The Death of Postmodernity

Posted: August 25, 2011 in philosophy

Collin Hansen has written an excellent piece for the Gospel Coalition blog about the demise of postmodernism.  Although a little heady, the article is definitely worth the read.

Here’s a taste (but read the whole article):

Christians tend to think of postmodernism as a revolution in philosophy and ethics. This view of postmodernism—an all-encompassing, coherent alternative to the arrogant certainty of modernism—stands on shaky ground. Postmodernism has always been applied selectively and often resembles a hyper-modernism, not a radically new enterprise. Indeed, postmodernism can only be explained in relation to its predecessor. The postmodern schools of art and literature represented a scattered protest against the conventions of modernism…

Wise church leaders will recognize that some things have indeed changed in recent decades. We wouldn’t even want everything to revert. To cite one example, epistemic humility can check our sinful arrogance and even reflect the biblical wisdom of 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” Thanks to the effects of postmodernism, no longer do Enlightenment philosophes claim they can compile all human knowledge by means of reason apart from revelation.

The problem is that the end of our human quest to know everything has left some wondering how we can know anything. Commenting about the Docx article, Tim Keller told me:

For two years I’ve been hearing echoes of this basic message: Postmodernism was helpful in that it made us more open to how conditioned we are by culture and history, it showed us how easy it is to make truth claims into power plays. But postmodernism in the end eats itself. In the end there must be some basis for truth, justice, authenticity—or we can’t live.

  1. Christopher Benson says:

    My reply to Collin Hansen’s post:

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