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

  • August 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Very glad it’s been useful to you, Brian.
    Plenty to do to keep Enlightenment values going, mostly by each of us being experts in our own fields as well as generally educated human beings.
    As for recommendations, that would really depend on what one specifically wants to pursue — philosophy, history, sciences, and so on. There’s lots of great work being done in all fields.

  • Pingback:Postmodernism: History and Diagnosis…. | Freedom Fire

  • August 20, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Marxism on the Logic of Capitalism. Marxism prediction wasn’t true for the time when existed Communists block like real competitor on West capitalism. The oligarchy was afraid from communism. Today, when communists competition for not exist anymore, Marxism prediction become valid again. That mean- Marxism predictions are not valid, when there is competition which target Oligarchy’ s power and money. And Marxism prediction is valid again, when there is not competition and oligarchs are not afraid for their money and power.We need competition. Reach people and oligarchy have to feel pressure all of the time. Old economic Marxism is not good, but I have ideas.

  • August 28, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Is this “Serbian translation” an experiment of some kind? It seems to be just original English auto-translated to Croatian. Unreadable.

  • August 29, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for letting me know about the quality, Hrvoje.

  • September 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I’m going through your book for the third time now–fantastic!! One question: your use of “left” and “right” on the political spectrum, what criteria are you using to place something on that spectrum? Especially the use of “collective left” and “collective right”. (In my own mind: I think of collectivism on the left side and individualism on the right. But, of course, there are many versions of this spectrum.) Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work!

  • September 2, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Third time! You’re catching up to me.
    The categorization of social-political positions is first the Individualism//Collectivism difference. The questions here are: Who is the unit of analysis and value?
    Second, within the category of Collectivism, there are differences of degree between “left” and “right.” Collectivist analyze and value groups primarily, and the question then is: What group is most important?
    Hope that clarifies.

  • September 7, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Prof. Hicks, Your book (and your dialogue w/ Prof. Peterson) inspired me to download a version of Kant’s COPR and try to read it. I didn’t get through 2 pages. But I am curious, as you tell the story of the development of Continental philosophy it sounds like one dubious idea after another that somehow take hold and influence people’s thinking. What is the process by which these ideas take hold? In math and science ideas are established by formal or empirical proof. Where is the proof that the world consists of (e.g.,) Will and Representation? Through what process is this assertion made persuasive?
    I am reminded of a comment made to me (and probably misremembered or out of context, so apologies to its RM if I misunderstand) by my philosophy professor Ruth Marcus. I believe she said that “cogito ergo sum” was logically sound; by her omission of other assertions I took this to mean that most everything else we were reading is not logically sound. And I thank you for the insight that the Analytic philosophers study the tools of inquiry whereas the Continentals build models. In the sciences it is said that all models are wrong, but some models are useful. What use (and whose use) can the Continentals show for their models?

  • September 8, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Prof. HIcks:
    McAfee Site Advisor (anti-virus add-on used to safely browse the web) has marked your site as unsafe. Have you looked into this? You may be the victim of a trolling attack of some kind designed to discourage people from visiting your website. Be safe out there.

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