11
POST-MODERNISM

There is no clear point in time when post-modernism began, nor is there a clear definition of what it is. In fact there is no single position which is 'the' post-modern position, as it covers a range of different responses to the modern world.

The term 'post-modernism' was first used in the late 1930s by the English historian Arnold Toynbee. It is a particular phenomenon of French culture. French philosophy, which is very different from Anglo-American, lays particular stress on the French language and the power of texts, which is clearly in evidence in post-modernism. Post-modernism may be connected with the student riots in Paris in 1968 and the Marxism and anarchist sentiments that lay beneath French culture at the time.

To the post-modern mind, context and perspective are everything. There is more than one form of post-modernism, but at least in some versions the reality we talk about and inhabit is one that we construct, that can be radically altered and one that has no fixed points of reference. In post-modernism there is no good or bad art, only the appreciation and interpretation each individual brings to what he or she sees. Thus, a painting using elephant dung that won the 'Turner Prize for art in Britain, a pile of bricks that was exhibited at the Tate Gallery and a sheep preserved in formaldehyde that was regarded as one of the great British modern works of art are all considered to rank equally with the paintings of Turner, Constable and Picasso.

-95-

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What Is Truth?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page III
  • New College Lectures and Publications V
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Dedication and Acknowledgments xi
  • Part One - What is Truth? 1
  • 1 - The Implications of a Denial of Truth--Or the Claim to Have It 3
  • 2 - Realism and Anti-Realism 12
  • 3 - Foundations Without Indubitability 29
  • 4 - Anti-Realism in Religion and Morality 38
  • 5 - Constructivism in Psychology 49
  • Part Two - There is No Truth Out There 63
  • 7 - Ontology and Epistemology 65
  • 8 - Hegel and Marx 74
  • 9 - Nietzsche and Ivan Karamazov 79
  • 10 - The Denial of a Real World 89
  • 11 - Post-Modernism 95
  • 12 - Post-Modernism and Self-Identity 105
  • 13 - Interim Conclusion 117
  • Part Three - The Centre Can Hold 121
  • 14 - The Path to Truth 123
  • 15 - The Kotzker 126
  • 16 - Soren Kierkegaard and Subjectivity 132
  • 17 - Wittgenstein and Perspicuity 141
  • 18 - The Sufis 151
  • 19 - Vaclav Havel and Living the Truth 156
  • 20 - Fear and Freedom 164
  • 21 - Bringing the Threads Together 182
  • Notes 190
  • Index 201
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