ADVANTAGES

Finally, I have included a summary of Habermas's critique ofpostmodernism, representing the main lines of discussion on both sidesof the Atlantic. Habermas argues that postmodernism contradicts itselfthrough self-reference, and notes that postmodernists presupposeconcepts they otherwise seek to undermine, e.g., freedom,subjectivity, or creativity. He sees in this a rhetorical applicationof strategies employed by the artistic avant-garde of the nineteenthand twentieth centuries, an avant-garde that is possible only becausemodernity separates artistic values from science and politics in thefirst place. On his view, postmodernism is an illicitaestheticization of knowledge and public discourse. Against this,Habermas seeks to rehabilitate modern reason as a system of proceduralrules for achieving consensus and agreement among communicatingsubjects. Insofar as postmodernism introduces aesthetic playfulnessand subversion into science and politics, he resists it in the name ofa modernity moving toward completion rather thanself-transformation.

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