“Michel Foucault has identified the major targets: “All my
analyses are against the idea of universal necessities in human
existence.” Such necessities must be swept aside as baggage from
the past: “It is meaningless to speak in the name of—or against—
Reason, Truth, or Knowledge.”
The dominant trend in the contemporary age is called post-moderism. Without getting into its meaning, which can easily be referenced here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism, I wanted to point out the book: where this qoute is coming from:
Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
Stephen R. C. Hicks
…and how startling the Foucault quote was to me, and should be to anyone who really thinks about it. I never really heard directly the outright confession of post-modernism as being anti-intellectual, but this quote makes so clear that it truely is. That someone would actually go so far as to make one’s entire philosophy revolve around what amounts in the end to the meaninglessness of human existence. As I have observed from friends who have fallen prey to this thinking, a fundamental lack of self-esteem seems to be handled very well by the ease of simply giving up on life which is so easily taken care of by post-modern notions of living.
It is not as if I am new to post-modern writers, Marshall McLuhan for instance is a very post-modern figure I think who comes at post-moderism well in terms of his take on its origins and place in the human brain. Umberto Ecco, is I think the only other direct postmodern writer I can think of where I know his work well enough. As this book points out, Michel Foucault, along with people I don’t really know yet but have hear of: Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, and Richard Rorty–are the headliners of postmodern thought in philosophy who have their roots in Kant, no doubt.
Recently and thankfully, I am I think discovering writers and even philosophers like Hicks or Paul Boghossian and Russell Jacoby who just might signal an end to the hegemony post-modern or rather, subjectivist philosophy has held over the mind of man for the entire last century with what Hicks calls, ‘The Twentieth Century Collapse of Reason. Ayn Rand might have been one of the first to explicitly identify post-modernism as subjectivism at its root, and it is relieving to hear someone like Hicks pointing out the social-political consequences of post-modern thinking as being a ‘threat liberal democracy’ which I think it very well is, and needs to be pointed out and dealt with.
The alleged meaning of post-modernism is purely historical, in being a historical period after and in reaction to the modern, but no system of thought can ever escape the principles of philosophy, since everything is a philosophy at some point. The ruling or root of postmoderist thinking is the phiosophy of subjectivism which holds that either a) all true knowledge is unknowable to man, b) that no real knowledge exists, c) that humans create reality with their minds.
All of the above have little to no evidence to back up their claims and yet THIS is the dominant mode and content of virtually all modern thought.
As I have observed it in friends for instance as well as in thinkers tainted with the post-modern spirit, which abound and can be found nearly everywhere, such as Howard Gardner who forgoes the scientific method and replaces testing with ‘research’ which consists of things he’s read, which would be fine if it pointed to more than a few facts rather than being just a slightly novel idea (the idea of Multiple Intelligences) with a very fragmented overview of intelligence.
I can see this philosophy everyday when I talk to friends who claim there are no answers to be found, even at the expense to common sense, which I find is more often than not, trumped by abstruse scientific readings.
We can see it in politics where the idea that Foucault is against ‘universal standards to human existence’ is trampled upon and forgotten. We forget that democracy itself is based upon an observed working set of common denominators in human existence. It is just a matter of time before the true consequences of post-modern philosophy are truely known to mankind.