Knowledge and Postmodernism in Historical Perspective offers answers to the questions, what is postmodernism? and what exactly are the characteristics of the modernism that postmodernism supercedes? This comprehensive reader chronicles the western engagement with the nature of knowledge during the past four centuries while providing the historical context for the postmodernist thought of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty and Hayden White, and the challenges their ideas have posed to our conventional ways of thinking, writing and knowing.
From the science of things to the science of human beings to the grand social theorizing associated with Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx and Max Weber, Knowledge and Postmodernism in Historical Perspective presents readings from the succession of thinkers whose writings helped define modern sensibilities by analyzing the human capacity for generating knowledge.
The volume follows the knowledge-generating project of the modern age as it blossoms in the Enlightenment and bears fruit in the nineteenth century. The writings included reveal the linkages between science, the history of science, hermeneutics, anthropology, sociology, linguistics and philosophy from Francis Bacon's call for experimental engagement with nature in the seventeenth century to Jurgen Habermas' recent analysis of the civil society spawned by the Enlightenment.
An anthology of 31 essays by the philosophically gifted selected by the editors as historically significant to the "post" in postmodernism, exhibiting the shift away from documentation and interpretation to an exploration of significance. The collection begins with Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, traveling into 19th century social theory with Marx and Nietzsche, the challenges to those theories presented by Dewey and Kuhn, and the deconstruction of modernity with Foucault, Derrida, and Cornel West. In the final section, Habermas and Benhabib (among others) respond to postmodernism, taking us into the post postmodern contexts of the future. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)