The German philosopher Hegel gives us a useful tool for understanding the history of ideas: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
We can see this clearly in the movement from the Enlightenment to romanticism to modernism and postmodernism—each intellectual movement a reaction to its predecessor, integrating what works from the previous era with new solutions to meet the demands of new problems.
But, where does that leave us now? What comes next after postmodernism?
Odds are, we’re already in it this new intellectual movement.
A growing number of people have become worn out with deconstruction and the postmodernist impulse to doubt everything, to dismantle every concept and institution. It’s become apparent this exercise which started out as emancipatory and liberating has congealed into its own set of dogmas and less-than-productive ways of being.
Eager to revitalize a more constructive mindset and free us from postmodernism’s long shadow, as he calls it, Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm makes a case for what he hopes will come next. He argues this in his recent book Metamodernism: The Future of Theory (2021).
Chair and professor of religion and chair of science and technology studies at Williams College, he aims to take us through postmodernism to metamodernism, to establish a new approach to producing what he calls “humble knowledge.” He’s trying to create a paradigm shift, not just describe what is happening.
He believes metamodernism is about the future of all disciplines, especially the human sciences. Ultimately, metamodernism is about hope. It’s a vision whose ethical and political goals are rooted in compassion and multispecies flourishing.
And here are a few things we consider during our conversation:
How does metamodernism utilize skepticism without falling prey to either nihilism or a dogmatic doubting of everything? Why has postmodernism possibly, I say, possibly, reached a dead end? What is the relationship between metamodernism and Pragmatism? And what pressing political or social problems can metamodernism help us solve?
The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity and the Birth of the Human Sciences by Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm (2017)
“The Task of the Translator” in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections by Walter Benjamin (1968)
“What Is a ‘Relevant’ Translation?” by Jacques Derrida (2001)
“An Interview with Moyo Okediji on Metamodernism” by Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm (2022)
“Black Skin, White Kins: Metamodern Masks, Multiple Mimesis” in Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews by Moyo Okediji (1999)
Metamodernism: The Future of Theory by Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm (2021)
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty (1979)
“Rortian Liberalism and the Problem of Truth” by Adrian Rutt (2021)
“Truth as Pragmatism’s Only Hope” by Jon Alan Schmidt (2022)
“Why We Won’t Ever Arrive at Truth” by Ian Cran (2022)
“The Power of One Idea” by Jeffrey Howard (2020)
“Suspicious” by Nicolas Gasparini licensed under a Creative Commons License
“Happy Americana” by ABCDmusic
“Carmen – Habanera (Piano Version) Georges Bizet” by Nicolas Gasparini licensed under a Creative Commons License
“Old Bossa” by Twin Musicom licensed under a Creative Commons License
“Chill Wave” by Kevin MacLeod licensed under a Creative Commons License
“Bet On It” by Silent Partner licensed under a Creative Commons License
A podcast about our relationship to ideas. Doing our damnedest to not block the path of inquiry.