Belated Pomo Update

Wed, 15 Dec 1993 09:15:43 CST

Though I was amused by D. St. Christian's vision, I don't think the
questions he raises are at all the important ones. What is at stake is
not how the word "postmodernism" is used, or the identity of individuals
it does or does not fit. The only reason A. Helgason named names was
because B. Rodman asked for them. The attempt to turn a profoundly
important epistemological issue into quibbling about definitions and
individuals is a good defense clearly in the postmodern spirit. It is
much more "prudent"than trying to defend the epistemological position
inherent in postmodernism itself--and its nihilistic precursors--which
is entirely indefensible. If there is something in postmodernism in
addition to an attack on the possibility of knowledge of reality through
reason and evidence, let us by all means hear about it. I already
offered examples of the thinly disguised nihilism of Geertz's "thick
description," which I take as exemplifying the epistemology of what has
come to be called postmodernism. If, as D. St. Christian implies, this
is a misunderstanding, I await--with, I admit, considerable
skepticism--enlightenment.--Bob Graber