Why is postmodernism problematic?

Well, there are numerous reasons. Here are a few of the most problematic issues produced by postmodernist views.

Postmodernism ascribes to relativism
Postmodernism advocates that there is no standard of truth. People decide what is true and moral. This is referred to as relativism.

Relativism is the claim that standards of truth, rationality, and ethical right and wrong vary greatly between cultures and historical epochs and that there are no universal criteria for adjudicating between them. The disappearance of old certainties in both the religious and scientific arena, the breakdown of traditional ethical frameworks, and an increasing awareness of social and cultural diversity across different societies have contributed to the popularity of relativism today (M. Baghramian, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavior Sciences, 2001).

John Walford well summarizes the situation when saying, “Postmodernism has not overcome the problems of modernism, but only compounded them with a dosis of cynicism, relativism and indifference.” Walford is correct. Postmodernism exasperates to quest for truth. Rather than differing voices postulating why their view is correct, postmodernists insist that no truth exists at all. This is a very different proposition altogether.

Postmodernism ascribes to pragmatism
Pragmatism is the view that the end is all that matters. The means to getting to the final product is irrelevant. Therefore, personal or corporate conduct does not matter, only the achievement of the goal.

Pragmatism is an American philosophy that originated in the 1870s but became popular in the early 20th century. According to pragmatism, the truth or meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences rather than in any metaphysical attributes. Pragmatism can be summarized by the phrase “whatever works, is likely true.” Because reality changes, “whatever works” will also change—thus, truth must also be regarded as changeable, which means that no one can claim to possess any final or ultimate truth. Pragmatists believe that all philosophical concepts should be judged according to their practical uses and successes, not on the basis of abstractions (taken from

Postmodernism claims no meta-narratives exist
As already mentioned, postmodernism holds that there are no clear explanations about reality—no story is more accurate than another. In fact, postmodernists hold that all attempts to promulgate meta-narratives is simply an act of projecting power and authority onto others for the story-teller’s own benefit. What should be viewed as highly problematic is that postmodernism rejects all meta-narratives except their concrete truth that no meta-narrative exists.

Postmodernism claims that truth does not exist
As a result of questioning the validity of meta-narratives and the subsequent education of several generations of students in the classroom and elsewhere, postmodernism has had a significant amount of success in persuading people that truth, objective truth, simply does not exist. Furthermore, a significant percentage of the American population now holds to a relativistic view of truth. That is, whatever you believe as an individual, or as part of a larger group, is true, regardless of any other source of authority or opinion. Miguel Syjuco expresses this fact about postmodernism: “Postmodernism was a reaction to modernism. Where modernism was about objectivity, postmodernism was subjectivity. Where modernism sought truth, postmodernism sought the multiplicity of truths.”--Miguel Syjuco

In reality, this is the very war which postmodernism wishes to fight, the ground at which the war takes place—the removal of objective truth from society by declaring that objective truth does not exist—truth is whatever individuals and groups determine is true.

Postmodernism leads to no meaning in life

There are serious consequences when believing there is no objective truth. When truth is removed, what remains is a void in life where there is now no meaning. Where there is no meaning there is no anchor for people which gravely affects people’s view of their purpose in life and the value of their life. Gertrude Himmelfarb sums up the issue in her statement about the throwing off of objective truth and the door that opens as a result, saying, “Postmodernism entices us with the siren call of liberation and creativity, but it may be an invitation to intellectual and moral suicide.” How accurate her statement is. When people determine that no objective truth exists, they become similar to a boat in a storm, tossed here and there without an anchor to hold them in place.

Rainer Friedrich provides a synopsis of the loss of foundational underpinning when postmodernism is the criteria for understanding the meaning of life (italics added).

They [postmodernists] have in common a penchant for passing death sentences and issuing death certificates, promulgating, with either insouciant glee or ponderous gloom, the death of reason; the death of the enlightenment; the death of universalism; the death of normativity and law; the death of meaning and truth—in short, the death of almost everything that the Western intellectual tradition stands for in general and that modernity has claimed in particular. With exorbitant virulence, postmodernism has turned against the anthropocentric and subjectivistic-individualistic tenor in modernity, in particular against its focus on the thinking subject, with the denigration of the Cartesian cogito, yielding further death certificates: the death of man; the death of autonomous subjectivity; the death of the self; the death of the author. Such pervasive negativity, often speaking in apocalyptic tongues, is the chief defining feature uniting the many postmodernisms. (Taken from

Now that we have considerd the intitial problems of postmodernism, let's go on to a further critique.

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