This 'important current' echoes Dooyeweerd's view:
"Postmodern science - by concerning itself with such things as undecidables, the limits of precise control, conflicts characterized by incomplete information, 'fracta', catastrophes, and pragmatic paradoxes - is theorizing its own evolution as discontinuous, catastrophic, nonrectifiable, and paradoxical. It is changing the meaning of the word knowledge, while expressing how such a change can take place." [p.60].
While this is an important insight, I think Dooyeweerd would have disagreed. He might or might not have disagreed with the need to focus on these things, but he would have disagreed with the attitude of thought on which this proposal is based. It is a theorizing attitude, not a pre-theoretical (naïve, everyday, lifeworld) one. Indeed, Lyotard admits it is "theorizing its own evolution". We can perhaps see this in the space he gives to this proposal. After 53 pages of arguing the failures of various types of modernism, he spends a mere 7 pages on this, which suggests an ready adherence to some underlying 'narrative', which is so obvious to Lyotard that he does not realise that it needs spelling out carefully. We can also see his theorizing in how he argues it. He provides illustrations from reference to such things as quantum physics, molecular physics, Mandelbrot's fractals, etc., in all of which the message is: "If you discard the everyday view of things, and look at them under the microscope, you will see that what appears continuous to the everyday view is discontinuous to the microscopic view. The microscope view is the 'correct' or 'true' one, while the everyday view is misleading and false." Dooyeweerd suggests we should give more respect to the everyday view and attitude, and not so uncritically accept that theorized views are 'true' or 'correct', as Lyotard does. (This is, of course, a paradox in Lyotard, since he purports to reject the notion of 'true' overarching views, but as Frederic Jameson, in the Foreword to Lyotard argues, even Lyotard has a 'master narrative', but it has gone underground as a 'way of thinking and acting'.)
Copyright (c) 2004 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.
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Created: 16 September 2009 Last updated: