• A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."

___________________________________from the internet, postmodernly:

* if Descartes is seen as the father of modernism, then postmodernism is a variety of cultural positions which reject major features of Cartesian (or allegedly Cartesian) modern thought. Hence, views which, for example, stress the priority of the social to the individual; which reject the universalizing tendencies of philosophy; which prize irony over knowledge; and which give the irrational equal footing with the rational in our decision procedures all fall under the postmodern umbrella.

* Not so much a stage after modernism, more an impulse to deconstruct totalising systems of knowledge, meaning or belief grand narratives in the terminology of French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard (religions, for example, or grand political theories such as capitalism or communism, or nationalisms, or humanist theories of identity). The postmodern condition , for Lyotard, is that of living without such systems or myths; for Derrida this is about celebrating this advent of an open future. ...

* unlike Modernism, Postmodernism starts from the assumption that grand utopias are impossible. It accepts that reality is fragmented and that personal identity is an unstable quantity transmitted by a variety of cultural factors. Postmodernism advocates an irreverent, playful treatment of one's own identity, and a liberal society.

* Beckett's theater articulates the postmodernist aesthetic, using stylistic quotation; invocation and disengagement from history; fragmentation of artistic medium.

* the fragmentation of modern knowledge; contemporary criticism of modern worldviews, skeptical of humanity's progress, analyzing or deconstructing beliefs and pointing out contradictory world views; contemporary Euro-American intellectual movement. Subjectivism, relativism, cynicism, critical theory..

* A worldview that emphasizes the existence of different worldviews and concepts of reality, rather than one "correct or true" one. Whereas modernism emphasized a trust in the empirical scientific method, and a distrust and lack of faith in ideologies and religious beliefs that could not be tested using scientific methods; postmodernism emphasizes that a particular reality is a social construction by a particular group, community, or class of persons. ...


* late-twentieth-century critical, literary, and performance movement that reacts to modern art and literature; postmodernists suggest that truth is no longer verifiable, and that new art forms are best created by freely mixing previous styles and themes.

* is a form of society emerging after the classical, modern, capitalist society; this emergence is still incomplete, indeterminate, and problematic (Agnello 9). Writing from the 1960s forward characterized by experimentation and continuing to apply some of the fundamentals of modernism, which included existentialism and alienation. ...

* a philosophy that holds that the traits associated with twentieth-century modernism, such as belief in the possibility of managing social change according to sets of agreed principles, are now in retreat in the face of increasing individualism, pluralism and eclecticism.

* Postmodern music is both a musical style and a musical condition. As a musical style, postmodern music contain characteristics of postmodern art&emdash;that is, art after modernism (see Modernism in Music). It favors eclecticism in form and musical genre, and often combines characteristics from different genres, or employs jump-cut sectionalization. It tends to be self-referential and ironic, and it blurs the boundaries between "high art" and kitsch. ...


Raymond Williams on the Postmodern novel in Latin America: