Is postmodernism to blame for the rise of the post-truth era? At first glance that seems very hard to believe. When we see Kellyanne Conway talking about “alternative facts” or Rudy Giuliani saying “truth isn’t truth,” we don’t immediately assume they’ve been busy reading Jacques Derrida.
What is it
Postmodernism is often characterized by its rejection of concepts championed by the Enlightenment, like meaning, truth, reason, and knowledge. Some philosophers blame postmodernism for making cynicism about truth and facts now respectable in political debate. So is postmodernism responsible for “fake news” and “alternative facts”? Or does it simply provide the tools to describe popular distrust of traditional authorities, like science and the media? Must we reject postmodernism in order to rescue truth? Josh and Ken find trust in Thomas de Zengotita, author of Postmodern Theory and Progressive Politics: Toward a New Humanism.