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Explaining Postmodernism (Expanded Edition)

Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
Narrated by: Scott R. Smith
Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Tracing postmodernism from its roots in Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant to their development in thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Richard Rorty, philosopher Stephen Hicks provides a provocative account of why postmodernism has been the most vigorous intellectual movement of the late 20th century. 

Why do skeptical and relativistic arguments have such power in the contemporary intellectual world? Why do they have that power in the humanities but not in the sciences? Why has a significant portion of the political left - the same left that traditionally promoted reason, science, equality for all, and optimism - now switched to themes of anti-reason, anti-science, double standards, and cynicism? 

Explaining Postmodernism is intellectual history with a polemical twist, providing fresh insights into the debates underlying the furor over political correctness, multiculturalism, and the future of liberal democracy. 

This expanded edition includes two additional essays by Stephen Hicks: "Free Speech and Postmodernism" and "From Modern to Postmodern Art: Why Art Became Ugly".

©2004 Stephen Hicks (P)2018 Stephen Hicks

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brilliant, vital

A brilliant unveiling of Post-Modernism up to its most contemporary tactics. if we are to understand anything about all that surrounds us, we must get a serious grip on this pervasive resentful ideology. I began with some limited knowledge, and after a (necessary) fairly dense start, I found Hicks extremely digestible. This book should feature in every University and thinking person's library.

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  • drdlif
  • 03-02-2020

Poor scholarship with an agenda!!!

Should be removed from Audible!

Misrepresents almost every philosopher discussed!

Originally published by non-academic publishing company - Scholargy Publishing, Incorporated- the same publisher of "The that Complete Guide for Horse Business Success" and then republished by Ockham Publishing which is owned by the author.

See this video for detailed critique:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtvTGaPzF4

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  • Daniel Schealler
  • 04-02-2019

Does not actually explain postmodernism.

The book is very well narrated and and engagingly written, so top marks on production values.

The bit where it falls over is that it is not an explanation of postmodernism: It's a polemic of a straw-man version of postmodernism that I'm pretty sure nobody actually holds.

The book sets up a caricature of postmodernism from the perspective of those who are opposed to it without really understanding fully as to why. It's an extremely hypocritical book given the amount of time it spends shaking it's finger at scarecrow postmodernists for not caring about objective truth, while itself showing absolutely no concern for its own misrepresentations of the truth of what postmodernism is actually on about.

If you don't like feminism, socialism, and/or progressive politics; if you want to sound as if you have good reasons backing up those emotions; if you don't care about accuracy so long as you can feel self-righteously justified; if you think capitalism a magical cure-all with no downsides; if you think that the only level of analysis that matters is the individual while acting as if the complex web of inter-dependencies that exist between us all either doesn't exist or is completely irrelevant? If you answered yes to these questions and others in that general theme, then you will *love* this book.

But if you're like me where you have a rudimentary grasp of postmodernism but you want to learn more before adopting an informed position about it? This book is trash: A total waste of time and money. Get literally anything else.

I'd exchange this audiobook if I could, it was utterly worthless to me.

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  • Joshua J. Wood
  • 08-04-2019

Very partisan, not all that accurate

This is less a survey of post-modernist philosophy, although there is a bit of that in the beginning of the book, than a polemic against post-modernism as a proxy for progressive liberalism.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Rivera V
  • 27-01-2019

Prepare to be well informed

A must read for anyone interested in the pervasive and diabolical influence of post modernism in news, the academy, politics, and other social movements.

Steven Hicks has distilled the history of the movement and its makers in a way anyone can understand.

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  • Matt Kragen
  • 19-12-2018

A primer for PM's opposition

I read this to get a feel for the opposition to postmodernism, as my academic environment is heavily saturated in it. While this book is adequate to get a sense of Hicks' position, it feels lacking in supporting arguments. I was also a little disappointed that there wasn't much refutation of the positions opposed. The summary of philosophical history was well done, however.

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  • Riccardo C. Repetti
  • 02-02-2020

Explaining and Exposing Post-modernism!

Excellent, extremely informative history of the intellectual, philosophical roots and geneology of the current philosophical (reality and truth denying) morass, starting with folks like Kant and Rousseau and moving in careful detail all the way to Foucault et al. Hicks is an Objectivist, so his account may be expected to be biased or uncharitable, but making that assumption without reading his arguments would (ironically) constitute a fallacy of bias: "he is an Objectivist, so whatever he says about subjectivism (of which post-modernism is but one type) cannot be accurate". For proof that his assessment is correct, read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, which basically admits everything Hicks says contemporary post-modernists think.

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  • Jacob Oliver
  • 30-01-2020

Essential listening

To anyone who feels that there is something “unsettling” or “unexplained” in the world today, listen to this audiobook. Postmodernism is the fog which is all around us; it is imperative that you know what the fog is doing to you, and where it came from.

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  • mike
  • 21-11-2019

A helpful explanation

Dr. Hicks provides an excellent and well supported explanation of the origins of postmodernism. This information is rarely discussed but, it should be given much more attention.

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  • Douglas
  • 24-10-2019

Must listen. You will learn why universities and media choose their ideals, words and tactics

This will shed light on the ideals, tactics and word choice of the far left, especially in today’s political arena.
It is no wonder that there is a crisis of meaning in life today as this post-modern ideology thrives.
It is intended to destroy everything except for the pursuit of power for its own sake and the ends justify the means. The only thing that exists is power.
It’s an entirely contradictory ideology and will destroy everything or crumble in upon itself via application of its self.... IMO.
Everyone must know the danger of this ideology in practice and what would happen as a result of it’s end goals.
Vital book to understanding so much of the hate and destruction and nonsense you see here in 2019.
May truth prevail over lies and deceit.

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  • jmhr
  • 29-08-2019

A Philo-Genealogy of Postmodernism's Secular Cult

Excellent! Having avoided philosophy as a topic since college, it was a great refresher from a rational historian's perspective. The author pulls back the curtain and exposes the perverse spirit and world view of postmodernism.

The narrator had a great voice, and yet the inflections (for emphasis) were often oddly placed, and the delivery so measured I wondered if it wasn't a very good computer program rather than a person. I'm still not sure, but it did not take away from the content that much. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I have recommended it to several friends.

I only wish it had gone one step further and described the psychology behind postmodernism's seductive attraction, especially to the Left.

I get the naughty pleasure of college students indulging in the ironic, the irreverent, the iconoclastic and sacrilegious. It's a way to flip of the old man. But rather than emerging on the other side into a sunnier disposition of hope and appreciation, far too many of these children grow into their old age, or even middle age, becoming bitter and contemptuous, permanently cynical and bent on destroying everything good, by ignoring the world around them and proclaiming it evil.

Then they poison the youth who follow behind. We really need an antidote, or an antibiotic, for this poisonous pathology.

The book stops short of a diagnosis, much less a prescription. And it makes the mistake, I think, of presuming these cultists really do mean well. I think they do not mean well. Quite the opposite.

But it was a great place to begin, if you've been wondering what's wrong with this country lately. Good reading!

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  • Karol
  • 28-07-2019

Fantastic Exposition, makes one think

This book has exceeded my expectations. It explains the fruits of postmodernism by painting a picture of a tree starting from the roots and ending at the youngest branches. it's exciting to see how something we can relate to today is linked to enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau and Kant. Although the author describes them as revolutionist rather than enlightenment thinkers. I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the current cultural climate.

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  • Paolo Carta
  • 25-03-2019

Postmodernism according di Ayn Rand

This book should more honestly be titled: 'Postmodernism according to Ayn Rand'. I should have paid attention to the publisher, Atlas, as in 'Atlas shrugged'.

The book is an account, for the simple minded militant, of how Postmodernism can be understood from the vantage point of the Russian-American writer, whose ideas are to philosophy what Flat Earth 'Theory' is to Physics. You'll find very little Postmodernism and a lot of Randian Objectivism. You might however enjoy an hilarious last chapter with a wholesale condemnation of modern art! Truly beyond satire.

Basically it's a prank: stay clear.

4 people found this helpful