New truths

‘Postmodernism’ is not to blame for the post-truth era

With articles and books hailing a post-truth future multiplying across the English-speaking world, many attribute this change to ‘postmodernism’ or, even more loosely, to ‘French theory’. Not only is this historically inaccurate it completely misunderstands the project of the philosophers of 1960s Paris writes Tom Eyers.

 

Michiko Kakutani has a fearsome reputation as a reviewer of fiction at the New York Times. She recently published a book, ‘The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump’, that rehearses the no-doubt controversial case that truth is something to be valued. In the course of defending her position, Kakutani indicts what she calls ‘postmodernism’. It has devalued science, she says; it has reduced everything to narrative; and, ultimately, it has helped lead us to Trump. It is only the latest of a slew of books to suggest that our contemporary ills can be traced to the writings of a few philosophers and cultura

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Matt Whelan 6 January 2021

What these philosophies demonstrate, is that the contemporary equation of ‘French theory’ with ‘postmodern relativism’ is as historically ignorant as it is philosophically illiterate.

Matt Whelan 6 January 2021

This movement is better characterized as a late if vital expression of the modernist impulse.
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