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Postmodernity Study Guide Questions

1. Is there such a thing as postmodernism? If so, what are its contours and who are
its proponents? What are the limitations of such a term?
1.1. Postmodernism cannot be defined into a single set of views of people.
Postmodernism is just that...post-modernism, the period after modernism. A term like
postmodernism attempts to lump all of the beliefs of a diverse basis into one single
definition, a feat that is not realistic. (Nathan DeHaan)
2. Is there such a thing as modernism? If so what are its contours and who are its
proponents? What are the limitations of such a term?
.1. !odernism has a more distinct set of characteristics, but even there, there are
several varieties. !odernism is described as being much more proof seeking, and faith
den"ing. #here is a sense of science infiltrating ever"thing else. $uch a term combines
completel" different kinds of ideas into one overarching controversial theme. (Nathan
DeHaan)
3. Philosophers such as Jacues !errida, "ichel #oucault, and Jean$#ran%ois &'otard
are critici(ed )' some as the new s*eptics. +o what e,tent an in which wa'-s. are such
criticisms /alid?
%.1. #hese people were considered the &new skeptics' because the" were not willing
to accept something based purel" on the fact that the data is sa"ing something, there must
be a sense of understanding. A &(uestioning' attitude allows for growth and development.
(Nathan DeHaan)
0. What are the complications of using the term relati/ist? Pro/ide concrete
e,amples.
).1. #he term relativist assumes that there is an"thing that is objective in all scenarios.
An e*ample being that of when a person is driving to the hospital the" will ignore all
speed limit signs, whereas in normal scenarios the" would sa" doing so is inappropriate.
(Nathan DeHaan)
1. !escri)e and critiue 2ort'3s ironic /iew of the world in which e/er'thing is
culturall' and historicall' contingent and statements are true if the' are useful.
+.1. ,ort" develops a sense of truth which - would challenge. .tilit" does not reflect
our the effectiveness of our decisions. /ssentiall" the &-' goes awa", and our sense of
understanding is humbled. (Nathan DeHaan)
+.. ,ort" is what "ou would call a complete and utter subjectivist. 0is idea of true is
what is useful. 1or e*ample, the earth was in fact the center of the universe during the
!iddle Ages because at that point in time it would have been more useful or &pragmatic'
than to have the earth circle it. 0is ironic view of the world is that it is conditioned b"
past precedents, since there is no true and we are not moving an"where closer to an" truth.
0e believes cultures and historical events shape what the people view as useful and make
what is useful truthful. (John Frankman)
10. What is a meta$narrati/e and wh' is it supposedl' pro)lematic accord to
&'otard?
A meta-narrative (or &grand narrative') is a large-scale macro view of the world.
An" overarching s"stem, such as histor", science, or inherent rights has been leveraged
into a commodit", a form of power. 2"otard finds it impossible to classif" the intricasies
of life properl" with such a s"stem, claiming that no such s"stem can ade(uatel" e*plain
the human condition, since the leveraging of knowledge for power has destro"ed the
objectivit" of all (uantifiable truth. $ince it is impossible to come up with a single
s"stem that accounts for all variables, grand narratives must be flawed. (Pastor)
11. If, as good postmoderns, our attitude should )e one of incredulit' towards
metanarrati/es, what is &'otard3s alternati/e? !o 'ou find it compelling?
2"otard instead appeals to micro-narratives, calling for there to be thousands of
individual rulebooks for each situation. - do no find this compelling because the problem
is just as prevalent with micro-narratives as it is with grand narratives. ,educing things
to the smallest micron will not solve the issue of objectival inade(uac". #he central
issues still remain. 3hether we have one big robot wholistic robot or thousands of
nanobots in the shape of a big robot, the issues are the same. 3ithout obtainable
objective truth no narrative is legitimate. (Pastor)