Critical Conditions: Postmodernity and the Question of by Horace L. Fairlamb

By Horace L. Fairlamb

The postmodern debate has been seriously inspired via usually contradictory conclusions concerning the foundations of information. Horace Fairlamb contends that philosophy's foundationist quest has frequently been misconceived as a decision among "super-science" and theoretical anarchy. reading the background of foundationism, and supplying specified research of the paintings of best theorists, together with Fish, Foucault, Derrida, Gadamer and Habermas, Dr. Fairlamb argues for a much less reductive and no more arbitrary perception of information and which means. the result's a tremendous contribution to the present reevaluation of theoretical discourse.

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Fish's universalized naivety, however, appears to be contra­ dicted by the massive evidence that analytic experience does interfere with feelings of certitude, of optimism, of hopefulness, of trust, of surprise, and of mystery whether one considers revolutionary fervor, the chemistry of seduction, or the differences between naive and sentimental poetry, between early and late romanticism, between classicism and postmodemism, or a host of other commonplace chronologies. Indeed, for better or worse, the more experienced we get - as the trailing clouds of glory get fainter and fainter - the more likely we are to join Wordsworth in wishing that feeling were as insulated from knowledge as Fish says.

Ation of his own: "truth s lacking in power . [Truth] is a thing of this world" (FR, 73). Must the syllogism stand outside practice to be special7 Must physics stand outside the physical world to have a theory ? n a context with particular content? Or isn't it true that Aristotle's theory is special just because it identifies an inner logic of thought that enables us to understand better the practical force of thought? As a practice, theory is theory when it identifies in a general way the abstract structures of practices of more specific contexts.

This conclusion, however, is a non-sequitur : the tautology only covers the first clause - one believes what one believes - it does not cover the second, given that human psychology is a bit more complicated than the syllogism. 1. Tautology as psychology As a number of commentators have pointed out regarding the psychology of Fish's universalized reader - as early as Surprised by sin - the expectations of Fish's reader/believer are immune to experience. Fish's model of belief precludes getting over the surprise at being wrong.

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