Fri, 6 Oct 1995 12:29:08 EST

I think there are a number of definitions of postmodernism - and I
don't think it is a mature enough framework such that it can be
'defined' in any intact way.

Is it (1) a 'reaction' to the structural confinement of 'modernism',
with its monologic, centrist way of defining 'reality'. As such a
first phase..then I don't think it is yet a theory. I would consider
deconstructionism, discourse theory, fall within this
phase.They are, in varying degrees, reactive-to a specific format,
and therefore, are not, to my mind at least, stable and constructive.
I can't see that deconstruction and its appendages (which include, as
I said..other versions of approaching reality..such as discourse
theory, reader-response theory, death of the author, etc)
anything more than say -- 'everything is everything'. There is no
order, no organization. And energy (whether as an atom, a human
being or a society) cannot exist without order; it will entropically

Therefore, (2) this energy, released by the destructive froth of
deconstruction (sorry, but I dislike Derrida et al and get quite
frothy myself when I read/hear of him and his stuff)..has to be
organized..and I think that is the current stage of postmodernism. It
has, hopefully, moved out of the 'reactive' stage..and into the
'active stage'.cf Nietzsche's master/slave morality.

I totally agree with John Garelli, and his themes of the dev't of a
'rational' and 'ethical' frame of interaction. By rational, however,
i will use 'logical' the sense that this interaction must be
stable, reasonable, and accountable to empirical realities. And it,
as a logic, is an organized system. It acts as a mediation between
the physicalworld..and our conceptual images. It is not amorphous,
and by no means relative to the individual, but is based within
that 'grounded sensual sensitivity'..and grounded conceptual
sensitivity.. (Heidegger? can't remember). Garelli mentions Popper,
and we must consider this 'three worlds'..with one being the sensual,
physical world, another being our own individual concepts and another
being the social 'habits of thought'. This same concept of a larger
organizing logic, one that is grounded within the part of
the thinking of many.. Aristotle/Aquinas, Charles S. Peirce, Bakhtin,
And as a logic, it must be ethical, which means, to me..that it must
be dialogic rather than monologic. It must ground itself on sensual
reality, on 'that which is directly experienced; (Peircean
Firstness); it is accountable to that current immediacy. In this
sense, one has a dialogic, answerable interaction between sensual
reality and one's cognitive understanding. But..I maintain that this
is not direct, but a mediated interaction. That is, I am saying that
human cognition is impossible without such mediation (somewhat
similar to Lacan's symbolic..but without the stress on language that
he are other means of 'being symbolic)..but this
mediatory level must itself be dialogic, order to act in an
ethical manner. Once it removes itself from becomes
monologic..which is in essence totalitarian.

I will briefly reply to John McCreey..brief just for now, because I
really have to get to marking papers..but will do more later.. re
'energy'. I consider that reality- whether physical or conceptual- is
organized energy. Therefore, anything which exists (as an
it physical or conceptual).. is an organization of energy which is
related to other energies ; it is current..which means it is
spatiotemporally existent Now; it is flexible - which means it has
the potentiality to change its energy content and
organization..otherwise it would be entropically dead. And the
organization-format..(which call logic).. can be the DNA code,
ie..the code logic of the species, and the code-logic of the chemical
combination..and the code-logic of the human cognitive
perspective. Make any sense out of that? I will do more, if you
query..but must get to those papers.

Totally agree with John McLeery..that 'scholarly...propositions are
at best approximations to realities that may never be known'.. And as
for how we can assess some propositions as better than others,I think
these 'logics'..have to be 'ethical', in the sense that they must be
accountable to sensual stimuli, physical reality. A logic must
develop over time (it is a cognitive habit)..and its devt is such
that it builds itself up, as a 'reasonable' (operative) means of
interaction with 'Otherness'. As soon as it removes itself from
accountability to those various stimuli, as soon as it becomes
monologic..then it's lost it. I don't think that monologic systems
can really last beyond one generation. As for what is better..that
suggests that there is a single truth (back to Plato et al) and one
measures different ways of accessing that truth. No..I don't think
so, I think that one cannot evaluate these different logics in that
way..but only as to how each one has been 'answerable' to the current
realities of that population, whether it has been dialogic, flexible
and consistent within that population. I don't know how much further
one can go..

All the best...

Edwina Taborsky
Bishop's University Phone: (819)822.9600
Lennoxville, Quebec Fax: (819)822.9661
Canada JIM 1Z7