UNPACKING THE FOUNDATIONS OF MODERNISM AND POSTMODERNISM:

FROM OBJECTIVITY TO SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY

(Objective/Subjective Justification of Knowledge claims from top to bottom paradigm)

 

1.  Creation (Genesis 1) no other possible foundation to escape.  There is no other claim to the absolute creation of the universe

2.  Social Construction of Reality (cultural/epistemological relativism).

3.  18th/19th century Positivism in the Physical Sciences.

4.  Kant – no knowledge of God possible (but practically belief in God justifies morality).

5.  Kierkegaard, failure of objective approach (e.g. creation, scripture, church).

6.  The need and search for “Joy” cannot be sustained except by the Lord of heaven and earth.

7.  The march to the Sexual City where the Subject is Man and not scientific objectivity.  Man is the mode of existence sustained by Nietzsche, “all interpretation

8.  William James (Dewey, et. al.) pragmatically justified knowledge claims, this undercutting Philosophical Agnosticism, Social construction of reality and “Whatever Happened to True Truth? (idealism, pragmatism,

9.   Seven Men Who Ruled the World from the Grave:

      a.  Darwin, Biology and his Social Gospel.

      b.  Marx, socio/economic politico causes of alienation.

      c.  Wellhausen, development of factors of Biblical criticism.

      d.  Freud, psychoanalysis and irrational, subjective causes of behavior.                 

      e.  Dewey, causes of behavior

      f.   Keynes, global economics and credit cards for economic growth.

10. C.S. Lewis’ foundation of the Modernist Bug: (see my “Apologetics of C.S. Lewis” on web page at end of paper).

      a.  Surprised by Joy (naturalism cannot explain).

      b.  Lewis’ apologetics (desire cannot be explained by naturalistic evolution).

      c.  Lewis’ Emotional/Intuitive argument against materialistic, mechanistic explanation of cause and effect; contra his Scottish empiricist tutor Kirkpatrick.  If there is no agreement on the standards, there is no basis for argument!

      d.  Postmodern Anthropologist, Margaret Mead, et.al. reject “Moral absolute standards based in her relativistic anthropological study of Samoan culture (see my paper “The Mead/Freedman Controversy” on the LCC web page)

      e.  Freudian irrationalism derives from his study of a small number of schizophrenics e.g. amoral sexuality of various tribes)   Persons like Mead and Freud claim that the sexual standards of biblical Judaism and Christianity are merely the products of a repressed and reactionary culture.  Note that it is crystal clear that this ethical relativism has dominated Western culture (especially in the USA) since the 1960’s counter cultural revolution.

 

                        In opposition to this postmodern moral relativism, Lewis argues in book I of Mere Christianity that universal standards do in fact exist and that the vast majority of people whose consciences have not been impaired by disease or self destructive behavior recognize these standards and feel an obligation to follow them.  This does necessarily imply that they obey the ethical standards, unlike the laws of nature, the ethical laws of human nature always rests on a “should” or “ought, a choice of whether or not to conform oneself to the standard (see Romans 1.18ff; and Lewis’ Abolition of Man; Lewis dubs this law code “the Tao,” and in an appendix to that work, he essentially proves the universality of the Tao by living up to the law codes of major ancient cultures; Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Chinese, Hebrew, Norse and Egyptian, among others.  The prophets, even Jesus, did not invent the Tao; the teachers merely illustrate or reinterprets or fulfills it in such a way as to make its nature and its appeal both fresh and pragmatically powerful. These who do not choose to hold and maintain ethical standards like Hitler, Pol Pot, Haille Selassie, Sadam Hussein, and other postmodern terrorist leaders of our new millennium, are eventually exposed as frauds, lunatics, and/or false prophets (e.g. terrorists not patriots).  (See esp. E. Michael Jones, Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalization of Sexual Misbehavior (Ignatius Press, 1993) on Mead, Blunt, Picasso, et.al.).

 

In both Mere Christianity and The Abolition of Man, Lewis points to the ironic fact that even people who deny the existence of the Tao will demonstrate in their own lives its reality and integrity.  The three leading intellectual contenders:  (1) Materialism; (2) Naturalism; and (3) Relativism have no more arbitrary norms to adjudicate between contradictory perspectives.  (Lewis’ Tao is another name for a natural instinct, such as self preservation, procreation or protection of one’s family can only be natural selection laws, a’la’ Darwin’s naturalistic evolution.  There can be no meta narrative between Judaeo/Christian ethics, and mass murder (Genocide by Stalin, Hitler, Hussein, et.al.)

 

Evolutionary naturalism cannot account for any moral norms in our lives or our societies because naturalism is materialistic and impersonal.  Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” entails the pragmatism that survival means fittest, i.e., might is always right.  The stronger defines the rules of the moment.  Stalin’s naturalistic Tao could describe Hitler or Hussein, but it could never explain the experience of “ethics” or “joy.”  On these two narratives (naturalistic/materialistic)  paradigms are crushed.  Lewis is correct—“naturalism is self refuting.”  If “nature” is all that there is no explanation of the abstract principles that lie outside the supposedly “closed system of nature.”  Any mental extrapolation from specific individual data requires the power of our human reason “can” rise outside the closed system of nature to achieve any “abstract principles” of explanation.  True naturalism can allow for the massing of empirical data and draining “cause and effect” relationships.  Once we move from correlation to the theory of relativity or the laws of thermodynamics we are engaging in a leap that is qualitative rather than quantitative.

 

If nature is an interlocking mechanism, then our knowledge and understanding of that mechanism cannot simply be a part of it.  Lewis is surely correct, human reason is not a thing that could have evolved (see Miracles, chp. 4, complete rejection of the “modernist paradigm).  Human reason and consciousness are separate entities, unique from nature.  It an cease to function in eight hours of sleep or be impaired by alcohol and drugs (see my essay, “The Biochemical Revolution: Efforts to Reduce the Mind to Brain to a Low-grade Computer Analogue;”  the loss of “the individual” person, the uniqueness of the Ego could only have arisen from “The Great I Am”, man is either a machine, animal or the Image of God).

 

For Lewis there are three things that could not have evolved—joy, ethics, and human reason (e.g., in the Problem of Pain, chp. 4, religion is added)  Any perspective must answer at least three crucial questions:  (1) Who am I?  (2)  What is my purpose? And (3) Am I of value?  The Judaeo Christian position proposes the strongest positive responses to these questions.  History abounds with proposed solutions to these questions both non moral religion and non religious morality.  Graeco/Roman religions featured immoral gods and accepted ritual prostitution (I Cor, e.g. of Temple prostitution).  Buddhism is highly ethical, but atheistic.  Kali religion includes human sacrifice while the Epicurean, Lucretius, advocated immortality despite the fact that he believed the soul was material and would dissipate after death.  It is easy to be a Pantheist, to encounter God in every tree while feeling no sense of moral responsibility or accountability in their inanimate presence.  It is easy to muse about duty and the higher good while resting seemingly secure in the knowledge that if you shirk that duty the inanimate universe won’t care.  But the personal creator-redeemer of Judaeo/Christianity reveals himself and demands both worship and obedience, and who loves, pursues, commands, and reigns.  (Romans 12.1-2; e.g. from Absolute Creations to the Consummation of His Promise – “All the promises of God are “yes” in Jesus.”  II Corinthians 1.26

 

Much of Lewis’ apologetic work was reactive and defensive, but there must be positive affirmation.  We must always expose the weaknesses inherent in the opponents and clear the arena of unfounded assumptions (see “World Views in Conflict: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam and Christianity” and “Cross Cultural Communication of Christ in Animist Cultures.”)

 

We must not only critique The Enlightenment, Modernism, Post Modernism Paradigm; we must constructively present “The Promise Paradigm” to our global village and not merely the West (e.g. charge of Eurocentricism and Ratiocentricism) which paradigm adequately supports scientific, moral foundations of civilization? 

 

As a chief shaper in the Enlightenment paradigm, Kant was troubled by a fear that classical mainstays of moral behavior was beginning to decay and ultimately to crumble.  Though a theist, he did not believe that divine revelation was a sufficiently strong base on which to risk the survival of personal and social morality.  In Kant efforts to address this problem, he refounded morality not on revelation but on autonomous, rational, logical principles (Kant escaped relativism by absolutizing Euclidean Geometry, Aristotelian Logic and Newtonian Physics.  (Each of these pillars were radically challenged in the ensuing century)  The Enlightenment paradigm called for a radical shift from deduction to induction, from the classical reliance on “a priori”, divinely revealed law codes, such as the Ten Commandments and The Sermon on The Mount to a new reliance on systematic, logical proofs built “upward” roam empirical observation no longer was an appeal to divine revelation.  The basis for constructing from the top down, but rather from the bottom up via a pure structure of logical reasoning (assuming that logic and reason were universal, cross cultural foundations.  For all reason he thought yet Kant is the historical origin of Perspectivism, i.e., Cultural/Epistemological Relativism.  We are only on a short intellectual journey from Kantian perspectivism to post modern relativism, expressed by Lyatard Foucault, Fish, Eco, Bernstein—prophets of our postmodern academy (origins of Outcomes Based Education and Multicultural Diversity).

 

The Enlightenment task was now “finished”!  The radical, paradigmatic shift went from the top to bottom by constructing a pure structure of logical reasoning.  Kant’s “categorical imperative” is the culmination of his paradigmatic revolution.  Once we arrive in the arena of cultural relativism, we are faced with, for example, the application of his maxim and universalize it so that it may act as a general principle for “all people” (languages and cultures).  It is permissible for all people to steal any coat from any store they choose.  What would happen if all people universalized this maxim?  If you can do so without causing great danger or disruption to society, then you may enact your initial personal maxim, however, if the application of that universal maxim would lead to chaos, then it must be rejected (here we enter the  post modern citadel of cultural relativism, if it doesn’t hurt any the action is justified (here this “voice” is intensified in our postmodern academy).  Kant tried to preserve fixed standards of ethics, but instead opened up Pandora’s box that paved the way for the debunking of those very standards he sought to save.  Revelation is a much surer foundation than Kant’s universal reason .  The top to bottom structure ended the control of the issues, but the bottom to top failed measurably!  The Enlightenment paradigm was a failure.

 

Another serious challenge from the modern paradigm claims that “Inductive” approach to knowledge is more scientific and critical than the mostly Deductive reasoning engaged by Christians of Medieval and Renaissance periods.  The so-called scientific revolution utilizing “Inductive Research,” reached by empirical observation, are unrestructured by any prior assumptions are, essentially objective.  But is this really true?  The Modernist paradigm did not free scientific practitioners from their troubling “Idols.”  And Christians from Augustine forward, take thinking based on the presuppositions of faith.  The answer is no.

 

When Christians and Modernists (and Post Modernists) disagree over whether the parting of the Red Sea was a miracle, what is really at stake is not a specific form of reasoning, deduction or induction that they used to arrive at their conclusions, but the underlying presupposition about whether or not miracles occur in the first place (e.g., after Hume’s attack on miracle became the modernist norm, therefore, only a naturalistic explanation remained).  Historical evidence of the parting of The Sea or Christ’s resurrection from the dead is no longer grounded in “historical evidence,” but rather in the assured results of Kantian perspective, Hegel’s partisan or Hume’s skepticism, leaving only “myth and superstition” as the basis for the belief in “miracles.”  Since Humean empiricism has long ago been refuted, in spite of the radical denial of such, it can no longer rationally determine whether miracles can occur.  After the Einsteinium revolution, only evidence is rational fodder for the discussion of any specific miracle (see my paper, “Theories of Evidence” on the web site).  After the scientific revolution from Einstein, Plank, Heisenberg, et. al., only “Evidence” determines what is possible, not a “closed universe” of a naturalistic worldview.  If it occurs, it is possible!

 

The ensuing denial of the “supernatural” entered the academy via the assured results of scientific hermeneutics of Classical Liberalism (Schleiermacher, et.al. after Hume’s attack on miracles as superstition (see my papers, “19th Century Context of the Darwinian Method” and “Theological Method and Hermeneutics: Rise of Biblical Criticism.”  Note the modernist paradigm attacked Christianity for being grounded in “myth” and superstition; the postmodern paradox attacks Christianity for being too rational, i.e., ratio-centric!)                                                        

 

Likewise the adherent to the assumptions of higher criticism.  Higher criticism started in the Old Testament creation account in Genesis, chps. 1-11 and proceeded into the entire canon of the Old Testament.  Then in less than a century they entered the Gospel records and then on to all the New Testament.  The naturalistic presupposition developed from Kant, Hume and the scientific revolution rejected “any” possibility that the scriptures were God inspired texts.  The developments in science, biblical criticism, textual criticism, etc., reduced the Scriptures to purely human construction.  Miracles, predictive prophecy (Messianic, etc.) were human construct after the events mentioned (even the amazing results of textual studies and biblical archaeology has not changed the “critical paradigm, see esp. K.A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of The Old Testament (Eerdmans, 2003).  This is must reading for anyone interested in the question of biblical truth).

 

From the Enlightenment to the modern period we must take note of the claim that the “Inductive approach” to knowledge is the most scientific and critical and free from the idols of bias, i.e., objective.  This means that neither scientists nor his/her environments do not determine the outcome of research.  Lewis’ lasting contribution to a Christian critique of scientific inductivism is that “Seeing is not believing.”  A natural anomaly, i.e., miracle, is interpreted as a result of “undigested food, a fragment of an underdone potato.”

 

Past discussions of miracle were examples of God’s divine intervention in the natural world.  The Modernist and Postmodernist see “miracle” as an aberration, a violation of Newton’s mechanical laws of nature.  In fact, the “laws of nature” merely define a process; they do not “explain” why the process is consistently reliable.  This requires a meta narrative, which is totally rejected in both modern and postmodern science.  As long as “why” is an unacceptable question there will continue to be the failure of a distinction between “Description” and “Explanation.”

 

Believing in “miracles” does not mean believing that 2 + 2 = 5 in base 10 number theory.  We have inherited the deistic “God of the Gaps” concept or “the divine Match Maker.”  The futile attempt of Theistic Evolution declares that God ignites the original “Big Bang” theory and then steps back to let natural laws do the rest (see my essays, “God and Nature in Carl Sagan’s Universe,” esp. pp. 26-34;  “Lost Transcendence in the Post Christian Culture/The Paradigmatic Revolution;” and “Man’s Search for Absolutes: Postmodern Idolatrous Absolutes” on the web).  How can moderns/postmoderns rationally balk at the Incarnation and Resurrection in the context of the cycle replaying in every corner of the universe?  Every year the seasons spin around us in an endless parade of life, death, and rebirth!  The seed must fall into the ground and be buried before it can sprout into a tree and bear fruit.  The DNA from the parents descends into a sperm and an egg, is buried for nine months in a dark womb, and then resurrected into the light of a new life.  Naturalistic evolution cannot account for the origin of life, rationality, consciousness, values or joys!  There is no evolutionary explanation of the origins of consciousness and use of language for communication (see my paper, “Nida and Pike: Tagmemics for The Christian View of Language, on the web).  The universal capacity to translate across alternative language systems is strong evidence against the Social Construction of Reality espoused in the postmodern citadels of education (see “Critique of the Social Construction of Reality” contra most Modern views of Eurocentric origins).

 

Lewis’ brilliantly critiques the Freudians theory of projection of the argument by desire.  Why is love a sublimation of lust?  Why is lust not a falling away from love?  Why can’t love be an incarnation from above?  Is not the universal human experience that of a search for higher things that goes terribly astray?  We are told by Freud that we are stranded in Plato’s cave while only Lewis’ Lord can lead us out of its darkness.

 

In The Silver Chair, one of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis tells us of two earth children, Eustace and Jill and a Marshwiggle named Puddleglum who make their way into the underground cavern of The Emerald Witch to rescue Prince Rilian, whom she has bewitched.  The heroes ultimately succeed in finding Rilian and breaking his trance, but the Emerald Witch encounters them.  The Witch seeks to place a spell on them, but they have seen the sun and know that the green land of Narnia is real.  They are saved from the Witch’s dangerous spell of self destructive illusion on the spell by Puddleglum, only in light of God’s revelation can we escape the Witch’s spell!  Our Postmodern anti Western, scientific Christian message is being transmitted in the multicultural academy.  Like Lewis’s Agonistes, we must arm to knock down a paradigm or two.

 

Christians must understand the times and positively confront our cultural wars by the Ultimate Deconstruction!  (Before any constructive encounter with the Post Modern Paradigm, serious attention will need be paid to major classical studies on the meaning of culture.  Oswald Spengler’s, Decline of The West (NY: A.A. Knopf, 1926-1928, II 170; Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, Trans. Ephraim Fischoff, 1968); Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, “Note on The Notion of Civilization,” Social Research 38 (1971) 808-813); Pitirim Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics (NY: American Book Co.); Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History(4 vols., London: Oxford University Press, 1937-1985); A.B. Bozenman, Strategic Intelligence12 vols, 1934-1961); and Statescraft (Washington: Brossey  U.S. 1992); and Politics and Culture in International History: From the Ancient Near East to the Opening of the Modern Age (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Pub., 1994); Christopher Dawson, Dynamics of World History (LaSalle, IL: Sherwood Sugden Co., 1978); Immanuel Wallerstein, Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing of World System (Cambridge University Press, 1992); Louis Hartz, A Synthesis of World History (Zurich: Humanity Press, 1983).  An indispensable summary overview and introduction to the analyses of civilizations, Mathew Melko, The Nature of Civilization (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1969); F. Braudel, On History (University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 205.  for an extended review of definitions of culture and civilization, especially the German distinction, see A.I. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckholn, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions (Cambridge: Papers of the Peabody Museum of America Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard University, vol. xlvii, no. I, 1952, passim, but esp. pp. 15-29; and Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations: Remaking World Order (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1997).

 

The Post Modern Paradigm

 

The brilliant work of E. Michael Jones, Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior (Ignatius Press, 1993) takes off where Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals left off.  (NY: Harper and Row, 1988)  Jones’ work traces the theme of his work through the maze of Margaret Mead’s  Cultural Relativism to Sir Anthony Blunt’s homosexual as subversive.  Stanley Fish’ explanation of why politically correct professors hate Western civilization, the case against Kinsey, Picasso’s Cubism as sexual loathing, Sigmund Freud’s reduction of sexual dynamics to the neurosis explanation of his radically subjective Psychoanalysis. 

 

Jones’ crucial selection of the gurus of postmodern relativism, anti-Westernism (USA), anti Science Revisionist History and reduce all global problems as deriving from the intolerance and destructive power of Western scientific technologically ordered culture.  The only remaining force to adjudicate cultural alternative is “Power.”

 

The radical shift from Modernism to Post Modernism stems from the victories of the experimental science in full view after enormous developments “all that remain is a little psychological anthropological or economic or sociological residuum.” (Karl Stern, The Flight from Woman (NY: Farrar/Strauss, Giroux, 1965, p. 65)  “In the intellectual life, there are only two basic transactions.  One can subordinate truth to desire or one can subordinate desire to truth.” (Jones, op.cit., p. 256)  The moderns subordinate the first transaction and the postmoderns subordinate the second transaction.  Desire was the basic intellectual coordinate for people like Nietzsche, Freud and the hordes of camp followers who took over virtually all of our cultural institutions.  Radical reductionism removed the obstacles between the thinker and his desire.  The major obstacle was Christianity’s sanction of the moral order focused in a moral creator/redeemer God.  At the beginning of the 20th century, Freud, following Nietzsche, began debunking religion.  The Oedipus complex was the anesthetic Freud applied to his own troubled conscious.  It was such a powerful intellectual drug that it narcotized Freud’s gifts as a therapist and thinker as well.  Totem and Taboo, his attempt to locate this complex in history through anthropology, was a laughable attempt that was refuted almost at the very moment it appeared, but one that he held onto until the end of his life.  By the end of this century the reductionist impulse had been extended to include all of meaning.  It went by the name of deconstruction.  Like Freudianism, it too was derived from Nietzsche (see my papers “Nietzsche: All Interpretation is Misinterpretation” and “Lost Transcendence in Our Post Christian Culture” “Marxian Atheism,” pp. 11-16; “Psychological Atheism” pp. 7-11 – on the web).

 

The ultimate reductionist hermeneutics is Deconstructionism of the late 20th century academic life.  The more metaphysical the assertions of the deconstruction become the more they began to deconstruct themselves.  Those who set out to contradict the “Law of non contradiction” can only succeed by contradicting themselves and deconstructing their own foundation (premise).  A second feature is that the biographers of the deconstructors begin to appear.  The first was the Paul de Man scandal.  After attacking their opponents regularly as fascists, it turns out that one of the prime deconstructors spent World War II writing propaganda for a pro Nazi Belgian newspaper.  Then before the dust had settled on that, the furor over the biography of Michel Foucault began to appear.  Foucault was a homosexual and a sado-masochist who died of Aids in 1984.  Jason Miller, the author of the book on Foucault, considers himself a “cultural radical,” but his radicalism does not go far enough to suit people like Wendy L. Brown, associate professor of Women’s studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, who felt that Miller’s temerity in looking for a connection between Foucault’s sado-masochism and his deconstruction was “unscholarly and irresponsible in light of current debates about Aids and gay rights.”  (see esp. Scott Heller, “New Foucault Biography Creates Scholarly Stir” Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 30, 1992, p. A13; compare with Aristotle’s, Metaphysics, Trans. Richard Hope (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 12978), pp. 68, 69)  This postmodern break through, i.e., “Deconstructionism” has produced intellectual suicide.  The rebellion against the moral law succeeded, and we overthrew ourselves.  In the end modernity and postmodern were debunked by their own biographies. 

 

Louis Menard’s brilliant work, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001) covers American history in the years between the Civil War and the end of World War I.  Menard draws masterful portraits of four giants of American thought—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey, whose ideas changed the way Americans think.  These intellectual giants unfolded the consequences of Darwin’s theory of “the Survival of the Fittest” as expressed in (1) Pragmatism, (2) Pluralism, and (3) Freedoms.  Each of these intellectual giants contributed to the cultural/epistemological relativism of our postmodern era. Each contributed a crucial attack on the very possibility of classical Christianity being sustained as an ordering world view of the Western civilization.  Now we enter the Anti Western, Political Democracy and Economic Capitalism mode of our postmodern Christian culture of 2004.

 

The cold war was a war over principles.  In many parts of the world—Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua- it was a “hot war,” but in the USA (counter culture of the 1960’s), it was a war fought mostly with images and ideas.  The style of thought elevated compromise over confrontation.  Even the opponents of the cold war mounted their opposition on principle.  The notion that the values of the free society for which the cold war was waged were contingent, relative, fallible constructors, good for some purposes and not good for others, was not a notion compatible with the moral implications of the age.  It was founded on the belief that every individual has an inalienable right to those freedoms by virtue of being human, precisely the individualism that Holmes and Dewey felt they needed to discredit (Narrative Displacement).

 

Martin Luther King, Jr., was not a pragmatist, a relativist, or a pluralist, and it is a question whether the movement could have accomplished what it did if its inspiration had come from Dewey and Holmes rather than Reinhold Niebuhr and Mahatma Gandi.  Americans did not reject the values of tolerance and liberty during the cold war--on the contrary—but they implanted those values in distinctly non pragmatic soil.

 

But once the cold war ended, the ideas of Holmes, James, Peirce, and Dewey re-emerged as suddenly as they had been eclipsed.  Those writers began to be studied and debated with a seriousness and intensity, both in the United States and in other countries, that they had not attracted for forty years.  For in the cold war world, where there were many competing (cafeteria) belief systems, not just two, skeptics about the finality of any particular set of beliefs has begun to seem to some people an important value again.  We enter the post modern world of relativistic multiculturation from the 1980’s to 2004 (see my essays, “Multiculturalism in the Academy;” “The Conflict in Science Between Kuhn, Popper, Feyerabend, Polanyi” and “Search for True Truth in Cyber Space” all on the web site).

 

This new cultural and epistemological relativism came to dominate every area of study in academia.  The Dewey/Darwin Pragmatism came to dominate the Counter Culture of the 60’s and  the Pragmatic agenda in post Christian modern culture of 2004.  And so has the political theory this skepticism helps to underwrite:  the theory that democracy is the value that validates all other values.  Democratic participation is not the means to an end in this way of thinking; it is the end (cf. world debates and United Nations impotence.  The search for conflict resolution by dialogue in the Democratic process). The purpose of the experiment is to keep the experiment going.  This is the point of Holmes’ and Abram’s dissent, of James’ insistence on the “right to believe,” of Peirce’s insistence on keeping the path of inquiry open, of Jane Addams’ and John Dewey’s insistence on understanding antagonism as a temporary stage in the movement to a common good.  The impact of this way of thinking on the 21st century has reached a crucial point of domination.

 

We have come a long way since 1872 when the members of the mysterious Metaphysical Club got together in Cambridge to talk about the way they thought, can seem familiar to us today in unbelievable power. The relevance and the strangeness are forever bound together in their thought.  Pragmatism rules in the market place of ideas (see my “Whatever Happened to True Truth?” on the web site (see address below).

 

(Also see Mark Joseph’s book, The Rock & Roll Rebellion, Why people of faith abandoned rock music – and why they’re coming back (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999 pb); and Angela McRobbie, Postmodernism and Popular Culture (London: Routledge, 1994, pb).

  

Web Site:  http://www.worldvieweyes.org/strauss-docs.html

                                                                                                                                               

 

Dr. James Strauss, Professor Emeritus

                                                                                                                                                Lincoln Christian Seminary

                                                                                                                                                Lincoln, IL 62656