Re: Poststructualism, ethics and values


>It sounds like an interesting book, highly indicitive of a common
>poltical-theoretical mood these days. My initial reaction to some of the
>passages, however, that it hasn't "worked-through" poststructuralism, but
>has attempted to circumvent it to a degree. I interpose accordingly.

You may well be right, but I suspect the authors would say that I didn't do
them justice in my commentary. I must admit my impression was that while
they liked the analytic techniques of poststructuralism, they "circumvented"
the broader framework.

> If all
>> beliefs/outcomes are equally valid/invalid, then no action(s) can be argued
>> for (other than self interest?). Thus postmodernism can lead to political
>> paralysis.
>I want to turn to my initial interjection into this thread and say again,
>that relativism hasn't in fact lead to anything resembling political
>paralysis. From some perspectives, (an old line Leninist, for instance)
>lots of the politics of post-s might not seem like "real" politics--but
>that's part of the argument and position of post-s. Indeed, post-s is in
>some way associated very intimately with the so-called "politicization of
>the humanities."

I agree that has been the practical result. It is the reconciliation of
theory and practice which I have found difficult. While I can justify
individual action as consistent with poststructuralsim (gawd, I am almost
sounding like a liberal), I have difficulty with the consistency of
collective action and poststructuralism.


>> the contributors share the desire to retain both the critical
>> strengths of postmodernism and the strength of a "principled position".
>> However, their approaches to this probelm are varied. I will discuss a
>> couple which interested me, there are half a dozen others in the book.
>> One contibutor argues that if we adopt the weak form of postmodernism, we
>> can argue without contradiction for social justice, democratic pluralism,
>> and a qualified humanism. While these values have a history, they are not
>> argued for on the basis of that history, but because of the desirable ends
>> that they might achieve: the enhancement of life chances and the
>> maximisation of human freedom.

>Poststructuralism as the royal road to Pragmatism?? (A sincere question)

And a bloody good question. Wish I knew the answer.

Bryan Palmer
Canberra - Australia's National Capital


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