brief excursus on modern and postmodern (from Analogy discussion)

Here is the terribly important point:  disregarding the fundamental role of analogy and insisting on univocal discourse generally leads us to equivocate, and we either end up pushing opposing “not…but…” statements whose opposition is founded in an equivocation; or we end up agreeing on apparently univocal utterances that are founded on an invisible equivocation that we all assume without examination.

The epistemological project common to most Enlightenment philosophy, most Protestant hermeneutics, Modernism (classical liberalism in theology), Fundamentalism, and almost all modern critical theory is founded on an assertion that univocal expression across all domains of knowledge is (or ought to be) possible and necessary for “truth” to be intelligible; the failure of that project is the foundation of the critical consensus commonly called “postmodern,” and is the true significance of conversations about “destruing” and “deconstruction” at Heidegger and Derrida (downstream from the European love affair with Hegel of the early 19C and the ugly breakup that led to movements as various the 1848 revolutions, modern anarchism/Satanism/nihilism, the Kulturkampf, the works of Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dialectical Theology, the search for the Historical Jesus, phenomenology, and a great deal more).

Whatever its faults, this postmodern line of critical thought has correctly insisted that the “not…but…” structures that are founded upon invisibly agreed-upon equivocations but purport to be foundations of wholly univocal systems of understanding and explanation are at the very least important and, where they betray such systems into harmful errors and violence, cry out to be re-examined.  Insofar as this is their project, our postmodern critical theorists are doing morally serious work.  Insofar as they insist that this problem is unavoidable, universal, and systemic and requires perpetual revolt against settled understandings as the only morally serious path, they are of course wrongheaded and destructive–they lead to harmful errors and violence, and so their own agreed-upon equivocations cry out to be examined.