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2 comments | Friday, September 01, 2006

If anyone likes to be trapped in a box, I recommend joining the ranks of postmodernism (post-mo). J.P. Moreland defines post-mo in Truth, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Postmodern Turn as:

“As a philosophical standpoint, postmodernism is primarily a reinterpretation of what knowledge is and what counts as knowledge. More broadly, it represents a form of cultural relativism about such things as reality, truth, reason, value, linguistic meaning, the self and other notions. On a postmodernist view, there is no such thing as objective reality, truth, value, reason and so forth. All these are social constructions, creations of linguistic practices and, as such, are relative not to individuals, but to social groups that share a narrative.”

If anything were to tear down a foundation, post-mo does it like no other. I often hear Christians engage postmodern thinkers in the Church through “dialogues.” However, this seems to have been, at least thus far, unproductive. Postmodernism seems to box a person into their own language construct. All values, concepts and meaning are created through your esoteric community, which you cannot escape. This invisible barrier of social deterministic structure and language confine you from other communities; nothing can be communicated in a meaningful way. What’s interesting though is that the post-mo wants us to understand this, as if there is a secret trap door that only they can crawl through and correct you when you’re wrong. But they do this because people, in reality, don't act as if post-mo is true; it’s just lip service.

J.P Moreland has expressed his strong opposition toward post-mo. He states that “[N]ot only are postmodern views of truth and knowledge confused, but postmodernism is an immoral and cowardly viewpoint such that persons who love truth and knowledge, especially disciples of the Lord Jesus, should do everything they can to heal the plague that postmodernism has and inevitably does leave” (Ibid). Now those are strong words, but I think within the context Christianity, Scripture and meaning, he has warrant for intense concern. Post-mo philosophers and theologians; however, fancy their language penitentiary view enough argue in volumes of books in attempt to persuade people outside their ‘community’. Hence, on its face, post-mos’ in action seems self-referentially incoherent.

I particularly like the way Plantinga articulates post-mo as a position with out any real substance:

As we are often told nowadays, we live in a postmodern era; and postmodernists pride themselves on rejecting the classical foundationalism that we all learned at our mother's knee. Classical foundationalism has enjoyed a hegemony, a near consensus in the West from the Enlightenment to the very recent past. And according to the classical foundationalist, our beliefs, at least when properly founded, are objective in a double sense. The first sense is a Kantian sense; what is objective in this sense is what is not merely subjective, and what is subjective is what is private or peculiar to just some persons. According to classical foundationalism, well-founded belief is objective in this sense; at least in principle, any properly functioning human beings who think together about a disputed question with care and good will, can be expected to come to an agreement. Well-founded belief is objective in another sense as well: it has to do with, is successfully aimed at, objects, things, things in themselves, to borrow a phrase. Well-founded belief is often or unusually adequate to the thing; it has an adequatio ad rem. There are horses, in the world, and my thought of a given horse is indeed a thought of that horse. Furthermore, it is adequate to the horse, in the sense that the properties I take the horse to have are properties it really has. That it has those properties - the ones I take it to have - furthermore, does not depend upon me or upon how I think of it: the horse has those properties on its own account, independent of me or anyone else. My thought and belief is therefore objective in that it is centered upon an object independent of me; it is not directed to something I, as a subject, have construed or in some other way created.

Now what is characteristic of much postmodern thought is the rejection of objectivity in this second sense - often in the name of rejecting objectivity in the first sense. The typical argument for postmodern relativism leaps lightly from the claim that there is no objectivity of the first sort, to the claim that there is none of the second. As you have no doubt noticed, this is a whopping non sequitur; that hasn't curbed its popularity in the least. Classical foundationalism, so the argument runs, has failed: we now see that there is no rational procedure guaranteed to settle all disputes among people of good will; we do not necessarily share starting points for thought, together with forms of argument that are sufficient to settle all differences of opinion. That's the premise. The conclusion is that therefore we can't really think about objects independent of us, but only about something else, perhaps constructs we ourselves have brought into being. Put thus baldly, the argument does not inspire confidence; but even if we put it less baldly, is there really anything of substance here? In any event, by this route too we arrive at the thought that there isn't any such thing as truth that is independent of us and our thoughts. The idea seems to be that objectivity in the first, Kantian sense, necessarily goes with objectivity in the second, external sense, so that if our thought isn't objective in the first sense, then it isn't objective in the second sense either. And what has happened within at least some of so-called postmodernisms is that the quite proper rejection of the one - a rejection that would of course have received the enthusiastic support of Kuyper and Dooyeweerd - has been confused with the rejection, the demise of the other - an idea that Kuyper and Dooyweerd would have utterly rejected.



Alvin Plantinga, "Christian Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century," The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader, pp. 332-334

As time passes though, it is my impromptu suspicion that the post-mo pendulum will fade back into the oblivion of ideas that arise on the pendulum, but swing right back away-- or --for the sake of Christians, at least down to the depths outside the veil of value.

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2 Comments:

Blogger GooseHenry said...

Hi BF

Well, regarding morals this is a fact.

I've yet to encounter anyone who denies for example the law of non-contradiction. But i guess it is a matter of time.

9/03/2006 11:24 PM

 
Blogger Fernando G.C xD said...

let it be !


rastafari culture is not dead xD

4/11/2008 11:44 AM

 

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