Postmodernism is not really easy to define, taking into account this fact that such would violate the postmodernist’s argument that no distinct, boundaries, terms or absolute truths exist. In this case, the term “postmodernism” remains totally vague, given that those claiming to be postmodernists have unreliable opinions and beliefs on various issues (Johannes).
Several issues are critical to this, for example are politics, religion, nationalism, and war the outcome of a primordial human mentality? Does truth exist or it’s an illusion? Can Christianity allege primacy or dictate human morals? This list is endless particularly for those affected by a postmodern lifestyle and philosophy (Christopher). This write up focuses on Postmodernism school of thought.
Postmodern philosophy unilaterally is a philosophical path critical of the foundational structures and assumptions of philosophy. Commencing as a mere critique of the Continental philosophy, it was to a larger extent heavily influenced by existentialism, structuralism and phenomenology. Postmodern philosophy is cynical or merely nihilistic towards most of the assumptions and values of philosophy that originate from modernity, like humanity having some essence that differentiates humans from other animals, or just the postulation that a form of government is perceptibly better than another. Some of the proponents of this school of thought include Rousseau, Kant, Hume, Wittgenstein Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche Schopenhauer, Dewey, Freud, Fichte, Quine among others (Vincent)
In the recent years, many philosophers of education have paid a lot of attention to trends in philosophy. This may loosely be defined as “postmodernist.” The fact that post modernism is not definable is a truism (Christopher). However, Postmodernism is a set of strategic, critical and rhetorical practices which employs concepts like the difference, the trace, repetition and the simulacrum so as to destabilize other concepts like presence, historical progress, identity and epistemic certainty. It is also defined as a practice in the contemporary culture that is characterized by the rejection of the world cultural narrative and the objective truth. It lays much of its emphasis on power relations, the role of language, and even motivations: particularly it criticizes the use of the sharp classifications like the male and the female, the white and the black among others. The postmodernism is an intentional departure from the modernism approaches to the philosophy that was in use before. In this paper, I will examine some of the trends within the modern philosophy and see the implications that it may have on both the pedagogy in the schools and for research and teaching in the philosophy of education (Mary).
Despite a lot of critiques from philosophers, the postmodernism is still used in the world today. It has enabled us to see the reality in a more complex way than we did before. Reality doesn’t exist objectively rather its part of our creation the postmodernists claim. The postmodernist movement has led to a salutary revival of the metaphysics. The post modernism has also rightly questioned the idea of unchanging, universal, and the unified self which has total knowledge and control of what it says thinks and does. For this reason, the postmodernism is still studied. The post modernists requires main shift in our conception of inquiry. Thus, we should perceive ourselves as seeking to reveal the pre-existing reality rather than involving ourselves in the knowledge creation (Christopher).
Implications for pedagogy
The foregoing has many implications on educational practice; however, due to space I will outline a few main ones. Firstly, the students in schools need to be helped to perceive hoe ideas and even institutions are tailored to fit people’s interests and values: for instance how a novel or a book expresses the distinctive needs and the background of the author. This will call for the need to involve the use of the technical language. Rorty, maintains that primary and secondary education is “a matter of socialization of trying to inculcate the sense of citizenship.” Whether this true or false, it’s none of the educators business in his professional capacity. But this is not only an inexplicable but also an extraordinary betrayal of post modernism. So the postmodernism emphasizes that schools should incorporate in their teaching social conventions and institutions than they do currently (Fredric).
We should help students to find the foundations of their lives. The contemporary culture is characterized by the lack of the sense of direction and stability. This is also a factor in trends in politics and religion. Students need to find the enduring values and ideals which contradicts not their experience of reality but provide a basis of each day living. This point can be put by encouraging students to engage in the general theorizing on reality and even life. The postmodernist emphasis on the concrete, local concerns is vital and hence should be applied in education: the studies in schools are too abstract and of little relevance. However, learning should be a combination of both the concrete and general (Mary).
Postmodernism emphasizes on democracy and dialogue. It also questions the motives of authorities and downplaying the role of the experts. Thus, we must think in terms of teachers and the students learning together. This is necessary so that the values and even the interests of students are taken into account. This will also change the role of the professionals (Christopher).
The extent to which the teacher is regarded as an expert differs from subject to subject. In subjects such as mathematics, the teacher may know more than the students unlike in values and family life. Lyotard points out the extent to which student in the colleges cal learns from the computerized data banks. Beside, teachers should help students learn how to learn to use those technologies. The great merit of the self directed inquiry is that, students are involved in determining what to learn and why, hence they will be in apposition to express their needs and values (Johannes).
Are postmodernists Right and Wrong? Postmodernists do not endeavor to filter their judgment about what is true or false, good or evil, right or wrong. According to them such a thing as absolute truth doesn’t exist. Therefore, nobody has the right to classify truth or force upon others his proposal of moral right and wrong. In politics they protest the suppression of equal rights by Western societies. The Postmodernists believe that the capitalistic economic system lack equal distribution of salary and goods. The few rich prosper at the expense of the mass populace (Vincent).
I like what all this beliefs defend but most of all their either confused or rather confusing beliefs, for example,
The ONLY ABSOLUTE TRUTH is that there are NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS .
Christopher, B. Postmodernism a very short introduction. London: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Fredric, J. Postmodernism or the cultural logic of late capitalism. London: Duke University Press, 1991.
Johannes, W., Joseph, P. Postmodernism: the key figures. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.
Mary, K. Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed. 20th January 2007. 5th October 2010 <http://www.colorado.edu/English/courses/ENGL2012Klages/pomo.html>.
Vincent, B. Postmodernism: local efects, global flows. New York: Sunny Press, 1996.