Thursday, 16 September 2010

The varieties of postmodernism

Certainly one of the gains of recent reading is the realization that there are more varieties of postmodernism that I have been given to understand.

Perhaps I - we - have been under the impression that postmodernism means only people like Derrida and Rorty, and Caputo following Derrida, and of course Lyotard, Foucault, Irigaray, Vattimo...

But there are some other, perhaps unwelcome, bedfellows: the recent discovery is of Radical Orthodoxy, with John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, Graham Ward, Gerard Loughlin; the postliberalism of Lindbeck and Frei; the post-postliberalism of Stanley Hauerwas and Kevin Vanhoozer; Alasdair MacIntyre. Then also the willingness of the RO people to include Balthasar as one of their inspirations.

RO and the post-postliberals, for example - and here they have common cause with Caputo - mount a vicious attack on secularism. (I wonder whether Hauerwas' remarks on capitalism are echoes of Milbank.) But, where RO is anti-authoritarianism and anti-pope, including anti-John Paul II (I think), Hauerwas is clearly pro-John Paul II, and is even accused of being too Catholic. But he remains unfazed.

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