The value-premises upholding academic research have been maintained by what Lyotard considers to be quasi-mythological beliefs about human purpose, human reason, and human progress—large, background constructs he calls " metanarratives ". These metanarratives still remain in Western society but are now being undermined by rapid Informatization and the commercialization of the university and its functions. The shift of authority from the presence and intuition of knowers—from the good faith of reason to seek diverse knowledge integrated for human benefit or truth fidelity—to the automated database and the market had, in Lyotard's view, the power to unravel the very idea of "justification" or "legitimation" and, with it, the rationale for research altogether, especially in disciplines pertaining to human life, society, and meaning. We are now controlled not by binding extra-linguistic value paradigms defining notions of collective identity and ultimate purpose, but rather by our automatic responses to different species of "language games" (a concept Lyotard imports from J. L. Austin 's theory of speech acts ). In his vision of a solution to this "vertigo", Lyotard opposes the assumptions of universality , consensus, and generality that he identified within the thought of humanistic, Neo-Kantian philosophers like Jürgen Habermas , and proposes a continuation of experimentation and diversity to be assessed pragmatically in the context of language games rather than via appeal to a resurrected series of transcendentals and metaphysical unities.
This is ridiculous. The premise of postmodernity is that there is in fact no singular or universal norm. You can adhear to postmodernity and still have human connect. It’s all about personal experience. Seinfeld isn’t nihilist by the way. This article is about morality and indeed that is socially constructed. There is nothing bleak about postmodernity. It’s merely when a person who comes in with some sort of “universal truths” narrative that we get this absolute rubbish about how how empty postmodernism is. Postmodernism is about personal experience. That doesn’t mean it’s even close to being narcissistic. Cynism is one of many facets of humour involved. In a time where we witness people taking absolutes to deadly proportions why is it so wrong to take things with a grain of salt?
Whether there are genuine law-like causal regularities that govern social phenomena is not at all clear. In any event, no laws governing the social world have been discovered that meet the demanding criteria of natural science. To be sure, social scientists have identified many social regularities, some of which they have even dubbed social laws. Examples from the discipline of economics would include the laws of supply and demand. From political science we find Roberto Michels’ iron law of oligarchy, which holds that popular movements, regardless of how democratically inclined, over time will become hierarchical in structure. Another proposed law of politics is Duverger’s Law, which posits that two-party systems will emerge in political systems that feature simple-majority, single-ballot electoral systems. But upon closer inspection, these laws fail to meet the criteria for genuine law-like regularities. Sometimes, particularly in economics (which boasts more purported laws than the other social sciences), the laws merely describe logical relationships between concepts. These laws may be true by definition, but because they do not describe the empirical world, they are not scientific laws. On the other hand, social laws that claim to describe empirical regularities invariably turn out to be imprecise, exception ridden and time-bound or place-bound rather than precise and universal. Consider the law of demand from economics, which holds that consumer demand for a good will decrease if prices go up and increase if prices go down. Though this pattern typically occurs, it is not without exception. Sometimes increasing the price of a good also increases demand for it. This may happen when consumers interpret a higher price as signaling higher quality or because purchasing an expensive good provides an opportunity for conspicuous consumption – wasteful expenditure as a display of status. Moreover, the law of demand is a weak law; it merely specifies an inverse relationship between price and demand. Unlike the more precise laws of natural science, it does not specify the magnitude of the expected change.