ELI5, what exactly is “postmodernism”?


I studied cognitive sciences, I read shit-ton of philosophers, I wrote my bachelor thesis on philosophy of mind, but still I don’t get what exactly is postmodernism

In: Other

I think it’s a philosophy/rhetorical standpoint that urges people to immediately question the traditional viewpoints of things. The reason that’s so vague is because when you do some research it mentions metaphysics, morality, meaning; pretty much anything you can think of.

One thing postmodernism has become defined for though is its vigorous efforts in questioning gender, history, identity, to name a few. It’s really become a device for political and social influence rather than a genuine philosophy. Skeptics and defiers of postmodernism have likened it to Marxism.

I could be wrong though so help me out people, lol.

I generally take it to mean something is innovative or pushing the boundary forward from what we consider current or modern.

I’ve read a few books on the subject, though I’m probably less knowledgeable than OP. My understanding is that it’s broadly speaking a power play via rhetoric. In a traditional sense of philosophical postmodernism, it is an alteration of language to fit the narrative of the user. This can result in a power struggle where the speaker is the only one who truly knows the meaning of his/her words, rendering him more knowledgeable about a subject than anyone else by definition. The focus becomes less about knowledge and truth and more about how it’s communicated.

From my limited understanding, Michel Foucault is one of the big originators of this school of thought and reading some of his work might help in getting a better picture.

If modernism can be phrased as “everything is new”, new materials like plastic, airplanes, computers, phones.
Socially, the end of colonialism, end of world wars, beginning of civil rights and the equality movement.
The end of tradition.

Post modernism is that “nothing is new”
We wear new materials that look like old jeans, new phones but the same difficulty in communication, new cars but still just to move you around. It is the epitome of “the more things change the more they stay the same”

It is an acceptance that we are all findementally the same, my difficulty in feeding my family is the same as tribesmen in Amazon.

Ancient thinkers couldn’t imagine things outside of their own experience

Modern people realized other people have other experiences, religions, music, etc. but they are not inclined to adopt those things

Post modern people can borrow from anything the encounter, edit, and create their own reality. Early hip hop before it had a name is a good example of postmodern.