Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some more thoughts on postmodernism/deconstructionalism

I'm not sure if I'm postmodern. In fact, I rather doubt it.

But I also wouldn't consider myself to be modern, nor pre-modern (for example, I don't doubt much of technology, nor do I believe that rats are made out of rotting meat left in the corner of my hut).

So, what my arch-nemesis Stanley Fish is talking about in the article I linked to yesterday (with key lucid phrases encapsulated as such: "Richard Rorty... declared, 'where there are no sentences, there is no truth … the world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.' Descriptions of the world are made by us, and we, in turn, are made by the categories of description that are the content of our perception. These are not categories we choose — were they not already installed there would be nothing that could do the choosing; it would make more sense [but not perfect sense] to say that they have chosen or colonized us. Both the 'I' and the world it would know are functions of language. Or in Derrida’s famous and often vilified words: There is nothing outside the text. [More accurately, there is no outside-the-text.]") can be, for me, better summed up in a couple sentences from one of the posts in Scot McKnight's ongoing review of Roger Olsen's Reformed and Always Reforming.

[P]omo (postmodernity/postmoderns) is skepticism about grand narratives so that everything is local and particular. Some pomo folks, hard postmodernity, is deconstructive as it unmasks the power behind truth claims.

The softer kind — that which is picked up in some, if not most, postconservatives — is that all truth claims emerge from a narrative context. And here’s a very important point, and one that the critics of both emerging and postconservatism fail to appreciate and opt instead for a bludgeoning instrument:

knowledge may be relative even if truth is not” (127). “This is not relativism but recognition of the relativity of perspective inherent in all human thinking.” “Truth may be objective, but knowledge never is.

As I'm reading bits and pieces of this series, I completely see myself within the realm of the postconservative (not to be confused with neo-conservative) Christian - as well as the Emerging (esp. emerging-from-conservative-evangelicalism) Movement.

Just a heads-up. I should probably change my masthead descriptor of myself, eh?

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