Explaining Postmodernism

Explaining Postmodernism:
Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault

By Stephen R. C. Hicks
Professor of Philosophy

English editions:

First edition: two hardcover and eight softcover printings from 2004-2010 by Scholargy Publishing.
First edition Kindle e-book published 2010.
Expanded hardcover edition published in 2011 by Ockham’s Razor.
Kindle expanded edition published in 2011.
Audiobook edition published April 2013: MP3 and YouTube links below.


Portuguese translation by Silvana Vieira published by Callis Editora (São Paulo, Brazil, 2011). Also in e-book editions at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes.
Serbian translation of Chapter One by Alma Causevic (2012).
Persian translation by H.P. Safir, Khatereh Zohrabi, and Farzaneh Ehsani published by Qoqnoos Publishing (Tehran, Iran, 2013). [Sample pages.] [Also this second translation into Farsi.]
Swedish translation published by Timbro (Stockholm, Sweden, 2014).
Spanish translation published by Barbarroja Ediciones (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2015).
Polish translation by Piotr Kostyło and Katarzyna Nowak published by University of Kasimir the Great Press (Bydgoszcz, Poland, 2016).
Arabic translation forthcoming in 2018.

The First Edition text:

Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault [pdf].

The Chapters and Sections:

Frontmatter [pdf]
Table of Contents [pdf]
Chapter One: What Postmodernism Is [pdf] [mp3] [YouTube]
Chapter Two: The Counter-Enlightenment Attack on Reason [pdf] [mp3] [YouTube]
Chapter Three: The Twentieth-Century Collapse of Reason [pdf] [mp3] [YouTube]
Chapter Four: The Climate of Collectivism [pdf] [mp3] [YouTube]
Chapter Five: The Crisis of Socialism [pdf] [mp3] [YouTube]
Chapter Six: Postmodern Strategy [pdf] [mp3] [YouTube]
Bibliography [pdf] [html]
Index [pdf]
Acknowledgments [pdf]

The Tables and Charts:

Chart 1.1: Defining Pre-modernism and Modernism
Chart 1.2: The Enlightenment Vision [pdf]
Chart 1.3: Defining Pre-modernism, Modernism, and Postmodernism
Chart 5.1: Marxism on the Logic of Capitalism
Chart 5.2: Total Livestock in the Soviet Union
Chart 5.3: Gross Physical Output for Selected Food Items
Chart 5.4: Deaths from Democide Compared to Deaths from International War, 1900-1987
Chart 5.5: Left Terrorist Groups’ Founding Dates
Chart 5.6:
The Evolution of Socialist Strategies [gif]

Detailed Table of Contents.

The Scholarly Reviews:

Professor Curtis Hancock in The Review of Metaphysics (and can be read online here).
Professor Gary Jason in Liberty (also online here.)
Professor Marcus Verhaegh in The Independent Review.
Dr. David Gordon in The Mises Review.
Professor Max Hocutt in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
Professor Edvard Lorkovic in Philosophy in Review.
Professor Steven M. Sanders in Reason Papers.
Professor Mistaken (pseudonym) in Uncouth Opinions.

Return to the
StephenHicks.org main page.


115 thoughts on “Explaining Postmodernism

  • January 24, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Stephen,

    So maybe its time to take a leaf from the SJW cookbook and repurpose the language to reflect the binary actualite ie

    Modernism vs Unmodernism, whether that be pre or post, just the same backwardness and representing the same existential danger to all humanity.

    Never have the basic tenets of the American Revolution been simultaneously so needed and so sorely tested IMHO.

    For all his very human faults, thank goodness for President Donald J Trump the unPC and I say that imagining how much further down the Cultural Marxist rabbit hole the world would have been had he not been elected… IMHO 🙂

  • January 28, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Dear Professor Hicks,

    will there be a german edition of your book “Explaining Postmodernism”?

    Kind regards!

  • January 29, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Dear Edmund: A translator in Germany is currently seeking a publisher to underwrite the project, but I don’t know whether that initiative will be successful. I hope so. : )

  • February 11, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Stephen,
    As a mathematician and teacher, I had experienced the brunt of the political war against reason, without really understanding why. Thanks to your work, I can now explain the source of years of frustration.

    A week ago one night, I had an unusual dream. I woke up feeling restless and undirected. I decided to finally give your audio-book a go. It was so gripping, I spent the whole day on it – listening while driving and eating, and of course completely skipping work. While driving and listening, not only was I fascinated and inspired by what you wrote, but strangely the new roads I found myself driving down, provided a deja vu experience with my dream the night before. It was a singular day!

    Anyway, there’s more. I had coincidentally been studying Rudolf Steiner’s rejection of, and alternative to Kant’s epistemology (found in ‘Truth and Knowledge’ and ‘The Philosophy of Freedom/Spiritual Activity’). I wonder what you think of that. To me Steiner’s philosophy appears to be part of what you call for in your conclusion: “What is still needed is a refutation of those historical premises, and an identification and defense of the alternatives to them.”

    PS I think the title lets the book down. When I try to recommend the book to friends they all respond with “I don’t like, and am not very interested in post-modernism”. A more helpful title might be something like ‘Reducing stress and becoming more in control by understanding the craziness in the world’.
    thanks again.

  • February 11, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks a lot for that reaction, Matt. Glad my book was so useful. I don’t have an informed opinion on Steiner. Your title suggestion — could be a great subtitle. I agree the current title is generic/academic

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