Modernism (1650-1960’s)

Modern philosophy and science are based on the idea that the world of appearances is an illusion that both reveals and conceals an underlying reality which the worlds don’t know about it.

Still other sociologists and social critics describe moral systems as social constructions — fictions — that pretend to be objective realities, an idea which was expressed by the title of a famous book (famous in academia, at least) from the 1960s: The Social Construction of Reality.* In the natural sciences, physics views the materiality of the world as a kind of fantasy and describes microscopic and macroscopic realms in which nature loses many of the characteristics it has in the Newtonian world of everyday existence.

To understand modernism two main things discussed in which modernism is based:

Epistemology means that the study of origin, nature with reference to the limits and validity of human knowledge. In epistemology, empiricism approach of philosophy is used it means that one person emphasize on concept while other emphasize on knowledge. The second approach is used is epistemological approach which means reason or logic its means that everything have a proper way to understand or proper way to do the work.

The second is sources of authority it means shift of power moved away from the church, politics (government, king) and universities (scholars, professors) from the primary sources of authority. Repeatedly, a religious point of view was integrated in to these modern sources of authority, but after modernism church no longer enjoyed the special power position.

Now discuss modernism in detail what incidents are happened in modernism.

To the despair of artists and intellectuals, the positive and uplifting worldview fostered through Modernism has become corrupt and oppressive.

Riddled with doubt about the continued viability of the notion of progress, the face of modernism has begun to crack, and conservative forces that have long been opposed to modernism have rushed, wedge like, into the interstices to fill and expand the space with their own worldview.

In the United States, modernism, in a form identified as secular humanism, has been attacked by the so-called religious right whose conservative ideology has seriously undermined the very constitutional foundations of the whole American modernist experiments. Fundamentalism in nearly all of the world’s major organized religions Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism has risen sharply in recent years which are against to modernism. They criticize modernists on every single moment.

Many Christian fundamentalists still agree with the protestant reformer Martin Luther who believed that reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the Divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.(Colloquia Mensalia, On Baptism, paragraph CCCLIII).

Modernisms displacement of the Church, monarchy, and aristocracy from positions of power and privilege continues to be deeply resented among conservatives. Each of these institutions, and especially the Church, persist in resisting the demands of modernism while supporters seek ways to reestablish its former status and role in society which they have done in the past times. There is a power struggle between modernists and authority of the Church.

The Roman Catholic Church has standing up tall in opposition to modernism. Already in 1846, Pope Pius IX had condemned the modernist proposition that Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason (Syllabus, prop.5).And in the encyclical Qui pluribus, issued in November that same year, wrote These enemies of divine revelation praise human progress to the skies, and with rash and sinful daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion.

Fifty years later, in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, on the doctrine of the modernist, issued in 1907, Pope Pius X condemned as heretical the writings of modernist thinkers and teachers who sought to reform and modernize the Church, and condemned attempts to find a way to reconciliation process between the conservative authority of the Church and liberty of believers. It rejected the modernist belief that such matters of ideology, worship, and the sacredness of sacred books, even faith itself and the Church as a whole have been subject to evolution and that the Church should now adapt itself to existing historical conditions and harmonize itself with existing forms of society. The two forces are not accept any proposal which they exchange each other. They want own ideas and desire to implement on to their other thinkers view point.

For Pius X, modernism was a combination of all dissent, and constituted a system that threatened to destroy not only the Catholic religion but all religion: Modernism leads to atheism and to the annihilation of all religion.

The error of Protestantism made the first step on this path; that of Modernism makes the second; atheism makes the next.

Modernism and Post Modernism

There is every indication that the current pope, Benedict XVI, would like to return the Roman Catholic Church to back in past times as they perform their role in the past. Similarly, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, in their conservative, fundamental forms, are likewise unsupportive of the concepts of liberty or equality in either a social or a political sense, and actively discriminate on the basis of class, gender, race, and unbelievers.

Often under the influences of religion, conservative forces in national governments around the world have undermined and corrupted the ideals of modernism, transforming notions of freedom, equality, human rights, and democracy into self-serving excuses for invasion, subjugation, conversion, and exploitation.

To demoralize progressive intellectuals, the ideology of modernism has also become the means by which the values and worldview of the West have been promoted and imposed around the world either through imperial colonialism and economic globalization, or through the conditional ties attached to loans granted by the International Monetary Fund, and policies serving Western interests that are forced on developing countries by the World Bank.

With great interest, local cultures, customs, economies, and ways of life in Third World and developing countries have been swept aside in the name of modernization the benefits of which have been measured primarily in Western terms.

Modernism has been the West’s most effective and influential export and in fact has been willingly embraced by many non western cultures for commercial, economic, or political reasons, or as a demonstration of support of Western ideals. It has also been taken up by those wishing to use the ideology of modernism to challenge indigenous tastes and authority structures, but all are ultimately complicit thereby in the West’s modernist agenda that seeks to establish modernism as a universal norm to which all should aspire. The long held belief that the adoption of the principles and processes of modernism always improves the human condition, human thoughts however has become increasingly difficult to sustain in all cases.

Many now believe that the period defined by the modernist doctrine has come to an end and that we are now in a period of transition into a new period called, for lack of a better term, postmodernism. The term postmodernism is used in a confusing variety of ways. For some it means ant modern, while for others it means the revision of modernist premises. Now postmodernism explain in detail


Postmodernism is defined as the late 20th century movement in art, design and criticism that is considered as departing from modernism. It is a serious reaction against the concepts and values of modern period of western history, a period from the time of scientific revolution in 16th and 17th centuries to mid of 20th century.

In simple words, Postmodernism is a new way of understanding and explaining what knowledge is and what counts as knowledge. It gives no idea of anything like a complete alternative for the world’s view and its method of viewing the world has become critical. The modernism is based on simplicity and clarity while Postmodernism is based on complexity and conflict.

Postmodernist’s view is that there is no such thing in this world as complete fact. Reality is something built or made up by the society. Though language creates reality, but because language changes and the meaning of words differ, what something is real for one group of people may not be real for another group of people.

Postmodernism includes doubtful analysis of values, art, thinking, literature, history, design, economics etc. Postmodernists view is that the greater destruction in World War 2 was due to huge utilization of science and technology. Following are the most important viewpoints of modernism that are rejected by postmodernists.

According to modernism there exist objective natural realities, a reality whose existence and properties are logically self-determining or independent of human beings, of their minds, their societies, their social practices, or their research techniques. Postmodernists reject this idea as a kind of inexperienced realism. Such reality according to postmodernists is a conceptual idea, an object of scientific practice and language.

The postmodernism also rejects the descriptive and explanatory statements of scientists and historians that can in principle, be objectively true or false. The postmodernism rejection of this viewpoint which follows from the rejection of an objective natural reality is sometimes expressed by saying that there is no such thing as absolute truth.

It is believed in modernism that with reason and logic, and with the more specialized tools provided by science and technology, human beings are likely to change themselves and their societies for the improvement. It is reasonable to expect that future societies will be more civilized, more just, more educated, and more prosperous than they are now. Postmodernists deny this understanding or insight in science and technology as instruments of human progress. Indeed, many postmodernists hold that the misguided search of scientific and technological knowledge led to the development of technologies for killing on a massive scale in World War 2. Some go so far as to say that science and technology and even reason and logic are inherently destructive and oppressive, because they have been used by evil people, especially during the 20th century to destroy and oppress others.

According to modernism, reasoning and logic are universally valid which means that their laws are same for all and apply equally to any research or thinker and in any field of knowledge. But on the other hand, the postmodernists views reasoning and logic as merely conceptual ideas and are therefore valid only within the established intellectual civilizations in which they are used.

According to modernism, there is such a thing as human nature that includes aptitudes, creativity and dispositions etc. that are present in human beings at birth instead of they learned through social forces. But postmodernists believe that all, or nearly all, aspects of human psychology are wholly socially determined.

In view of modernism, human beings can gain knowledge about natural truth or reality and this knowledge can be acceptable eventually on the basis of proof or principles that can be known instantly or naturally or otherwise with certainty. Postmodernism also refuses this philosophical concept.

Difference between Modernism and Postmodernism:

Modernism Postmodernism
Modernism provides comprehensive explanation of history, values, national identity, and myths of cultural origin. Postmodernism contains doubts on and rejection of comprehensive explanations of history, values, cultural origins and provides counter myths of origin.
Belief in totalizing explanations of history, science and culture etc. to show all knowledge and to clarify everything. Refusal of totalizing theories, search for localizing and contingent (dependent) theories.
Belief in progress with the help of science and technology. Doubtful interpretation of progress through science and technology.
Sense of combination, centered identity, independence Sense of breakup and conflicting identity
Chain of command, direction and centralized control Disrupted direction, loss of centralized control and destruction.
Mass culture, mass consumption, mass marketing. Limited culture, consumption and niche marketing.
There are universal ethical standards in modernism. There are no universal ethical standards in Postmodernism.
Modernism believes in centralized knowledge. Postmodernism believes in distributed knowledge.


MUHAMMAD RIZWAN SHARIF           5255-FMS/MBA/F11       26(A)

NABEEL NASIR                                            5250-FMS/MBA/F11       26(A)