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Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics


Philosophy as a special form of society’s conscience can be said to have been occurred to fulfill the need for people to answer certain questions. The answers to such questions should be able to deliver a complete, logically relevant, and sufficiently broad in generalizations and conclusions knowledge about the world that surrounds us. In that regard, it can be said that the needs for such knowledge was derived from different grounds and thus the philosophical problems that resulted from such diversity are different in their scope.

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Nevertheless, despite the difference in philosophical doctrines, there were several notions which gained considerably wider recognition, due to their coincidence in particular historical lines. It should be mentioned that many of such notions extend beyond the context of philosophy taking a reflection in whole eras, where the influence of such notions are expressed in the works of arts, literature and etc, creating a particular movement, in that sense.

Nevertheless, it can be said that origins of these movements mostly lie in their philosophical counterparts. In that regard, this paper analyzes notions that are exemplary of the aforementioned introduction, i.e. modernism, metaphysics, and postmodernism, in terms of their approaches, and critique.


Modernism can be seen through Nietzsche’s perspective as a rejection and a break with the tradition. In that regard, the rejection can be seen to the sustained basis of morals, an aspect given much attention by Nietzsche. Accordingly, Nietzsche ridiculed the idea itself of the morals being combined with science, not to say nature or logic; “every system of morals is a sort of tyranny against “nature” and also against “reason”, that is, however, no objection, unless one should gain decree by some system of morals, that all kinds of tyranny and unreasonableness are unlawful”.

Accordingly, postmodernism as might be implied from the word post, is opposes to modernism, and thus to acknowledge what postmodernism represents it should be established what modernism represented at the first place. According to the Dialectic of Enlightenment by Adorno and Horkheimer, modernists represented the enlightenment were opposing the “previous regime”, and thus postmodernism is a critique of modernism and pre-modernism, and the movement that followed modernism and opposed the totalitarianism that was present through the epoch of enlightenment by modernists.

On the other hand, metaphysics can be defined as the sector of philosophy that is dedicated to analyzing the nature and the structure of the world. There were several sections of metaphysics were each were devoted to a particular aspect.

For example, Heidegger examined the reality as it is through ontology, where Heidegger questioned being itself. Another branch of metaphysics, examines the nature of consciousness, asking such questions about human nature, free will, and etc.

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Hegel in Phenomenology of Spirit devoted his efforts to study the issue of self-consciousness, where under the latter it is implied the process of individual and self-consciousness. As a result of this process, the individual or the group determines the ideal foundation of their being and predict their future as a goal of their actual activity. Of Hegel’s main dialectics in Phenomenology of Spirit is the dialectics of master and slave. The master and slave represent social statuses, and as a reflections of contemporary social relations.

In general, it can be that all the three concepts differ in terms of their occurrences, where it might be stated that modernism and postmodernism occurred as a reaction to a particular historical situations and events. Modernism might seen as a logical reaction to the technological development that occurred at the end of the nineteenth century combined with the enlightenment movement , previously outlined by Adorno and Horkheimer.

Accordingly, the occurrence of postmodernism was a reaction to modernism, although it might seem that the reaction was more to the totalitarianism in the enlightenment era, which modernism carried many of their ideas. Metaphysics, on the other hand, omitting the chronological line, can be seen as answering an array of problems rather than as an opposition to other doctrines.

The problem of modernism can be seen through Nietzsche’s representation as the orientation toward pure reason without the morals. Accordingly, It can be assumed that Nietzsche is praising the moral values provided by religion, whereas knowing the fact that he rejected the religion as an institution, it can be stated that Nietzsche points out to the fact that the materialism brought by the new technological developments will eventually lead to the degradation of moral values as they are merely based on the belief in God. Thus, if people lose such belief, they will lose the basis for their moral values.

Postmodernism on the other hand, in criticizing modernism, is undermining the aspects which can be said to be based in its essence, such as the subjectivity and the creativity. Additionally, other idea which is essential to modernism but was criticized by postmodernism is the art for the art concept, discussed by Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols.

Nietzsche stated that art should not be moralized. In that regard, postmodernism can be seen as contradicting itself in that matter.

Metaphysics in its division into various branches result in different kinds of philosophical problems occurring. For example, in the philosophy of conscious the problems can be seen through the interpretation of the object in self-conscious. Another problem is the problem of free will, as a factor in the conflicts of science and morals.

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In general, modernism, post modernism and metaphysics can be seen as approaches which attempt answering the questions of morality, reason, subjectivity and being. Although such definitions are broad, they nevertheless outline the main aspects of philosophical dilemmas, i.e. the science, the morals and the conscious. In modernism and postmodernism specifically, the philosophical dilemmas were solved through the introduction of different visions in each notion, based on the works of notable people in each sphere. In that regard, the influence and the criticism of each notion in philosophy can be regarded as a battle of opinion and views which in some cases turned to influence epochs.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 30). Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics.

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"Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics." StudyCorgi, 30 Oct. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metaphysics'. 30 October.

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