Listen free for 30 days

Explaining Postmodernism (Expanded Edition)

Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
Narrated by: Scott R. Smith
Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
4 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Tracing postmodernism from its roots in Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant to their development in thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Richard Rorty, philosopher Stephen Hicks provides a provocative account of why postmodernism has been the most vigorous intellectual movement of the late 20th century. 

Why do skeptical and relativistic arguments have such power in the contemporary intellectual world? Why do they have that power in the humanities but not in the sciences? Why has a significant portion of the political left - the same left that traditionally promoted reason, science, equality for all, and optimism - now switched to themes of anti-reason, anti-science, double standards, and cynicism? 

Explaining Postmodernism is intellectual history with a polemical twist, providing fresh insights into the debates underlying the furor over political correctness, multiculturalism, and the future of liberal democracy. 

This expanded edition includes two additional essays by Stephen Hicks: "Free Speech and Postmodernism" and "From Modern to Postmodern Art: Why Art Became Ugly".

©2004 Stephen Hicks (P)2018 Stephen Hicks

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Exposition, makes one think

This book has exceeded my expectations. It explains the fruits of postmodernism by painting a picture of a tree starting from the roots and ending at the youngest branches. it's exciting to see how something we can relate to today is linked to enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau and Kant. Although the author describes them as revolutionist rather than enlightenment thinkers. I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the current cultural climate.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Postmodernism according di Ayn Rand

This book should more honestly be titled: 'Postmodernism according to Ayn Rand'. I should have paid attention to the publisher, Atlas, as in 'Atlas shrugged'.

The book is an account, for the simple minded militant, of how Postmodernism can be understood from the vantage point of the Russian-American writer, whose ideas are to philosophy what Flat Earth 'Theory' is to Physics. You'll find very little Postmodernism and a lot of Randian Objectivism. You might however enjoy an hilarious last chapter with a wholesale condemnation of modern art! Truly beyond satire.

Basically it's a prank: stay clear.

4 of 12 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt Kragen
  • Matt Kragen
  • 19-12-18

A primer for PM's opposition

I read this to get a feel for the opposition to postmodernism, as my academic environment is heavily saturated in it. While this book is adequate to get a sense of Hicks' position, it feels lacking in supporting arguments. I was also a little disappointed that there wasn't much refutation of the positions opposed. The summary of philosophical history was well done, however.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rivera V
  • Rivera V
  • 27-01-19

Prepare to be well informed

A must read for anyone interested in the pervasive and diabolical influence of post modernism in news, the academy, politics, and other social movements.

Steven Hicks has distilled the history of the movement and its makers in a way anyone can understand.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel Schealler
  • Daniel Schealler
  • 04-02-19

Does not actually explain postmodernism.

The book is very well narrated and and engagingly written, so top marks on production values.

The bit where it falls over is that it is not an explanation of postmodernism: It's a polemic of a straw-man version of postmodernism that I'm pretty sure nobody actually holds.

The book sets up a caricature of postmodernism from the perspective of those who are opposed to it without really understanding fully as to why. It's an extremely hypocritical book given the amount of time it spends shaking it's finger at scarecrow postmodernists for not caring about objective truth, while itself showing absolutely no concern for its own misrepresentations of the truth of what postmodernism is actually on about.

If you don't like feminism, socialism, and/or progressive politics; if you want to sound as if you have good reasons backing up those emotions; if you don't care about accuracy so long as you can feel self-righteously justified; if you think capitalism a magical cure-all with no downsides; if you think that the only level of analysis that matters is the individual while acting as if the complex web of inter-dependencies that exist between us all either doesn't exist or is completely irrelevant? If you answered yes to these questions and others in that general theme, then you will *love* this book.

But if you're like me where you have a rudimentary grasp of postmodernism but you want to learn more before adopting an informed position about it? This book is trash: A total waste of time and money. Get literally anything else.

I'd exchange this audiobook if I could, it was utterly worthless to me.

20 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joshua J. Wood
  • Joshua J. Wood
  • 08-04-19

Very partisan, not all that accurate

This is less a survey of post-modernist philosophy, although there is a bit of that in the beginning of the book, than a polemic against post-modernism as a proxy for progressive liberalism.

5 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christopher
  • Christopher
  • 15-02-19

over simplified garbage

paranoid, factually inaccurate, bias, over simplified, boring, and poorly composed. It seems like he has some good points but they are unfortunately lost because of his desire to tell a story instead of presenting knowledge or philosophy in good faith.

7 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for The Eagle
  • The Eagle
  • 24-06-19

The roots of postmodernism exposed

Excellent. Details the roots of post modern philosophy. What is post modernism and the deep roots of the philosophy sre discussed. Everyone shoild be familiar with this relativist view of culture to understand the origins of todays 'isms. Scott Smith's narration is excellent.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mathew merrill
  • mathew merrill
  • 05-01-19

Provacative

Compelling and interesting. May explain much of the current social - political climate of our day.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mike
  • mike
  • 21-11-19

A helpful explanation

Dr. Hicks provides an excellent and well supported explanation of the origins of postmodernism. This information is rarely discussed but, it should be given much more attention.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J. Danielson
  • J. Danielson
  • 18-11-19

Excellent exposition

A clear, concise, and intelligent explanation of one of the worst ideologies to plague humanity.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Read More
  • Read More
  • 09-11-19

explains the world we live in

...and they were wise in their own eyes and became their own gods, comes to mind. Those deep thinkers thought God and His natural creation right out of the picture - right is wrong, up is down, girls are boys, men are offensive...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful