The Deconstruction of Baudrillard
The "Unexpected Reversibility" of Discourse. Problems in Contemporary Philosophy S. No. 64
Jean Baudrillard is one of the outstanding representatives both of French poststructuralism and postmodernism. Because of radical criticism it was not possible for him to establish a logically coherent theoretical system; the philosophical aspects of his work are specifically merged, therefore, into a critical asystematic fragmentarism, which is the subject of this work. From the critique of the political economy of the sign, through critiques of rationalism, reality, progress, truth, history to the theory of simulation, Baudrillard's specific para-concepts (fatal strategy, symbolic exchange, seduction, hyperreality, pataphysics, etc.) are constantly fragmentarily present in the development of his thought. These "concepts" are Baudrillard's attempt at disengagement from modern philosophy and his new, unsystematic postmodern view of reality in general. In the analysis of binary metaphysical oppositions (reality-simulation, subject-object, knowledge-seduction, history-end, radical-irradical nihilism, metaphysics (God)-pataphysics), Baudrillard is radically exclusive through the arbitrary preference of one over the other "concept".
It seems that contrary to this author, however, by the "deconstruction" of his ideas, it is possible to conclude that these dualistic antagonisms are also paradoxically compatible in his "system", this compatibility is very close to the irrational mysticism of this thinker. This book is "a clear and lucid presentation of this unique brand of postmodernism to English speaking scholarship".
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Jean Baudrillard (1929) is a unique, postmodernist philosopher, who developed amid controversies, directly in the contemporary postmodernism of his time and the most important tradition of modernism and premodernism, which, as counterpoints, actually define him... this is the most exhaustive and best scientific philosophical work in Yugoslav territory and one of the most thorough in the world about the most intriguing, living thinker of postmodernism. Therefore, I heartily recommend it to all readers, who are interested in contemporary philosophy and books on philosophy." - (from the Commendatory Preface) Zdravko Munisic', Professor Emeritus, Belgrade University Belgrade "While English speaking philosophers and theologians are familiar with leading postmodern thinkers like, for instance, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Derrida, Foucault, and, Lyotard, most may not be familiar with the work of French postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard. This book will help to correct this oversight by introducing readers to the main notions of Baudrillard's thought. We all know the difficulties involved in understanding the inner coherence of new philosophical constructions. Not only scholars but also students and readers interested in the development of postmodern ideas will find Santrac's clear prose, precise description, and down to earth evaluations, a useful tool to gain access to Baudrillard's complex writings and "asystematic" approach. We understand authors that present their thought systematically better than authors that work asystematically. Yet, Santrac convincingly argues that underneath Baudrillard's asystematicity there is a hidden system of ideas. Following this conviction Santrac dares to describe systematically Baudrillard's asystematic thought. His "systematic" approach will greatly help readers to understand the basic concepts of Baudrillard postmodern proposal. Readers will enjoy Santrac brief description of philosophical postmodernism, and Baudrillard's main constructive concepts such us, "simulation," "hyperrreality," "seduction," "the revenge of the object," "the end of history," "radical nihilism," the "illusion of evil," and "pataphysics." As promised in the title of the book, Santrac engages in deconstructing Baudrillard thought. For instance, while Baudrillard claims that there is no synthesis between opposite notions, Sanctrac persuasively shows that in his writings there is a built in compatibility of binary opposites that Santrac calls the "Paradox of compatibility." I highly recommend this book because not only it is an excellent introduction to a constructive postmodern thinker, but also because Baudrillard's work and Santrac's deconstruction show that, far from being the end of philosophy, postmodernity challenges us to think new philosophical foundations for western civilization." - Fernando Canale, Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Andrews University"