Re: Of Postmodernism, Spins, and What The Hell (fwd)

Gary Blanchard (
Wed, 29 May 1996 22:44:45 -0700

Dear Bob-

WOW! Thanks for your message on the above. But I must tell you that I am
agog trying to comprehend it. Obviously, you know your stuff here, and are
able to be facile about matters that I am new to.

I am not even sure what it is to 'deconstruct' a matter.

Let me see if I can segment your comments incrementally, and in that way
better get the value of them:

>Robert Parks wrote:

>1]...I would profer the view that the name "modernism" is now applied to
>a project that attempts to TRANSCEND the prejudices of positionality /
>localism / prejudice etc by creating a universalistic epistemology... a
>theory that posits a transcendent observer, capable of incorporating
>relevant evidence and universal perspectives.

Gary replies: A.What is 'a universalistic epistemology?'
B.What is a 'transcendant observer?'
C.'Relevant evidence' to what?
D. What is a 'universal perspective?'
C.You seem to call 'modern' what I thought was postmodern.'
Is this so, or am I confused here?
D. Please give me an example of what you mean,re above items.

>2]...The post-modernist project (like existentialism in the 50's, but
>others have said Feierabend's philosophy of science or Derrida marked
>watersheds) appears to arise as a critique of the universalistic
>aspirations of modernism...,

Gary replies: I hope to understand this after I read your responses to the
above questions, especially 'the universalistic aspirations of modernism.'
I have not encountered that idea before and just don't know what you mean.

>3] VALUE to the positionality (for example, multiculturalism) of groups, the localism required to see problems from the bottom up.

Gary replies: Here again, if you would be willing to give me a little more
explanation and examples, I would appreciate it.

>...The claim appears to be made that the universalistic aspirations of
>modernists masked a hidden agenda (for example, patriarchical values
>imbedded in Freudian theory).

Gary replies: Ditto...except, I get the idea that you agree that the
Modernists definitely precede the Postmodernists, in historical time. And
I wonder, what about the Modernists triggered calling them Modernists?

>...It isn't clear to me what postmodernists would substitute, except as
>Lois has hinted, a revolution of permanent deconstruction.
Gary replies: What Postmodernists would substitute for what?
And, what do you mean by 'a revolution of permanent
deconstruction.' What would that look/feel like?
And, Lois, any comment?

Bob, I hope this approach does not cause you concern. I really want to get
a handle on what this Modern-Postmodern issue(s) is/are all about, and I
appreciate your efforts to help me learn. You too, Lois. And anyone else
out there with something to contribute.

Thanks, Gary