A discussion of the political and economic dimensions of postmodernism
Postmodernism and Democratic Theory
Search the full text of this book
In Postmodernism and Democratic Theory, Aryeh Botwinick is concerned with defining postmodernism and exploring its political-economic dimensions. Previous attempts at definition have foundered because the theory has a built-in incoherence: in their rejection of reasoned argument, postmodernists must rely on reasoned argument to make their case. This issue of "self-referentialism" is pivotal, for example, in Habermas's criticism of the postmodernists. But Botwinick shows that postmodernism can be coherently conceived as a "generalized agnosticism," which remains open to all possibilitiesincluding the possibility of its own falsity. In developing this view of postmodernism, he applies it to the work of a whole range of both classic and contemporary political and economic thinkersfrom Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Freud, and Wittgenstein to Habermas, Lyotard, and Straussand attempts to plot the transition between modernist and postmodernist democratic society.
"The breadth and originality of the philosophical insights and comparisons in Postmodernism and Democratic Theory are impressive. The author has an illuminating grasp of the historical tradition."
"He calls for a revolution in our notion of the kind of thinking appropriate to democratic politicsfor nothing less than a different, if more difficult and overtly political, kind of coherence."
Part I: Fixing the Theoretical and Intellectual-Historical Contours of a Generalized Agnosticism
Part II: Between Hobbes and Plato: Envisioning the Transition Between Modernist and Postmodernist Democratic Society
Aryeh Botwinick is Professor of Political Science at Temple University and the author of numerous other books, including Skepticism and Political Participation and Power and Empowerment: A Radical Theory of Participatory Democracy (co-authored with Peter Bachrach) both published by Temple.