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Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences$
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Gurpreet Mahajan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198076971

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198076971.001.0001

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Epilogue: Postmodern Anti-Foundationalism

Epilogue: Postmodern Anti-Foundationalism

(p.103) VI Epilogue: Postmodern Anti-Foundationalism
Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences

Gurpreet Mahajan

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the emergence of postmodernism in the 1980s. At a time when all other theoretical systems were retreating somewhat shamefacedly, postmodernism came up from behind to fill in the intellectual void. What attracted social scientists to postmodernism was its denunciation of metanarratives, foundationalism, and essentialism. Going against the received epistemologies, postmodernism challenged the goal of producing universal knowledge and searching for determinate structural identities. Postmodernism derives its staying power from the anti-foundational philosophies of Jacques Derrida, Richard Rorty, and Gilles Deleuze. In fact, the attributes of the postmodern condition along with the concepts associated with it are identical to or supportive of the philosophical values stressed by the anti-foundational agenda.

Keywords:   postmodernism, metanarrative, foundationalism, anti-foundationalism, essentialism, social science, Jacques Derrida, Richard Rorty, Gilles Deleuze

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