|Middle St. Man
Joined: Sep. 2004
Whoa! O.k., let’s see if I can take a try at what you’re getting at here. I don’t claim to be a postmodernist but am trying to understand the many varieties of postmodernism; if they won’t lead me down a path to nihilism or solipsism or just plain confusion-ism in the process. The connections with evolution and anti-evolution are most interesting.
Logocentrism, the word as philosophical centerpiece – and as a religious text is claimed to be the particular source of truth (or Truth, in non Pilatean or Baconian terms) therefore now in the post-modern mindset it has been de-centered or dislocated.
Yes, o.k. I’m listening and perhaps following you here. And then one could apply that logic to Origin of Species or Descent of Man or Evolution in Action or The Blind Watchmaker or Freedom Evolves…and it would negate their exclusive claims to truth by identifying the situated knowledge claims of the author(s). Yes, and this would count as anti-evolutionary or at least bring theories of evolution and common descent onto an equal playing field with other offerings in the natural, social and political sciences.
O.k. then, I see how that could be considered as anti-evolutionary, simply in promoting a theoretical or even cognitive relativism to the reader or interpreter. Evolution would only be one of several offerings making claims to truth, or at least evolutionary theory makes claims to what counts as socially acceptable knowledge. Everything evolves or nothings evolves; if the theory wins or loses it explanatory power.
ID as a form of patriarchal hegemony…hmmm, well I didn’t really want to talk about (those other people’s) theories of intelligent design in this thread, so perhaps we could leave that (ontological stuff) for the time being.
I’m curious what you imply by saying that evolutionary biology is ‘one of the central forms of post-modernism’ in the sense that its invention or inception into being ‘the light in which all biology is understood’ was before the modern age had ended (it has ended in some places, if not others, hasn’t it?). I assume you think that preceeding the ‘post-modern’ was the ‘modern’ age and that evolution as ‘discovered’ by Darwin and Wallace, in tune with Spencer and others in the social sciences, is clearly a modern idea.
Yet perhaps it is the ‘process’ ideas associated with evolutionism, i.e. the always-already-something-else-ness of evolution that makes it suitable for appropriation into post-modern culture. Lyotard, Chomsky, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Barthes…all evolutionists – this may be what you’re implying also.
Perhaps I’m way off on what you meant, but thanks for stirring it up nonetheless.