PhD-Candidate: Jan Overwijk | University of Amsterdam | supervisors: Boomkens, Celikates
The question of modernity is as old as modernity itself. Philosophically, Kant studied modern thought in a critique of reason; sociologically, Weber used the parallel tactic of examining modern society in a critique of rationalisation. The wave of postmodernism in the 1970s and ‘80s has attempted to decenter reason through a radicalisation of modernism. In philosophy, this resulted in the hugely successful anti-metaphysics of Lyotard, Derrida, Deleuze, who built on Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Nietzsche. On a sociological register, however, the thesis of ratio-nalisation stands as firm as ever, even among anti-metaphysical thinkers themselves. Admittedly, postmodernism has led to an expansion of aspects under which the humanities study modernity as a cultural phenomenon, but regarding questions of social organisation, humanities scholars automatically resort to the sociology of reason. So I ask, in a polemical paraphrase on Habermas: Has the postmodern project been completed? Should it be?
The dissertation proposed here will serve the dual aim of i) loosening the grip of rationalisation on our politico-philosophical imagination and ii) developing an account of modernisation as socio- cultural closure that is inspired by postmodernism, but tailored to our world and times. This project will be primarily philosophical in nature, but is at the same time located at several disciplinary intersections. Firstly, the dissertation connects Critical Theory with Science and Technology Studies in order to produce a philosophical framework for social organisation that is embedded within thewider humanities. Secondly, it cuts across the analytic/Continental divide in philosophy.