Mr Fjeld wrote:Please excuse me for this rather long and boring post. Clearly, I must aiming for the nerd awards with this one:
No, it's a really well thought out and interesting response. It's really nice, and rare, to find someone online who really takes the time to think about something you posted and have something interesting to say about it
Mr Fjeld wrote: Yet, you will find "good" cars which fail in the market and "lesser good" cars being very popular? Same with film and music; albums receiving good reviews - and films too - yet they never do well (excluding art films and cult directors).
That is true. But for me (and I'm a part time arrogant, elitist snob) that just means that the public has a failure of taste. For example, I just went and saw a great, thought provoking, well made, and morally complex vampire film (Thirst) at the New Zealand International Film Festival. But what Vampire film do the majority of people watch? Twilight. (And I see the irony of someone who called himself an elitist snob talking about vampire films. A proper elitist snob wouldn't lower themselves to that level
Mr Fjeld wrote:
I wouldn't blame postmodernism. After all it's the best thing to happen since sliced bread........and that was good right? Seriuosly, PM in the west was a reaction to both marxist orientated ideologies of the sixties and seventies as well as strict formal science - and the main domain of postmodernism were the social sciences and philosophy. I don't think PM set out to dispute a priori knowledge but rather to shift focus away from absolutism of the postwar period in art, litterature and social science. There is much to say about postmodernism and typical shortcomings of postmodern theories such as relativism taken too far, but they are not flavour of the month any longer and haven't been since the early part of the nineties. The good things introduced by PM would be for example "subjectivity" as there isn't room for personal experience in science - yet in scientific philosophy it's a problem - a problem most scientist tend to ignore almost in a religious rather than scientific manner. It's like pretending there isn't a problem although it's clearly there; lets not think about it and maybe it'll go away. Most of the hardcore science guys won't acknowlege litterature, history or social science anyway so one could very well just exclude those as scientific.
But, one of the interesting aspects of PM is in my opinion that they do indeed seek objectivity - but rather objectivity through subjectivity - instead of the usual presenting of "scientific facts". An example would be from Social Anthropology - also called British Anthropology where the method of writing oneself into the text makes the reader aware of who the person is; where does he come from, what cultural baggage does he bring, how can his understanding of his experience be understood etc. In many ways this is a good way - and perhaps the only way to reach objectivity where a strictly scientific approach has its shorcomings. You just cannot measure litterature - it's all about interpretation.
Unfortunately people love to use postmodernism as the republicans use the word "liberal" with disdain. It has a different meaning than most people would expect (I'm not accusing you of this
I think we should allow people to feel free to explain or analyse their whisky if they so wish to - or not.
OK, cards on the table. I am definitely guilty of what you say about postmodernism - I do sometimes use it as an intellectual kickabout, kinda like republicans misuse liberal. And I would admit, I probably don't understand it as well as I'd like to think I do. I do think that postmodernism has introduced some welcome and fantastic concepts into the intellectual landscape. I also would argue that it has been important not so much in its effect on science, but as a necessary counterpoint to science. I might have it wrong, but I've always understood that postmodernism was, in a sense, a response to the absolutist notions of science (and of course, art, literature, etc). I guess (coming from a rigorously analytical university philosophy background) I am not hugely up to the play with more modern postmodernist developments. I had generally understood the theory as effectively attempting to undermine the notion of objectivity, and encouraging individuals to cling to their subjective experience. This notion of objectivity through subjectivity is interesting. I have encountered a little social anthropology (my wife has studied some), but have I understood you right that by the author revealing their background, biases, prejudices, you can understand that their writing comes with all that built in, and you can assess it from that understanding? Thats a really interesting idea, though it relies on extremely accurate and fulsome self reflection maybe.
I guess I don't object to post modernism as such; more the extremes that it was taken to in some quarters. It's intellectually lazy of me, but it's fun to rip into a theory that denies the possibility of objective truth. Even if you can't disprove it, it's fun
. BUt it is unfair to single out postmodernism. I don't like socialism taken to extremes (true communism), yet I don't whine on about how lame socialism is; indeed I consider myself fairly left wing.