News & Information

Author to discuss postmodernism at CLU

Talk will explore origins and prospects for the future

February 12, 2014

Author and philosopher Stephen Hicks will present “Postmodernism and Its Discontents” at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in Overton Hall.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 12, 2014) Postmodernism will be the subject of a free lecture at California Lutheran University in March.

Author and philosopher Stephen Hicks will present “Postmodernism and Its Discontents” at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in Overton Hall.

Among this generation’s opinion-shapers and scholars, postmodernism has been a particularly vigorous intellectual movement. It is a loose collection of intellectual themes that are opposed to both pre-Enlightenment ideas of faith and social cohesion and Enlightenment commitment to freedom, progress and rationality. Postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations that claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. It rejects concepts of objective truth, the possibility of knowledge, and any attempt to provide a large narrative or explanation of the human condition, especially religious or philosophical ones. Politically opposed to capitalism, it regards social relations as primarily conflict between power groups. During the last three decades, it has been influential in literary and cultural criticism, art, social sciences and philosophy. While it has mounted critiques of the physical sciences, it has been less influential in this area.

Hicks will discuss postmodernism’s themes and origins and its disquieting prospects for the future. He will explore why its arguments have such power in the contemporary intellectual world, why they have that power in the humanities but not in the sciences, and why many on the political left that has traditionally promoted reason, science, equality for all and optimism have adopted themes of anti-reason, anti-science, double standards and cynicism.

At Rockford University in Illinois, Hicks is a philosophy professor and the executive director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of three books including “Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault,” which has been translated into Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian and Persian. He was born in Toronto and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Guelph in Canada and a doctorate from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Overton Hall is located at 3163 Regent Ave. on the Thousand Oaks campus. Street parking is by permit only. Visitor parking is available in the lots at Mountclef Boulevard and Olsen Road.

CLU’s Artists and Speakers Committee is sponsoring the event. For more information, contact Nathan Tierney at or 805-493-3232.