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This Philosophy related article has been assessed as SIGNIFICANTLY PROBLEMATIC in one or more ways. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

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Quote mining[edit]

Hey, everyone. I’m new here. I’ve been reading over the PoMo page, and so far, it’s mostly reasonable, but I want to draw your attention to a bit of straight up dishonest quote mining. The article quotes Foucault as saying “When the proletariat takes power, it may be quite possible that the proletariat will exert towards the classes over which it has just triumphed, a violent, dictatorial and even bloody power. I can’t see what objection one could make to this,” which he did, in fact, say during his debate with Noam Chomsky. This quote is used to illustrate that Foucault was an authoritarian. I don’t blame the editor for this, I blame the source. The source watched the debate between Foucault and Chomsky, and came to the conclusion that Foucault was defending a Marxist style dictatorship of the proletariat. An observant viewer would note that, in fact, Chomsky was arguing for that, and Foucault objected to it on several grounds, including that it could be very bloody if such a thing happened. The source got the argument completely backwards. The Foucault quote above was a retort to Chomsky’s statement, “for example, if I could convince myself that attainment of power by the proletariat would lead to a terrorist police state, in which freedom and dignity and decent human relations would be destroyed, then I wouldn’t want the proletariat to take power. In fact the only reason for wanting any such thing, I believe, is because one thinks, rightly or wrongly, that some fundamental human values will be achieved by that transfer of power.” The paragraph below the quote doesn’t follow in light of this. Having said that, I’m really enjoying the article. Ælfric (talk) 21:43, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Sokal Hoax Clarification[edit]

It's probably worth pointing out that the original Sokal hoax happened back when Social Text didn't practise peer review. I've also seen it mentioned that they didn't look for a physicist to double-check the paper - though to be fair I still doubt that they would have bothered with it nowadays.

Also as far as our section on Sokal Squared goes we could do with mentioning a bit on the political/economic context of grievance studies. Many of these journals are run by tiny departments and adjunct academics who are often over-worked/underpaid. This combined with the cut-throat numbers focused culture present at a lot of universities has seen a serious dip in the quality of work and the time editors have to do their job, especially when the job may now involve double-checking that the authors in question haven't completely fabricated their data. And if the work that Dr Ben Goldacre has done on 'Bad Science' has shown us anything it's that double checking raw data is hard enough to do even in established 'hard-science' fields like pharmacology.

I just think we can give a bit more context to these topics than 'hurr durr postmoderns are pseuds'. There is an interesting and important story to tell here about the vulnerability of the peer review system and the pressures being put on academics to 'publish now, think later'. — Unsigned, by: Tikitime / talk / contribs

Let's talk about pedophilia[edit]

Seems to be a minor edit war about the topic. I don't have a strong opinion, but the material seems to be reliably sourced. Then again I don't share the horror of the label some do, especially when attached to what seems to me to be a defensible if controversial position. Nobody does nuance anymore, it seems. My default position is to shrink the territory occupied by criminal law, and arguing for a lower age of consent is not the same as 'defending pedophilia', since human sexualities are bred in the bone, people become sexually mature at puberty, a biological fact; but 'pedophilia' is indeed a social construction. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱsos. 17:06, 14 June 2020 (UTC)

They defended ABOLISHING the age of consent. This isn't to argue about where to draw the line but remove it altogether. Also, as the material I provided in the article, they DID defend pedophiles guilty of statutory rape. — Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 17:08, 14 June 2020 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think it should stay, and I don't think it's particularly defensible, but you're welcome to add nuance if you think it's justifiable. The reason I think that is:

  1. Yes, (some) minors can be guilty of crimes and held responsible for them.
  2. That fact does not put them on equal footing with adults: they have fewer rights (unable to vote), less responsibility (controlled by parents or guardians), and are more likely to change behavior as the age (developing brains).
  3. The people making this claim were older men who were in positions of power (fame, academia), making an unequal power dynammic.
  4. A few years after their position came out, there was a widespread social reckoning in Europe and North America with minors in porn and prostitution.

Bongolian (talk) 17:20, 14 June 2020 (UTC)

I generally just don't accept the 'power' theology, and find the concept quite nebulous. Even if I did, 'postmodern philosopher' strikes me as peak fecklessness. As to the specific incidents in question, a bit of context would be helpful. I am less susceptible tomoral outrage than others, and appeals to moral outrage seldom work on me. 15:36, 16 June 2020 (UTC) — Unsigned, by: Smerdis of Tlön / talk / contribs
So are you equating age-of-consent laws with moral panic? Bongolian (talk) 18:00, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, yeah, it is exactly that. I read the original letter (I am fairly at home in reading French) and all I could see was an attempt at extending the spirit of the sexual revolution to another crime which the writers saw as victimless or purely technical, involving an arbitrary line. Whether that's taking matters too far is debatable, but it isn't an indefensible position. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱsos. 22:42, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
I feel comfortable stating I support age of consent laws and I suspect most editors here do as well--Hastur! (talk) 22:51, 16 June 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I think opposition to age of consent laws is likely to be a fringe view among editors here. You're welcome to take it to the broader community if you think otherwise. Bongolian (talk) 02:23, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
Some of us would like to think so. For the sake of argument, one could ask, should there be such a social norm as the age of majority? A seven year old may have advanced political insight, but does that mean they should be qualified for suffrage? What about license to drive an automobile? or consume an alcoholic beverage? Should I have have been able to vote at the age of seven, while dead drunk and blind from syphilis, after beating the cops to the polling station? Ariel31459 (talk) 03:07, 17 June 2020 (UTC)
I look at it from a different perspective. Assume that protecting post-pubertal teens from their own sexualities is a good idea. How does involving the police, prosecutors, and prisons help? What good is it doing? Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱsos. 14:05, 17 June 2020 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Most age-of-consent laws have "Romeo and Juliet" exemptions where if the two parties having consensual sex are relatively close in age, it is not considered a legal offense. The point of the laws is to deter adults from sexually exploiting minors, who are generally more vulnerable emotionally and have less access to resources (e.g., money). Bongolian (talk) 16:49, 17 June 2020 (UTC)

Request for article promotion[edit]

After reviewing this article, I do not feel it meets the threshold for a Bronz level article. Please see also the sections I commented out and their drastic need of sourcing, as well as the sections and paragraphs I added notes to that require primary sourcing. More specifically, it is my position that this article violates points 3 and 4 of the Bronz category. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 16:21, 30 January 2022 (UTC)

Osaka Sun, who hasn't edited since 2017, gave it a Bronze in 2013,[1] and no one objected after many edits. Bronze doesn't require a vote, so there's nothing stopping you from promoting it. Bongolian (talk) 18:30, 30 January 2022 (UTC)
@Bongolian Given that I am, by my own admission, not opposed to postmodernism as field of thought, and it was indeed I who raised the current issue, I did not feel it was proper to take such action of my own accord. Now, if it's fine with you and no one else raises objections within the next 24 hours, I shall be willing to promote the article at that time. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 23:30, 30 January 2022 (UTC)
I'm probably more critical of postmodernism than you, but I have no objection per se to postmodernism in literature and to some degree in the social sciences. You're free to promote it as far as I'm concerned. Bongolian (talk) 00:35, 31 January 2022 (UTC)

Kangaroos in court[edit]

Seems to me the identity politics lot is more to blame for claims that "objectivity" is a racist construct invented by white-men... I mean its a hijacking of the postmodern theme of scepticism but I don't think the po-mos can take full responsibility for it. Might ammend this bit later. Tikitime2 (talk) 21:14, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

Make sure to not do it in a way that strawmans the thing you're attempting to criticize. A problem with our coverage on politics and philosophy, that. Also can you clarify what you mean by "objectivity is a racist construct invented by white men." If you mean claiming Eurocentric norms which are inherently contextual to a European context and applying them to other cultural contexts is racist as "objective" isn't somehow a questionable standard... Carthage (talk) 21:23, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
I don't know why you would think that particular reading is what is meant when our own article already contains a reference to how such an idea has played out in the sphere of jurisprudence.
The classic "Math is rooted in white-supremacy" claim or more specifically "focusing on getting the right answer is white supremacy culture" is a prime example of bad critical race-theory using the worst excesses of postmodern scepticism to essentially argue: "Enlightment claimed to value reason and logic but actually it was very racist. Ergo, reason and logic are racist." but that take is relatively rare. And usually investigations of racism in mathematics are much more nuanced than the media gives them credit for being. Still it seems more a product of over-simplified and over-zelaous CRT and Id-Pol than post-modernism. The truly post-modern position would be to be quite quite sceptical of the use of "white supremacy culture" as a grand-narrative.
Post-modernism and identity politics, in this article and elsewhere, are being used as though they are interchangeable when they are actually quite distinct. A lot of what people think is "post modernism" when in comes to political and moral philosophy is more a product of the likes of Iris Marion Young than it is Jacques Derrida. I do feel that is something worth sign-posting. Tikitime2 (talk) 10:53, 26 July 2023 (UTC)

Suggestions for Improvements[edit]

Hello there, I'm coming from the perspective of a Félix Guattari nerd and I wanted to offer some information about the edits I am suggesting to the article (feel free to revert if they don't fit tone). Some of these I will go ahead and do myself but some I think need further review from others in the community.

1. The Pedophilia thing. Yeah, of course people are going to bring this one up. The French article on Wikipedia is like over twice as long as the English article and while I can't read French I do know it's missing some important details. Both the English Wikipedia article and this brief summary need a lot of work. Based on some google translating it seems that a part of this petition was about equal rights between hetero and homosexuals in France, and the pedophile thing was largely France being France along with complicated history of homosexuality movement stuff that I'm not educated enough to speak on. I think someone who can read French should more accurately summarize this part of the article and review its sources because its extremely misleading. (There were certainly pedophiles that signed that petition though!)

2. The article kind of misrepresents the thought of DG. For example, DG don't really reject Freud so much as they are critical of how structural his theories are, especially regarding the Oedipus complex. Guattari even states in one of his books (I think Three Ecologies?) that Freud's "Interpretation of Dreams" is best read as a modernist novel (Good advice, actually). Guattari is way more aggressively anti-Lacan in his later years than he is anti-Freud, he outright calls his work "pretentious" in one of his essays. Guattari also is very critical of Lyotard and Baudrillard in "From Postmodernism to the Post Media Era" in Schizoanalytic Cartographies - he basically argues that Lyotard's conclusions are based on bad sources and neglecting key aspects of his theories. I think since he and Deleuze are always grouped with postmodernism in casual conversations we should still discuss them in the article but I think these critiques would be interesting to bring up. I'm going to take some time after writing this to make some proposed edits. It would also be nice to know why Derrida rejected the label as well, but I don't know a ton about Derrida...

3. Postmodernism "enabling" pseudoscience? This is questionable at best (at least unless you mean in the same vein as quantum mechanics enabling pseudoscience with the term "quantum"!). The source from the Panda's thumb doesn't really explain what "Radical Postmodernism" is, and I've never heard of this term before. I do know that in some atheist/skeptic communities there is a kind of "postmodernism" that is said to be deployed by the alt-right who are exploiting the rapid deployment of meta-narratives through alt-right propaganda and memes - is this related? I can't seem to source anything online at the moment. The other source is by Norman Levitt - one of the authors of "Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science". This author honestly should be blacklisted from your wiki, the dude denies climate change in that book and is pretty anti-green, racist and homophobic.

I will say though, much more worth talking about - there are a lot of weird esoteric branches of these writers. Deleuze and Guattari for example appeals to groups ranging from new age hippies to far right extremists. Also worth noting is that these postmodernists were especially influential to Nick Land and Accelerationism, which may be part of the origin of the connection between postmodernism and the alt right. For example, understanding "deterritorialization" is extremely important to understanding accelerationism, and understanding the difference between what Land proposes (uncontrolled deterritorialization) and what DG proposes (controlled reterritorialization) is important for understanding the mechanics between the two models.

4. The Sokal Affair history is highly one-sided and is missing critical account details. Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont submitted their paper to Social Text, which was a small journal that published accounts of minority perspectives and stuff like people talking about sex work, which is why it was not peer reviewed (imagine peer reviewing minority accounts of oppression and struggle). Andrew Ross and Bruce Robbins also make clear in their response to the affair that they were not necessarily fooled by the affair. It might also worth talking about their book "Intellectual Impostures/Fashionable Nonsense" as well.

I'll be poking around today and seeing if I can make some improvements while preserving the general tone of the article. I'm also going to clear out a lot of the article that has issues with citations that I can't source myself because quite frankly there is already enough confusion on the subject! --Pfelix (talk) 20:05, 17 December 2023 (UTC)

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you.
You can find a definition of "Radical Postmodernism" here:[2]
Therefore, to avoid becoming an unwitting apologist for what exists, one must renounce the very project of directly confronting it; or if one does hazard the elaboration of an alternative to existing forms of modernity, these in their turn must be dismantled. “Everything that is received must be suspected, even if it is only a day old,” says Lyotard. Radical postmodernism involves a “war on totality” in which the fundamental premise of dismantling modernity is the only thing that must remain secure – and hence must always remain incomplete.
—Ronald Niezen
Bongolian (talk) 20:01, 17 December 2023 (UTC)
Thank you! That makes sense. I will also see if I can figure out a better way to fit that into the article. --Pfelix (talk) 20:05, 17 December 2023 (UTC)