Postmodernism's defining feature is its questioning of the existence of objective truth, but when subjectivity is viewed as what reality is, it immediately stalls the mechanisms of learning.
I would agree with the title of this piece but go one further. Not only does Post-modernism impede learning, but it also impedes our ability to function as a society.
For students of Communist/Marxist philosophy, the concept you explain here will be familiar, "Postmodernism, on the other hand, teaches that those in power wield socially-constructed knowledge as a means of subjugation. "
This is a modern-day twist on the concept of polylogism. In Marist philosophy, polylogism (or proletarian logic) explains that classes aren't simply different by economic or value standards but utilize mutually exclusive logic to see the world and are therefore incompatible with existing together in society. The Nazis used a similar concept to explain why "undesirables" (see: Jews) could not coexist with "Aryans."
I've seen the same, an alarming turn of events.
The bottom line is that postmodernism denies that truth exists. And no discipline that adopts such a stance can progress. It is suicidally self-limiting.
There is an important corollary: postmodernism asserts, hypocritically, that it is certainly true that power and the oppressed and the oppressors do exist. That self-contradiction makes it even worse.
I appreciate the take on a cultural/ societal development that has been painfully unmistakable for me. I found the use of post-modernism, to describe the young generation’s psychological constitution, refreshing and apt. As a psychologist, I primarily default to a bio-psych-social lens to discuss the same problems, I think post-modernism nails the nuances and illuminates how the trend of their slang, isn’t just “trend”, but rather speaks directly to their experience. Our younger generation sorely lacks opportunity to develop resilience, attention span, and the capacity for boredom. Commonly, leaving them ill equipped to think through struggles or tolerate discomfort.
As another professional in the field, I relate.
how can anyone be a teacher in this environment. i'd be so frustrated.
Thoughtful article. Don't forget that Foucault embraced pedophilia...disgusting. Makes sense if you don't believe in right/wrong: "Foucault argued that children could give sexual consent. In 1977, along with Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, and other intellectuals, Foucault signed a petition to the French parliament calling for the decriminalization of all 'consensual' sexual relations between adults and minors below the age of fifteen, the age of consent in France."
A hallmark of parenting in the last quarter century is the belief that children should never struggle or doubt or learn to get up when they fall down. A bubble-wrapping of an entire generation. Kids have been denied the opportunity to try and fail, and to take calculated risks. They've also been oversupervised by parents who won't let them play by themselves or with other children without adults directing play. Everyone I know who has kids does their homework with them. My generation did homework alone. If we got into something we were really struggling with, some of us might have gone to parents for help, but most of us didn't consider it. We had to push through on our own. We were allowed to get bad grades when we didn't do the work. There was competition everywhere. And we also got to spend loads of free time alone with our peers, forming a separate child society where we worked out our own rules, pacts, treaties, wars, benefits, and consequences. We learned to negotiate with each other and resolve conflicts. A child who is picked up every time she falls will not learn resilience. A child who is not allowed to try and fail and persist, and try again, and again until he succeeds will not learn persistence. A child whose every move is orchestrated by an adult and whose every moment is spent with an adult singsonging, "Good job!" at them will not learn what they actually enjoy doing because they will always be doing tricks in exchange for validation. A child who is not allowed to walk three blocks to school or play unsupervised in the back yard will not learn independence.
Postmodernism may be part of it, but I'd look closer to home.
I agree with you entirely, and it is behind the collapse of our two party political system. Post-modern left, brutal right. Such a difficulty for the left: The doddering elderly Democratic party needs to give up the reins, but those who would take them will assuredly lead us to yet another Republican presidency. The Democratic party needs some new ideas, not just younger people cleaving to the same crepitating post-modernist rubbish of the elderly left. Derrida is dead, cancellations are being cancelled, and truth is making a comeback. Time for a third party.
THE TRUTH will set you free. Other than in a post modernist enclave of course. How does a post modernist respond when asked to be sworn in to testify in court?
This is an interesting angle. As an educator, I see the post-modern framework as an epistemic crutch for the new left. Truth is inconvenient especially when it does not confirm your adolescent obsession with yourself and your identity. As a society, we see a people delaying adulthood and staying stuck in the adolescent stage of life - LARPing through your 20s, as opposed to getting married, having children and developing some real world responsibilities. Academia has become a prestigious daycare for the generation afraid to adult. Post-modernism offers an excuse for this self-obsessed perpetual immaturity - a way out. If your identity is your entire raison d'etre, everything becomes woven into the fabric of your identity(even your ability to do or not do something). These various identities become currency. Of course, young people that actually ARE adolescents are going to explore living life as a superlative - it might confirm some level of victim status on them and give them a purpose and even more importantly - an identity that they can self-obsess over. When your entire life is about looking inward and exploring the self, it gets really boring really fast.
Agree. For the most part he overshot, as they do. But he made some incredibly insightful points too. And you can teach in this environment - I do - without bowing to him and this new Socjus orthodoxy. He is useful. Like everybody, from Marx to Smith to Friedan to Friedman etc. His private habits are not our business.
I think the overcorrective from ignoring mental health - in our day - to obsessing over it today is more inhibiting than MF or even whatever that mess of ideas postmodernism is supposed to be.
This is an interesting combination of sociological observation and commentary on the philosophical/epistemic tough spot our society finds itself at. What concepts can we lean on today? I value liberty in the tradition of the American founding fathers. Today’s circumstances have also prompted me to embrace religion, partly as a bulwark against postmodernism. (Truth and the Good DO exist, darn it. It’s not all relative.) Thanks for the article.
We just finished filming a Coming of Age Documentary, “Hudson, America” about six Gen Z, Bangladeshi immigrants, from upstate NY. We followed the students from their High School graduation to their graduation from various private and state Colleges in the North East, from 2016 to 2022. We witnessed the change described in the article, first hand, and in real time. I don’t know if it is Postmodernism or another “ism” but I hope that we will dig ourselves out of this Academic reckoning trip to alternative truth and presto.
So to be and practice ‘post modernism’ is a cop out of sorts. It’s for and creates weak thinkers. Hear that Oprah!
Correct . But my point is whether you affirm or swear the person giving testimony is agreeing to tell THE truth. Not his. Not hers. Not theirs.