A Summary of Postmodern Philosophy

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is a shrewd observer of the Postmodern scene and a somewhat sympathetic critic. In addition, he understands the important role Nietzsche played in expressing the foundational ideas for Postmodernism.1 He writes, “Nietzsche, the patron saint of postmodernity, prophesied accurately: if God is dead, then it’s interpretation ‘all the way down.’...[O]ne word only points to another word and never to reality itself. No one interpretation can ever be regarded as final. As in interpretation, so in life: everything becomes undecidable.”2

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Postmodern Philosophy – The Problem of Language

Another serious problem arises from a Postmodern philosophy of language: if each community determines what is true through its use of language, which community gets to decide between rival communities when it comes to conflicting ideas? Take for example such disputed ideas as suttee (the Hindu practice of burning widows on their deceased husband’s pyre), exterminating the Jewish race, or abolishing private ownership of property. Since no community can claim to be “right” on these or other issues, the result is an increased competition for which group will dominate the others. We are witnessing this kind of escalation between warring factions in many areas of society, from the college campus to the political arena to the international scene.

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Postmodern Philosophy

By David Noebel


Richard Rorty summarizes Postmodern philosophy well, "We . . . [should] give up the correspondence theory of truth, and start treating moral and scientific beliefs as tools for achieving greater human happiness, rather than as representations of the intrinsic nature of reality." The philosophical ideas of Postmodernism divide modern-day academia. Today's college students will find Postmodernism ruling the day in their humanities and social studies courses, but will also find Modernism still prevalent in their science, engineering, and mathematics courses. As well, there is little acceptance of the Postmodern approach to knowledge and truth in America's philosophy departments. The Postmodern notion that truth is community-oriented likewise appeals to few Christian theologians. While there is no single cohesive Postmodern philosophy (rather, there are several), a few consistent themes emerge from each mainstream Postmodern writer.

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Overview of Postmodern Philosophy

By Louis Hoffman

Even as a psychologist, I have to acknowledge a certain bias I have toward philosophy. If you are going to understand anything deeply, you must look at its underlying philosophy (many of my students and former students are probably either nodding or rolling their eyes as they read this statement!). In this sense, I see philosophy, especially the epistemological branch, as the mother of all academic disciplines. The academy will often host classes such as the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of science, and even the philosophy of psychology. In essence, these are looking at how these academic disciplines are constructed and what are the implicit assumptions held within this field.

Epistemology is generally refers to the question of 'how do we know what we know?' When we speak of "the philosophy of" a discipline, such as "the philosophy of science," we are asking the question of how do we know scientifically. Without considering this basic question of how do we know, we are essentially just wandering based off of ungrounded, implicit assumptions. An entire elaborate theory could be build without ever even considering this basic questions of how do we know if it is true. And this has happened!! Some of these theories may even make logical sense, but when the question is asked of 'how do we know' we begin to see the theory unravel.

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Introduction to Postmodern Philosophy

By David Teague

The heart of postmodernism is the view that reality cannot be known nor described objectively. This contrasts to the modernist view that says reality can be understood objectively. In this brief article we will suggest how postmodernism arose and describe a Christian response.

Medievalism (800-1500's AD)

To comprehend the rise of the postmodern worldview, we need to go all the way back to medieval Europe, to see how modernism itself first developed.
European society under medievalism was collective, theistic and static.
It was collective, because a strong sense of individualism did not yet exist. People lived for God and king in a duty-filled world.
It was theistic because what happened in life took a back-stage to the divine drama, as mediated by the Roman Catholic Church.
And it was also static because people largely accepted their station in society. A limited amount of inventive thinking and a passive acceptance of fate hampered the solving of many problems.

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