Philosophy Friday #7 – Relativism

In my final year at Melbourne University, I was accepted into a one-year Honours course in History. I didn’t end up doing the course because the prospect of a sixth year of being utterly broke didn’t really appeal. But, as a prerequisite all prospective Honours students were required to do a subject on the various methods by which one could study history – from a feminist or post-colonialist angle, for example.

And then we covered postmodernism. Oh postmodernism, how can I describe thee? I shall let thee speak for thyself:

Neomaterialist narrative and capitalist libertarianism

“Society is part of the fatal flaw of consciousness,” says Sartre; however, according to von Junz[1] , it is not so much society that is part of the fatal flaw of consciousness, but rather the absurdity, and subsequent failure, of society. However, the ground/figure distinction intrinsic to Joyce’s Dubliners emerges again in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. Debord’s model of semantic Marxism suggests that narrative comes from communication.

Thus, the subject is interpolated into a capitalist libertarianism that includes narrativity as a reality. Precultural desemanticism holds that the task of the artist is social comment, but only if the premise of capitalist libertarianism is invalid; if that is not the case, the Constitution is capable of significance.

Therefore, Baudrillard uses the term ‘cultural pretextual theory’ to denote not theory, as Sontag would have it, but neotheory. The subject is contextualised into a dialectic paradigm of consensus that includes sexuality as a totality.


Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but with strong ambitions to succeed in academic life, collect a coterie of reverent disciples and have students around the world anoint your pages with respectful yellow highlighter. What kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose your lack of content.


About the Author: James Bannan

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