Category: Postmodernism

Michel Foucault: “What is Enlightenment?”

What is Enlightenment? This is a question that modern philosophy has not been capable of answering, but that it has never managed to get rid of, either. And one that has been repeated in various forms for two centuries now. From Hegel through Nietzsche or Max Weber to Horkheimer or Habermas, hardly any philosophy has failed to confront this same question, directly or indirectly. What, then, is this event that is called the Aufklärung?

Michel Foucault: Key Concepts

 This page offers brief definitions of some of the key concepts in Foucault’s work. It is adapted from Michel-Foucault.com, maintained by Claire O’Farrell. apparatus (dispositif) Foucault generally uses this term to indicate the various institutional, physical and administrative mechanisms and knowledge structures, which enhance and maintain the exercise of power within the social body. The original French term dispositif is rendered variously as ‘dispositif’, ‘apparatus’ and ‘deployment’ in English translations of Foucault’s work archaeology ‘Archaeology’ is the term Foucault used during the 1960s to describe his approach to writing history. Archaeology is about examining the discursive traces and orders left by the...

Michel Foucault

Foucault (1926 – 1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, and literary critic. He theorized the relationship between power and knowledge, and examined the forms of social control through societal institutions. He is often considered to be a post-structuralist and postmodernist, but he preferred to think of his work as a critical history of modernity. Here is a biographical sketch from the Stanford Encyclopedia article, as well as a timeline of his life. Biographical Sketch “Foucault was born in Poitiers, France, on October 15, 1926. His student years seem to have been psychologically tormented but were intellectually brilliant. He...

Venice Beach, the Hyperreality of California

Venice Beach is California at its best: the diversity, irreverence, and playfulness of Venice Beach attracts millions of visitors every year, and whenever I am in LA, I feel a strong urge to go there. With all its diversity, it seems to remain what it always was: Street shops for tattoos, marijuana, and T-shirts, entertainers performing their shows with sizable audiences, graffiti, ballgames, roller-blades, and tourists. There is a back side, an older portion of town in the back alleys,  with small houses, and occasionally you find a corner where the homeless and poor young travelers congregate. Venice Beach was once a...

Postmodernism: An Analysis by Fredric Jameson.

Fredric Jameson offered a critique of postmodernism in 1991, in: Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism . As the title suggests, he sees postmodernism as a consequence of the late-capitalist fragmentation of society. The following text quotes two  sections from Chapter 1. I The last few years have been marked by an inverted millenarianism in which premonitions of the future, catastrophic or redemptive, have been replaced by senses of the end of this or that (the end of ideology, art, or social class; the “crisis” of Leninism, social democracy, or the welfare state, etc., etc.); taken together, all...

Deleuze on Kant

Gilles Deleuze wrote in a Letter to Michele Cressole” My book on Kant is different, I like it very much, I wrote it as a book on an enemy, in it I was trying to show how he works, what his mechanisms are…’ The following transcript of a lecture on Kant was given by Deleuze on 14/03/1978 in Vincennes. The title of the seminar was” Synthesis and Time.” The text can be found at Webdeleuze.com Introduction “We are returning to Kant. May this be an occasion for you to skim, read or re-read The Critique of Pure Reason. There is...

Jean Baudrillard – Quotes

Baudrillard (27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism. Quotes: If you say, I love you, then you have already fallen in love with language, which is already a form of break up and infidelity. Baudrillard, Jean. Never resist a sentence you like, in which language takes its own pleasure and in which, after having abused it for so long, you are stupefied by its innocence. Baudrillard, Jean. At the heart of pornography is sexuality haunted by its own disappearance. Baudrillard,...

Gilles Deleuze – Quotes

Gilles Deleuze  (18 January 1925 – 4 November 1995) was a French postmodern philosopher who wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and art. Main Works: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, two Volumes: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), with Félix Guattari. Difference and Repetition (1968) Quotes: The history of philosophy has always been the agent of power in philosophy, and even in thought. It has played the repressors role: how can you think without having read Plato, Descartes, Kant and Heidegger, and so-and-so’s book about them? A formidable school of intimidation which manufactures specialists in thought – but which also makes those...

Gilles Deleuze: Immanence – A Life

Deleuze was very sick in his final years. The last essay he published is very short; it is an extraordinary text. “Immanence: A Life” was published in 1995, and he took his own life on November 4, 1995.  The concept of a “plane of immanence” is borrowed from Spinoza, who used it to describe the world as an attribute to the one substance, God. I like the concept of a transcendental field which is prior to consciousness, and consciousness “becomes a fact only when a subject is produced at the same time as its object, both being outside the field...