Lyotard’s Postmodern Condition

Lyotard: The Postmodern Condition
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
Theme: “The status of science and technology, of technocracy, and the control of knowledge and information today.”
• Two great myths: liberation of humanity and speculative unity of knowledge
• Not the disappearance of master narratives, but the making unconscious, or the going underground-ness of them
• Consumption of the past in narrative (*Jameson…); storage, hording, and capitalization in ‘science’ and scientific thought
• A narrative which must generate the illusion of an imaginary resolution of real contradictions
• Knowledge, its production, its consumption—the principle force of production
• What proof is there that my proof is true?
o Who decides the conditions of truth?
• Think: automatic trust of Parrhesiates (Foucault)
• What’s left of popular knowledge?
• Knowledge is founded on the narrative of its own martyrdom
• The states resorts to the narrative of freedom
• Acquisition of learning
o Deriving everything from an original principle
o Relating everything to an ideal
o Unifying this principle and this idea in a single idea
• Knowledge first find legitimacy within itself and it’s knowledge that is entitled to say what the state and the society are
• Knowledge is no longer the subject, but in service to the subject
• Institutions of higher learning: called on to create skills, not ideals (*see p. 48 )
• Knowledge will be served a la carte: promotions; learning add’l skills, etc.
• Memory banks (*p. 50)—disposal of knowledge
• Truth→ use: shift in questions of the modern student: performance oriented
o Best players are those who have knowledge and can obtain information
• New role of the professor: no better than memory banks


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