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At last week’s Seattle Rationality Reading Group Richard Wu gave a presentation called “A Rationalist’s Guide To Postmodernism”, where he outlined Postmodernism as it relates to art, literature and philosophy. I took notes, and the original slides are linked from my notes.

Key takeaways:

  • Postmodernism isn’t a single movement - it’s a conglomeration of artistic, literary and philosophical styles that all were in opposition to the pre-World War 2 modernist ideologies in these fields
  • Postmodernism philosophy is all about finding ways to discover meaning in a world where you have multiple competing epistemological standards (rather than a single widely accepted epistemology)
  • While postmodernist styles in literature, art, and philosophy are far more widely divergent than their modernist counterpart, a common thread that unites them is their context-dependence. While modernist and pre-modern art and philosophy sought to be timeless, the post-modern versions of all these things acknowledge that they only make sense in a particular time and place.
  • Social Justice, as currently practiced on college campuses is weaponized postmodernism and SJWs understand postmodern philosophy about as well as politicians understand nuclear physics

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    Reading these notes made me revise upward my estimate of postmodernism’s value as something to pay attention to / study. That’s an impressive accomplishment. I will definitely have to read the whole slide deck of the presentation when I have a chance.

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      I hope you did. Well worth it :)

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