Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse characterized by skepticism toward the "grand narratives" of modernism; rejection of epistemic (scientific) 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 theories of 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.
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