[Western rationalism supposes] that a world exists 'out there', independently of the ideas about it that any particular scholar or scientist may hold; that it is possible to use language in order to make statements about this world that may be regarded as being true in the degree to which they accurately represent or 'correspond to' it; and that the attempt to determine their truth, or otherwise, can be carried out through various procedures grounded in a generally valid logic governing the linkage of evidence and argument ...Plenty of food for thought in there I might return to in due course.
[Postmodernism argues] there is no world 'out there' existing independently of our representations of it, or, that is of the ways in which we socially construct it through our language; thus, the criterion of the truth of statements cannot be correspondence with such an independent world; truth is not discovered but it is rather made, and is made, moreover, on many different ways, and always with a moral and political intent; thus all truth is 'local' and 'contextual'; there is no knowledge that can claim a privileged, objective, and universal status by virtue of the methods through which it is secured, only 'knowledges' that are specific to particular communities, cultures, and so on, and that serve their purposes." (2000, p.8)
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
This from John Goldthorpe's On Sociology. I think it works as a pithy summary of what was at stake during the postmodern detour much social theory took from the late 80s to more recent times.