VII. Critique of Postmodernism

Ian Adam and Helen Tiffin, eds.  Past the Last Post: Theorizing Post-Colonialism and Post-Modernism.  New York: Harvester Weatsheaf, 1991.

    Includes:  Frow, John.  "What Was Post-Modernism?"

Eagleton, Terry.  The Illusions of Postmodernism.  Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996.

    Eagleton explores the beginnings, ambivalences, histories, subjects, fallacies and contradictoions of postmodernism.  For him, postmodernity is "a style of thought which is suspicious of classical notions of truth, reason, identity and objectivity, of the idea of universal progress or emancipation, or single frameworks, grand narratives or ultimate grounds of explanation.  Against these enlightenment norms, it sees the world as contingent, ungrounded, diverse, unstable, indeterminate, a set of disunified cultures or interpretations which breed a degree of scepticism about the objectivity of truth, history and norms, the givenness of natures and the coherence of identities" (vii).  (See notes and comments)

Habermas, Jurgen.  "Modernity--an Incomplete Project." The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture.  Ed. Foster, Hal, ed.  Seattle: Bay P, 1983. 

    "The project of modernity formulated in the eighteenth century by the philosophers of the Enlightenment consisted in their efforts to develop objective science, universal morality and law, and autonomous art according to their inner logic.  At the same time, this project intended to release the cognitive potentials of each of these domains from their esoteric forms.  The Enlightenment philosophers wanted to utilize this accumulation of specialized culture for the enrichment of everyday life -- that is to say, for the rational organization of everyday social life.

Simon, Herbert W, & Michael Billig.  After Postmodernism: Reconstructing Ideology Critique.   London: Sage, 1994. 

       "[About the tension between ideology critique and postmodernism,] some are concerned to restore the ideas and aspirations of ideology critique.  Others explore possibilities for moving beyond ideology critique, in order to combine postmodernist insights with liberatory ambitions" (2) 
     -- "Is it possible to reflect and criticize in an age when every claim to truth is under suspicion?  Are social critics contaminated by the same ideological distortions they identify in society?  This interdisciplinary text provides a wide-ranging overview of different responses to such dilemmas and thus examines ways to reconstruct social theory and critique following the postmodern attack on the traditional foundation of knowledge" ( from the back cover(See notes and comments)

Norris, Christopher.  What's Wrong with Postmodernism: Critical Theory and the Ends of Philosophy.  NY: Harvester, 1990.(See notes and comments)

    Topics include 'Criticism, history and the politics of theory'; deconstruction (with an emphasis on its ethical and philosophical bearings); Habermas's critique of Derrida; Stanley Fish and the neo-pragmatist rhetoric of assent; Baudrillard, Lyotard, and the question of post-modernity; Paul de Man on the ideology of the aesthetic; . . . .