Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Contemporary Philosophies: Modernism, Postmodernism, Reductionism, Objectivism, Deconstructionism

Modernism & Postmodernism
Omar KN

In modernism it was believed that materiality or phenomena was everything there is and that it is superiour to anything else. This philosophy of science is called positivism - it is a rejection of metaphysics, as it holds that the goal of knowledge is simply to describe the phenomena that we experience, which we can observe and measure and nothing beyond that. 

In some quarters there was still an underlying, dormant longing for the construction or discovery of the Grand Design, meaning a new unity of being, of what Reality really is, but a unity which had to do without religion and metaphysics. Probing the "Grand Design, in posing the greatest questions: How vast is the Universe, the entirety of existence? Was there a beginning? Will there be an end? What is the origin and fate of the Universe?" 

However, as Charles Upton has shown in postmodernism it is always held (as a conviction or belief ?!) that:

(1) there is no Grand Design,
(2) truth is plural and ultimately subjective,
(3) reality
 is only as it is configured,
(4) there is nothing out there but chaotic potential.

Furthermore, with today's "celebration of diversity", normal logical thinking seems to have evaporated from many a contemporary mind, as modernism and postmodernism even can work together, or so it seems, in the mind of a single individual, confounding it and neutralizing any attempt toward a traditional or metaphysical view of reality!  So much so that by now "modernism has become nothing more than a sub-set, one more disrelated item in the postmodern spectrum of "diversity" ." 


[From English reduce: to resolve or analyze something into its constituent elements.]
1.      (metaphysics) A philosophical approach that attempts to reduce any complex phenomenon into its constituent elements or into a simpler or more fundamental phenomenon. Both physicalism andbehaviorism are examples of reductionism, and reductionism is often closely allied with materialism and determinism. (Sometimes also called reductivism.)


[A term coined by the French critic Jacques Derrida.]
1.      (aesthetics) A late twentieth-century theory of literature that concentrates on finding "ruptures" or inconsistencies which enable the critic to break down or "deconstruct" the text. Such deconstruction consists of asserting a personally or communally relative interpretation (usually focused on power relations or class conflict in society) without claiming that any text or interpretation has objective truth or meaning. Deconstructionism is a specific kind of postmodernism, and leans heavily toward subjectivism or evennihilism.


[From Latin objectum: that which is presented to consciousness.]
1.      (metaphysics) The doctrine that reality exists outside of the mind and that entities retain their identity no matter what human beings think or feel about them (colloquially captured in the phrase 'wishing doesn't make it so'). Historically, a less common word for realism, in opposition to subjectivism.
2.      (ethics) The view that there are naturalistic or non-subjective standards of value and conduct.
3.      (philosophy) The self-described name for Ayn Rand's philosophy; see Randianism.

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