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On the Future of HistoryThe Postmodernist Challenge and Its Aftermath$
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Ernst Breisach

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226072791

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226072814.001.0001

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At the Core of the Postmodernist Challenge to History

At the Core of the Postmodernist Challenge to History

Chapter:
4 At the Core of the Postmodernist Challenge to History
Source:
On the Future of History
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226072814.003.0004

Both modernists and postmodernists expected an era with a novel human condition once their views of the world had become the organizing principles of life. Guidance in that life would no longer come from the recorded past. Human life in postmodernity would have a new structure and dynamic. Postmodernists did not choose in the simple reductionist way to replace reason as the all-important force with another specific aspect of human life. In the postmodernism debate, which has focused on methods and interpretive approaches of history, this choice has not figured significantly. In a decisive shift, postmodernists based their hope for a postmodernity, completely and irrevocably set apart from the past, on a radically different valuation of the two basic human experiences of time—change and continuity. In doing so, postmodernists touched the core of the historicity of human life and historical thought: the historical nexus.

Keywords:   modernists, postmodernists, human condition, human life, human experience, change and continuity, historical nexus, historical thought

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