan (talk) 10:20, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia: the postmodernist ur-text
The irony here is that wikipedia is the most postmodernist form of knowledge production and exchange available. It is only regulated by individuals, and thus represents an intensely fragmented site of information. Wikipedia is fetishistically visited and revisted by (I can only imagine) dictators, educators, browsers, students, parents, priests, and citizens. Its postmodernism is always-already implicit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Genxprof (talk • contribs) 04:03, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
- Perhaps, but you should look up 'ur-text' in a dictionary... Cop 663 (talk) 22:57, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Link former page on this page
Related word on this page