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ERIC Number: ED410556
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-12
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Toward a Coherent Antifoundational Practice.
Bachelder, Chris
Although several recent articles have addressed postmodernism in ethical terms, it is not difficult to see the perils facing anyone who wants to talk about ethics, since it is hard to justify certain practices over others. An individual cannot appeal to human needs or capacities, since these are said to be variously constructed by various discourse communities; a person cannot speak of ethical knowledge, because such talk is infected with objectivist rationality, said to be deadly in its own right. To the extent that an individual does any of these things while simultaneously promoting a postmodern epistemology, he or she is engaging in self-refutation and incoherence. Postmodernism is a notoriously imprecise term which emphasizes the situatedness of all knowledge claims and rejects the notion that theories match or fit reality in more or less accurate ways. For many postmodernists, truth does not exist, or if it does, limited human beings could never know it all. Postmodernism seems to demystify, while at the same time reject the idea that there is anything there to be demystified. The postmodern dichotomy between socially constructed knowledge and truth is a false dichotomy, taking the form of rhetoric or situatedness versus truth. So the postmodern ethical project seems doomed because it relies uncritically on false postmodern precepts and assumptions. Considering what is at stake, humanities scholars and teachers should think through the pitfalls of postmodernism and elaborate an epistemology and an ethics that is coherent and compatible with emancipatory aims. (Contains 16 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A