Postmodernism “To say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.” ARISTOTLE METAPHYSICS 1077B26 What Are We Talking About & Why? What? •A worldview that rejects the existence of absolute truth Why? •For reasons of morality. How ought one to live. Are there moral absolutes and duties? •Evangelism, how can we share the gospel in this culture? •Theology, can we know anything about God? Premodernism •Church Hierarchy •Access to Truth is Mediated by the Church Scripture Tradition Society Cf. Postmodernism 101, 23-37 Modernism •Reformation Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura •The Role of Politics Divine Rights Scientific understanding of humanity •The Role of Philosophy Foundationalism [Descartes] Faith in the power of reason is the central pillar of the modern worldview. •The Role of Science The Copernican Revolution Cf. Postmodernism 101, 23-37 “The Pale Blue Dot” “Our posturings, our imagined selfimportance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.” Carl Sagan, from a Public Lecture delivered October 13, 1994, at Cornell University The Role of Science Postmodernism Metaphysical Realism 1. The existence of a theory-independent or language independent reality 2. The notion that there is one way the world really is [and] 3. The notion that the basic laws of logic [identity, noncontradiction, excluded middle] apply to reality Postmodernism Rejection of Absolutism • • All thought is historically and socially conditioned. A rejection of dichotomous thinking [there is no objective truth, no God’s eye view of things]. Real/unreal True/false Rational/irrational Right/wrong Virtue/vice Beautiful/ugly Postmodernism Rationality & Knowledge • Rationality—objectivity is impossible • Knowledge—a construction of one’s social, linguistic structures, not a justified, truthful representation of reality by one’s mental states. Postmodernism Antifoundationalism Postmoderns reject foundationalism and there is no quest for epistemic certainty or justification. The quest is misguided because people do not need certainty to live their lives well. Cf. Postmodernism 101, 30-31 Postmodernism Antiessentialism & Nominalism •Antiessentialism There is no distinction between essential and accidental properties Being human is essential to Socrates Being five feet tall is not essential to Socrates •Nominalism Nothing is literally the same from one moment to the next. There is a denial of universals, rather names for groups of things. The redness of an apple Postmodernism Meaning, Interpretation, & Self •Denial of authorial meaning There is no book of Romans. Rather, there is a Lutheran, Calvinist, Catholic, and Marxist book of Romans. •The Self Not an individual, a bundle of social roles Cf. Postmodernism 101, 67-85, 87-101, 103-122 [also for reference to Language] Puff, the magic dragon Lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist In a land called Honah Lee Postmodernism—Metanarratives Cf. Postmodernism 101, 150-154 Postmodernism The Problem of Historical Knowledge •History is not objective History is only reported from a bias perspective, thus cannot be trusted as truly objective. Winners write history. Cf. Postmodernism 101, 139-156 What Does This Mean for Christianity? How Should Christians Respond?