Critical Conditions

Critical Conditions : Postmodernity and the Question of Foundations

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The postmodern debate has been heavily influenced by often contradictory conclusions about the foundations of knowledge: hermeneutics challenges epistemology, politics challenges science, identity theory challenges critical theory, pragmatism challenges formalism, and so on. Horace Fairlamb contends that philosophy's foundationist quest has usually been misconceived as a choice between a 'super-science' and theoretical anarchy. Through an examination of the history of foundationism, and detailed analysis of the work of leading theorists including Fish, Foucault, Derrida, Gadamer and Habermas, Dr Fairlamb argues for a less reductive and less arbitrary conception of knowledge and meaning. The result in this 1994 book is a sophisticated critique of contemporary theory with implications for philosophers as well as literary theorists, and an important contribution to the re-evaluation of theoretical discourse.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 286 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 16mm | 370g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521456657
  • 9780521456654

Back cover copy

Providing a sophisticated critique of contemporary foundationist debate, this work contributes significantly to the current revaluation of theoretical discourse with implications for philosophers as well as literary theorists.
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Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Fish's strong conventions: the mind's own world; 2. Brave new words: postmoderism on epistemology; 3. Theory and/or deconstruction: Derrida slippage; 4. Gadamer's universalism: the limits of hermeneutic authority; 5. Critical politics: deconstruction for Americans; 6. Foucault's microphysical politics: big brother is missing; 7. Habermas' neo-formalism: theory as praxis; 8. Critical theory and postmodern localism: rebels without a cause; Conclusion.
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