chapter  ten
22 Pages

Postmodernism and Political Change

WithNancy C.M. Hartsock

Postmodernism is reacting against a particular body of thought that postmodernists argue is characterized by several important features. Richard Rorty’s contribution to postmodernist work deserves attention as a model for an account of what theorists might do. Fundamentally, Rorty argued against the epistemology of the Enlightenment—something he termed simply “Epistemology". Rorty argued that edifying philosophers should avoid having views, should “decry the notion of having a view while avoiding having a view about having views". The proper image is one of edifying philosophers as conversational partners rather than as holding views on subjects of common concern. If modernist theories, as a group, represent the views of the colonizer who accepts, postmodernist ideas can be understood as divided between two views: those who, like Rorty, ignore the power relations and theorists such as Michel Foucault, who represents Memmi’s colonizer who refuses and thus exists in a painful ambiguity.