Post-modernism and Post- structuralism
Post-structuralism and deconstruction can be seen as the theoretical formulations of the post-modern condition. Modernity, which began intellectually with the Enlightenment, attempted to describe the world in rational, empirical and objective terms. It assumed that there was a truth to be uncovered, a way of obtaining answers to the question posed by the human condition. Post-modernism does not exhibit this confidence, gone are the underlying certainties that reason promised. Reason itself is now seen as a particular historical form, as parochial in its own way as the ancient explanations of the universe in terms of Gods.
The postmodern subject has no rational way to evaluate a preference in relation to judgments of truth, morality, aesthetic experience or objectivity. As the old hierarchies of thought are torn down, a new clearing is formed on the frontiers of understanding: quite what hybrids of thought will metamorphose, interbreed and grow is this clearing is for the future to decide.
Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction
The French philosopher Jacques Derrida set off and labeled the idea of deconstruction. However, even before him, the prominent German philosophers: Friedrich Neitzsche (1844-1900) and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976 were skeptical about the unassailability of some philosophical ideas such as "knowledge" and "truth".
For Derrida, language or 'texts' are not a natural reflection of the world. Text structures our interpretation of the world. Following Heidegger, Derrida thinks that language shapes us: texts create a clearing that we understand as reality. Derrida sees the history of western thought as based on opposition: good vs. evil mind vs. matter, man vs. woman, speech vs. writing. These oppositions are defined hierarchically: the second term is seen as a corruption of the first, the terms are not equal opposites.
Derrida thought that all text contained a...