Late 1940s – Architecture
Literary Critics – Experimental fictional writing
A range of debates that are far from in agreement with one another.
Postmodernism Post + Modern
breaks with Modernism Unity & Presentation
resists historicism & performs ahistorically
fiction which reinforces the idea of reality
all answers are relative & provisional.
Born : 10 August 1924Versailles, France
Died : 21 April 1998 Paris, France
Era: 20th-century philosophy
Region: Western Philosophy
Main interest: Meta-narrative
Notable ideas : The "postmodern condition"
Collapse of the "grand narrative"
Influenced by: Montaigne · Kant · Marx · Freud
Wittgenstein · Parsons· Durkheim
Influenced: Rorty · Barthes
a persistent opposition to universals, meta-narratives, and
critical of many of the Enlightenment movement,
serve to undermine the fundamental principles that generate these
The collapse of the "Grand Narrative"
meta-narratives = grand narratives are:
grand, large-scale theories and philosophies of the world, such as
- the progress of history,
- the ability of knowing everything by science, and
- the possibility of absolute freedom
Lyotard was a frequent writer on aesthetic matters.
The "sublime" is a term in aesthetics whose fortunes revived under
postmodernism after a century or more of neglect.
It refers to the experience of pleasurable anxiety that we experience
when confronting wild and threatening sights like, for example, a
massive craggy mountain, black against the sky, looming terrifyingly
in our vision.
an object strikes the mind in such a way that we find ourselves
unable to take it in as a whole.
we experience a clash between our reason (which tells us that all
objects are finite) and the imagination (the aspect of the mind that
organizes what we see, and which sees an object incalculably larger
than ourselves, and feels infinite).
the mind recoils at an object so immeasurably more powerful than
we, whose weight, force, scale could crush us without the remotest
hope of our being able to resist it.
All of Kant`s example of sublimity are scenes & events in the
natural world, such as:
The immeasurable host of starry systems e.g.: the Milky Way
Shapeless mountain masses towering one above the other in wild
Volcanoes in all their violence of destruction
Hurricanes leaving desolation in their track
The boundless ocean rising with rebellious force
The high waterfall of some mighty river.
Born : 27 July 1929 Reims, France
Died : 6 March 2007 (aged 77)Paris, France
Era: 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region : Western Philosophy
School: Post-Structuralism · Marxism · Post-Marxism
Main interests: Postmodernity · Mass Media
Notable ideas: Hyperreality · Simulacra · Sign value
Influenced by: Marx · Nietzsche · Freud · Wiener· Mauss · Lévi-
Strauss · Lefebvre · Barthes · Bataille · Adorno · Lukács· Debord ·
Dick · Borges · Benjamin · McLuhan · Castoriadis
Influenced: Giannina Braschi, Victor Pelevin · Gerald Vizenor · Slavoj
Žižek · Wachowski brothers · Alain de Benoist
The object value system
consumerism, and how different objects are consumed in different
needs are constructed, rather than innate
Objects always, say something about their users
the "ideological genesis of needs” precedes the production of goods
to meet those needs
The four value-making processes are as follows:
1. the functional value of an object; its instrumental purpose.
2. the exchange value of an object; its economic value.
3. the symbolic value of an object; a value that a subject assigns to an
object in relation to another subject.
4. the sign value of an object; its value within a system of objects.
Simulacra and Simulation
Simulacrum (plural: -cra) = "likeness, similarity“
16th cent. = representation of another thing, such as a statue or a
painting, especially of a god;
Late 19th cent. = association of inferiority: an image without the
substance or qualities of the original
“a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own
right: the hyperreal”
Simulacra = a negation of the concept of reality as we usually
Simulation, Baudrillard claims, is the current stage of the
All is composed of references with no referents, a hyperreality
Simulacrum gives itself value & need not equate with any real thing.
The image is far removed from the product as it is removed from the
mode of production.
used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe a
hypothetical inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from
The McDonald's "M"
“the world we live in has been replaced by a copy world, where we
seek simulated stimuli and nothing more”
Postmodernism demonstrates that when we try & reproduce
objects as a perceivable shape, it appears sadly lacking to us.
It is present only in its absence; knowable only through its
For Lyotard, Postmodern non-representation is the most ethical &
divine blank text & should not be writing over.
Baudrillard also values the postmodern principle of non-