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[Link] How French intellectuals ruined the West - Postmodernism and its impact, explained

4 Post author: ig0r 17 April 2017 12:42AM

Comments (12)

Comment author: bogus 17 April 2017 02:59:19PM *  5 points [-]

Despite its length and sometimes overwrought writing style, this article does not quite manage to "explain" postmodernism, so much as caricature its worst manifestations and developments. We're all aware that these developments exist, but treating them as if they were the only product of the aforementioned 'French intellectuals' that might be worthy of notice strikes me as quite counterproductive! To take just one example from the beginning, the article claims that Nietzsche and Heidegger espoused "anti-realism and[] rejection of the concept of the unified and coherent individual"... I mean, really? Says who? (Is the author even aware that Heidegger lived in a hut in the woods most of his life? Does he think that this should tell us nothing about what he was actually trying to say, if not always with the greatest clarity?) And that's just the first issue I spotted here - to take another, if you think postmodernism can be described as "decidedly left wing", you're clearly unfamiliar with the rather nuanced stances of many of its proponents.

Comment author: lmn 17 April 2017 05:29:43PM 5 points [-]

Is the author even aware that Heidegger lived in a hut in the woods most of his life?

Who is this relevant?

if you think postmodernism can be described as "decidedly left wing", you're clearly unfamiliar with the rather nuanced stances of many of its proponents.

Do you actual think this kind of blatant lie is going to fool anyone? Or have you adopted the post-moderists' selective attitude towards objective reality?

Comment author: gworley 18 April 2017 06:15:11PM 3 points [-]

The neo-reactionary movement and the "dark enlightenment" seem very much in the post-modernist context yet not decidedly left wing. They disagree on values with most people who adopt post-modernist thinking, sure, but they utilize the same general stances towards epistemology, identity, and society as post-modernists, especially the structuralists.

Comment author: eternal_neophyte 17 April 2017 05:49:57PM 3 points [-]

blatant lie

Is it?

Comment author: tristanm 17 April 2017 06:02:01PM 2 points [-]

And that's just the first issue I spotted here - to take another, if you think postmodernism can be described as "decidedly left wing", you're clearly unfamiliar with the rather nuanced stances of many of its proponents.

It's less about the personal stances of some of its proponents and more about its apparent rejection of "meta-narratives." Marxism (in perhaps its most original form) is a meta-narrative and so in one sense, if you define left-wing as to be closer to Marxism, then postmodernism probably can't be called "decidedly left-wing". But on the other hand, if you define "left-wing" as being more towards egalitarianism in general, then postmodernism is decidedly left-wing in that it apparently places most points of view and ideologies on equal footing, and rejects any claims of superiority of one over another.

Comment author: ig0r 18 April 2017 03:31:40AM 0 points [-]

I think that's right and it's a bit of a strawman. I don't think pomo originally threw out epistemology but it provides tools that, while useful for general societal critique, are also easy to shoot your foot off with. So, pomo allows for some good things but also seems to have enabled identity politics as well as right wing fake news hysteria.

Comment author: metatroll 18 April 2017 06:55:22AM 3 points [-]

For extra credit, write an essay from the perspective of Beijing in 2040, on "How American rationalists ruined the East".

Comment author: tukabel 18 April 2017 03:04:54PM 0 points [-]

Bonus credit: Why all this is irrelevant.

e.g. - the only purpose of humanimals (governed by their DeepAnimal brains - that's why their societies are ruled the same way for millenia) in the Grand Theatre of the Evolution of Intelligence is to produce their own successor - via the Memetic Supercivilization of Intelligence living on top of the underlying humanimals - sadly, in less than a percent of individuals

Comment author: tristanm 17 April 2017 06:15:07PM 2 points [-]

My main criticism of this piece is that I disagree with drawing a straight causal arrow from postmodernism --> identitarianism, because while I think the latter draws from the former in many ways, it also markedly departs from it. The way I see it drawing from postmodernism is that a lot of the tools of criticism of institutions and ideologies are largely the same between the two. The primary way that it departs is that in identitarianism, the individual self is held as an absolute, and for the most part, feelings and emotions are held to be the supreme sources of truth. So in that way, it actually bears more similarity to Romanticism and Transcendentalism. I think the author is probably confusing ideas from those movements with the ideas of Foucault and Derrida, and while the latter thinkers draw from those older philosophies I don't think they can be equated with each other.

Comment author: eternal_neophyte 17 April 2017 08:02:21PM 0 points [-]

a lot of the tools of criticism of institutions and ideologies are largely the same between the two

Do you have a specific example of that?

Comment author: tristanm 17 April 2017 08:41:57PM *  1 point [-]

From the linked article:

Judith Butler drew on Foucault for her foundational role in queer theory focusing on the culturally constructed nature of gender, as did Edward Said in his similar role in post-colonialism and “Orientalism” and Kimberlé Crenshaw in her development of “intersectionality” and advocacy of identity politics.

I mean when the author points out that many of the mainstream left's thought leaders draw directly from Foucault, she isn't wrong. That's just noticing something that's easily verifiable. I just think she's missing a facet of how non-academic people have taken it and run with it, which draws on a larger philosophical heritage.

Comment author: eternal_neophyte 17 April 2017 08:46:22PM 0 points [-]

Ah, I confused myself because I thought you were referring to the neo-right French Identitarian youth movement: https://www.generation-identitaire.com/