Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse characterized by skepticism toward the "grand narratives" of modernism; rejection of epistemic certainty or the stability of meaning; and sensitivity to the role of ideology in maintaining political power. Claims to objectivity are dismissed as naïve realism, with attention drawn to the conditional nature of knowledge claims within particular historical, political, and cultural discourses. The postmodern outlook is characterized by self-referentiality, epistemological relativism, moral relativism, pluralism, irony, irreverence, and eclecticism; it rejects the "universal validity" of binary oppositions, stable identity, hierarchy, and categorization.
Initially emerging from a mode of literary criticism, postmodernism developed in the mid-twentieth century as a rejection of modernism, and has been observed across many disciplines. Postmodernism is associated with the disciplines deconstruction and post-structuralism. Various authors have criticized postmodernism as promoting obscurantism, as abandoning Enlightenment rationalism and scientific rigor, and as adding nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge.
2. To assert that postmodern approaches are the correct way of viewing the world would violate the associated assumptions of postmodernism itself. Such an assertion would involve context stripping, holding that a single best approach exists for all questions, circumstances, and knowers.
3. Since we have no clear idea what modernity is, we have recently begun to escape the issue by talking about post-modernity (an extension or an imitation of the somewhat older expressions "post-industrial society", "post-capitalism", etc). And what might come after the "post-modern" ? The neo-post-modern ? Or will we still be in the continually-moving modern, with [this] present conveniently named something like the "techno-secular" period and consigned to the past ?< 4. The surest sign of the death of the Modern is the loss of confidence among its elites, and in the absence of belief in which they are all the more afraid of new ideas or popular insurgencies.
5. Often used in very different contexts, the term designates the emergence of a complex of new factors which, widespread and powerful as they are, have shown themselves able to produce important and lasting changes. The term was first used with reference to aesthetic, social and technological phenomena. It was then transposed into the philosophical field, but has remained somewhat ambiguous, both because judgement on what is called "postmodern" is sometimes positive and sometimes negative, and because there is as yet no consensus on the delicate question of the demarcation of the different historical periods. One thing however is certain: the currents of thought which claim to be postmodern merit appropriate attention. According to some of them, the time of certainties is irrevocably past, and the human being must now learn to live in a horizon of total absence of meaning, where everything is provisional and ephemeral. In their destructive critique of every certitude, several authors have failed to make crucial distinctions and have called into question the certitudes of faith. (Papal Encyclical, Fides et Ratio, 14 September 1998).