Literature/1979/Lyotard

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Lyotard, Jean-François (1979). The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

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  • Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives. This incredulity is undoubtedly a product of progress in the sciences: but that progress in turn presupposes it. To the obsolescence of the metanarrative apparatus of legitimation corresponds, most notably, the crisis of metaphysical philosophy and of the university institution which in the past relied on it. @ Introduction
  • Here is the question: is a legitimation of the social bond, a just society, feasible in terms of a paradox analogous to that of scientific activity? What would such a paradox be? @ Introduction
  • ... the author of the report is a philosopher, not an expert. The latter knows what he knows and what he does not know: the former does not. One concludes, the other questions -- two very different language games. I combine them here with the result that neither quite succeeds. @ Introduction

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w: The Postmodern Condition
  • Lyotard professes a preference for this plurality of small narratives that compete with each other, replacing the totalitarianism of grand narratives. For this reason, The Postmodern Condition has been criticized as an excuse for unbounded relativism. However, Lyotard suggests that there is an objective truth, but because of the limited amount of knowledge that humans can understand, humans will never know this objective truth. In other words, Lyotard advocates that there is no certainty of ideas, but rather there are better or worse ways to interpret things.
  • Jean-François Lyotard, a postmodern theorist, has applied this term to societal 'power centers' that he describes as being 'governed by a principle of homeostasis,' for example, the scientific hierarchy, which will sometimes ignore a radical new discovery for years because it destabilises previously-accepted norms. @ w: Homeostasis

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."