chapter  2
13 Pages

The legacy of modernity

Modernity and post-modernity share a common heritage: both embrace the habit of suspicion, scepticism and doubt, one as a means of establishing the foundations of knowledge, the other as a means of demonstrating that such foundations are unobtainable. The thoroughgoing agnosticism of post-modernity towards our knowledge of the order-of-things can be traced back to the modernist hermeneutic of suspicion, the only substantial difference being post-modernity's lack of any positive or constructive element: where modernity tears down in order to rebuild on secure foundations, post-modernity simply tears down. In the brave new world of modernity the omnipotence of God is replaced by the omni-competence of human reason, and as a result it appears possible to construct meta-narratives offering foundational accounts of the ultimate order-of-things. The flourishing of the natural sciences - itself a distinguishing mark of modernity - both gains support from, and gives support to, empirical philosophy.