Reflexivity, The Post-Modern Predicament

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Been reading a good book on reflexivity, Reflexivity: The Post-Modern Predicament by Hilary Lawson, after our 3:1 week on postmodernism and after thinking about some new directions for Jan and I’s old paper on reflexivity.

Here is a choice quote from the opening passage, in discussions about reflexivity being at the core of Western philosophical thinking:

This questioning, however, has led to views which are unstable. Such claims are ‘there are no facts’, ‘there are no lessons of history’, ‘there are no definitive answers or solutions’, are all reflexively paradoxical. For, is it not a fact that ‘there are no facts’, and a lesson of history that ‘there are not lessons of history’, and a definitive answer that ‘there are no definitive answers’? (page 1)

* Imagine from Roskilde University in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

5 thoughts on “Reflexivity, The Post-Modern Predicament

  1. meh, reminds me of complaints that claims of relativism are universal. not really interested in that sort of merely academic logic but more how we proceed in an ethos of alltoohuman limits,
    will try and find a copy of the book.

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    • Perhaps it is not totally clear that I fully agree. I mention them only for a reflexive reflexive reason — I am wondering, like you, what this means for the all-too-human experience of us all: so, what does it mean that relativism cannot be universal in theory but that it is, it really is, out in “the wild” of everyday life???

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      • but it can be universal in a “merely” anthropological sense (the kind that Heidegger wrongly rejected), the way out of the fly-bottle/bell-jar is to not get caught up in these language games, as Rorty noted (but couldn’t stick with) one should learn to ignore certain questions/questioners as non-sensical, besides the point if you will to the tasks at hand.

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          • anthropology in this case being the things that human-beings (as human-doings) do (the mangles of practices) if you want more than that I’m afraid that you’ll have to wait for the truly post-human. I’m not sure what practical tasks/interests (leaving behind the kinds of derridean/neoplatonic quasi-transcendentals like Peace, etc) really could be beyond such reach (which isn’t to say that we might desire more like a solution to climate change just that these desires exceed our capacities and in this sense are non-sensical)

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