By John Spritzler
May 31, 2023
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/postmodernism-bs
[Also of interest: "My Experience in a Postmodern PhD Program"]
First, what is postmodernism? Here is a brief description of it from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
"Postmodernists deny that there are aspects of reality that are objective; that there are statements about reality that are objectively true or false; that it is possible to have knowledge of such statements (objective knowledge); that it is possible for human beings to know some things with certainty; and that there are objective, or absolute, moral values. Reality, knowledge, and value are constructed by discourses; hence they can vary with them. This means that the discourse of modern science, when considered apart from the evidential standards internal to it, has no greater purchase on the truth than do alternative perspectives, including (for example) astrology and witchcraft. Postmodernists sometimes characterize the evidential standards of science, including the use of reason and logic, as “Enlightenment rationality.”
If postmodernists ran an airline company based on witchcraft instead of modern science, would you buy a ticket from the company and expect the airline to fly you safely from point A to point B? Just asking.
POSTMODERNISM IN PRACTICE
Example #1. "Trans swimmer Lia Thomas 'dropped her pants' and exposed her 'male genitalia' in a women's locker room after a meet, claims University of Kentucky athlete Riley Gaines
Riley Gaines, 23, claimed female swimmers were not 'forewarned beforehand that we would be sharing a locker room with Lia'
'In that locker room, we turned around and there’s a 6’4" biological man dropping his pants...we were exposed to male genitalia,' she said
Gaines is asking the NCAA for separate locker rooms for transgender athletes" [from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11731777/Trans-swimmer-Lia-Thomas-dropped-pants-exposed-male-genitalia-womens-locker-room.html ]
The swimmer, Lia Thomas, is fully and obviously a male, yet he insists in all seriousness that he is a female. According to postmodernism, what Lia Thomas believes trumps the objective reality of his physical body being that of a male. The reason Lia Thomas is a member of the women's swim team and is allowed to use the women's locker room is because the authorities go along with his absurd claim to be a female, in other words the authorities, not just Lia Thomas, subscribe to postmodernism.
Example #2. "The bearded 6ft reporter who was told he CAN use the female changing rooms in Selfridges, Matalan, Uniqlo and Agent Provocateur after telling staff he identifies as a woman"
This is essentially the same story as that of Lia Thomas, namely the authorities subscribe to postmodernism and hence accept the absurd idea that an obvious male is a female just because he says he is.
Example #3. "Bearded powerlifter who identified as a woman enters female event and smashes record"
The difference between this example and the first two is that the bearded powerlifter seems to have not truly believed he was a woman but merely said he believed it to expose how the authorities would accept such an absurd belief as true. He made his point, because the authorities used postmodernism to make their decision.
Santa Claus and Postmodernism
Here (go to https://youtube.com/shorts/GzksJ7nJKTk?feature=share ) for your viewing pleasure is a woman who is a skilled postmodernist thinker. How can one tell? The give-away is this: she refuses to say that Santa Claus is not real; she only will say Santa Claus is real for the four year old child who BELIEVES it so. Belief is all there is, not objective reality. (Note: the postmodernist thinker is portrayed by the woman in the video as edited in the video. For all I know this woman is simply an actor hired to deliver a scripted performance, and not in real life a person who refuses to say that Santa Claus doesn't really exist.)
BISHOP BERKELEY VERSUS POSTMODERNISM
Bishop Berkeley in the 18th century argued that there was no objective reality, and that "to be was [merely] to be perceived," in other words that the only reality was the collection of perceptions of all human beings. Berkeley defended this odd opinion by further arguing that the perceptions of all human beings fit together logically and avoided being contradictory because God created these perceptions to be that way. So at least Berkeley agreed that there was a coherent non-contradictory "world" of all human perceptions.
In contrast, the postmodernists assert that contradictory versions of reality are just fine, with neither version any more valid or invalid than the other, as long as each version is believed by somebody.
BEWARE OF POSTMODERNISM
What about postmodern architecture?
I don't think that "postmodern architecture" has much to do with postmodernism philosophy; the two just happen to use a similar phrase. Read this article (at https://www.architecture.com/explore-architecture/postmodernism#:~:text=Postmodernism%20in%20architecture,the%20dogmas%20associated%20with%20it ) about postmodern architecture and see if you can find anything that is about there not being an objective reality, which is a core feature of postmodernism philosophy. I didn't find anything like that.