In the shark-infested waters around the semantic island of the postmodern. Kwame Anthony Appiah's colorful tableau of the terraqueous intellectual landscape that, in 1991, surrounded discussions of the postmodern inflects the open temporality that haunts his thought. His quandary concerns a seemingly innocuous prefix, a "semantic island" with no real emplacement. As he makes room for a temporally open sense of space—in its relevance for theories and forms of the commodified contemporary life, its cultural production, its heavy baggage—Appiah acknowledges that his definition of the post/modern far from exhausts any comprehensive reprise of the notion. Yet he avers that, in each of the two domains comprising the "structure of the modern/postmodern dichotomy," "there is an antecedent practice that laid claim to a certain exclusivity of insight, and in each of them 'postmodernism' is a name for a rejection of that claim to exclusivity, a rejection that is almost always more playful, though not necessarily less serious, than the practice it aims to replace" (P 341–42).


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pp. 255-259
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