David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (2):391-421 (2003)
Philosophers of science have paid little attention, positive or negative, to Lyotard's book The postmodern condition, even though it has been popular in other fields. We set out some of the reasons for this neglect. Lyotard thought that sciences could be justified by non-scientific narratives (a position he later abandoned). We show why this is unacceptable, and why many of Lyotard's characterisations of science are either implausible or are narrowly positivist. One of Lyotard's themes is that the nature of knowledge has changed and thereby so has society itself. However much of what Lyotard says muddles epistemological matters about the definition of 'knowledge' with sociological claims about how information circulates in modern society. We distinguish two kinds of legitimation of science: epistemic and socio-political. In proclaiming 'incredulity towards metanarratives' Lyotard has nothing to say about how epistemic and methodological principles are to be justified (legitimated). He also gives a bad argument as to why there can be no epistemic legitimation, which is based on an act/content confusion, and a confusion between making an agreement and the content of what is agreed to. As for socio-political legitimation, Lyotard's discussion remains at the abstract level of science as a whole rather than at the level of the particular applications of sciences. Moreover his positive points can be accepted without taking on board any of his postmodernist account of science. Finally we argue that Lyotard's account of paralogy, which is meant to provide a 'postmodern' style of justification, is a failure.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Roger S. Foster (1999). Strategies of Justice: The Project of Philosophy in Lyotard and Habermas. Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (2):87-113.
Dan Webb (2009). `If Adorno Isn't the Devil, It's Because He's a Jew': Lyotard's Misreading of Adorno Through Thomas Mann's Dr Faustus. Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (5):517-531.
Georges de Schrijver (2010). The Political Ethics of Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida. Peeters.
Tim Jordan (1995). The Philosophical Politics of Jean-Franqois Lyotard. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (3):267-285.
Shaun Gallagher (1993). The Place of Phronesis in Postmodern Hermeneutics. Philosophy Today 37 (3):298-305.
Justin Thacker (2005). Lyotard and the Christian Metanarrative: A Rejoinder to Smith and Westphal. Faith and Philosophy 22 (3):301-315.
David Jon Spurrett (1999). Lyotard and the Postmodern Misunderstanding of Physics. Theoria 46 (93):29-52.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads20 ( #70,333 of 1,004,684 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,743 of 1,004,684 )
How can I increase my downloads?