Jean Francois Lyotard: What is the Postmodern Situation?June 27, 2021
When his book The Postmodern Situation was published in 1979, it was influential not only in France and in a certain intellectual circle, but also in every field and country, and in a short time it turned into a text that is constantly referenced.
Le Differende is published in 1983, where Lyotard appears to have adapted a Wittgensteinian philosophy of language. Lyotard has made provocative readings of modernism in this direction and has taken place as one of the powerful names of the critical branch of continental philosophy.
Lyotard develops the understanding of language games borrowed from Wittgenstein. Since the rules of each language game are only self-determined, according to Lyotard, it is necessary to adopt the plurality of language games. Lyotard embraces the irreducible multiplicity and diversity of language games. Therefore, according to Lyotard, every language game should have the right to voice itself with the diversity of its point of view.
According to Lyotard, the post-modern situation is the total expression of a process that includes both changes in material conditions and ruptures in the intellectual field. What causes this is above all a state of deep disbelief or, in other words, an original doubt. The Modernity at issue here is a doubt about the legitimacy of Jean Francois Lyotard, or Modernity, and is directed against the whole modern project itself and its fundamental notions. Lyotard traces and makes sense of this doubt. Accordingly, it is determined that a dozen basic concepts (Progress, Enlightenment, Rationality, Freedom, Universality, etc.) inherent in modernism, which he now calls Grand Narratives, are not credible. The name of the new lifestyle period that started with this state of doubt itself is the post-modern situation.
In this situation, Lyotard states that the modernist goals of knowledge are purely controversial, revealing that there is no solid or final way to settle this debate about goals. Here comes the theoretical problem of immeasurability or incomparability. Accordingly, different positions of justice and truth are incomparable and irreducible to each other. Therefore, it is not possible to believe in a single truth, in a pure mind, in a universal life position, that is, in a single and universal aspect of history and progress, and to be able to justify this theoretically.
This brings with it the problem of legitimacy. The legitimation of knowledge can no longer be based on a Grand Narrative Jean Francois Lyotard, because as a result of the cultural and social developments in post-industrial societies Jean Francois Lyotard has now given way to deep suspicion. Post-industrial society has shifted to a structure of production in which information and information technology play a major role. The resulting disbelief in the Grand Narratives, all philosophies of history, teleological understandings and political ideologies that emerged with teleological historical promises, Jean Francois Lyotarde, are viewed with suspicion. It is clear that the critical target of such an evaluation is not only the modern conceptions of society and the state, but also the Marxist doctrine itself.
According to Lyotard, the political meaning of post-modernism is opposition to totalitarianism. He was criticized for being overly optimistic in this direction. Totalitarianism comes from the understanding of unity and order, which has become inherent in all kinds of teachings in modernism, and moreover, from the understanding of absolute reason and truth. Against these, he proposes heterogeneity and polyphony, which is in line with his Wittgensteinian understanding of language games. Temporary contracts should be sought, not absolute compromises. Lyotard’s skepticism does not lead to nihilism, justice is not an outdated concept, according to him, modernity has a democratic potential and what needs to be done is to renew and deepen it.
Lyotard Postmodern defined the process perceived as post or beyond modernism as “The Situation” and problematized modernity and modern thought in this context in his book of the same name. He became one of the most cited names in postmodern philosophy and in the discussions on postmodernism. One of the most important theorists of postmodernism, Lyotard’s main work is “The Postmodern Situation”.
Lyotard defined postmodernity as a situation or condition that corresponds to the current phase of post-industrial society. Explaining modernity with the role played by metanarratives used to legitimize science and the state, Lyotard argues that two of these metanarratives, emphasizing the certainty and indispensability of progress, with the liberating narrative of modern science and the understanding of politics as a result of the French Revolution, and the speculative philosophies of Hegelianism and Marxism are of great importance in terms of understanding Western culture. .
Lyotard’s solution is the heterogeneous and polyphonic structure that Wittgensteinian language games will create. According to Lyotard, temporal and local consensus, rather than absolute consensus, should be sought and tentative agreements should be sought. In other words,