Jean-François Lyotard (August 10, 1924, Versailles – April 24, 1998 – Paris) – French post-Freudian, one of the first posed the problem of the correlation of postmodernism and post-non-classical science. He taught philosophy at the universities of Paris, in 1972-87 – professor at the University of Saint-Denis also taught at various universities in the US and Canada. In the book “The state of postmodernity. Report on Knowledge “(La condition postmoderne, 1979), he put forward a hypothesis about changing the status of knowledge in the context of postmodern culture and post-industrial society. Scientific, philosophical, aesthetic and artistic postmodernism is associated with unbelief in meta-narration, the crisis of metaphysics and universalism.
The themes of entropy, disagreement, pluralism, and pragmatism of language games supplanted “great stories” about dialectics, enlightenment, anthropology, hermeneutics, structuralism, truth, freedom, justice, etc. The progress of modern science has transformed the purpose, functions, heroes of the classical and modernist philosophy of history into linguistic elements, the pragmatic values of an anti-hierarchical, fractional, tolerant postmodern culture with its subtle sensitivity to the heterogeneity of objects. The specificity of the state of postmodernism lies in the disappointment in the modern ideals of science related to the optimization of systems, their power, and efficiency. Correlation of scientific discoveries with questions of ethics and politics has highlighted the danger of the transformation of new knowledge into an information product – a source of profit and an instrument of power. In this connection, assessments of the truth and objectivity of scientific knowledge are supplemented by value-objective guidelines not only for efficiency, but also for justice, humaneness, and beauty.
The introduction of the esthetic criterion for evaluating post-nonclassical knowledge prompted the focus on a number of topics new for the philosophy of science: the problem field – the legitimation of knowledge in an informatized society; method – language games; the nature of social relations – modern alternatives and postmodern perspectives; pragmatism of scientific knowledge and its narrative functions. Scientific knowledge is regarded as a kind of speech – an object of study of linguistics, communication theory, cybernetics, machine translation. The sign of the postmodern situation is the absence of both the universal narrative metalanguage and the traditional legitimation of knowledge. This process is especially rapid in aesthetics. Postmodern aesthetics is distinguished by the variety of rules of language games, their experimental, mechanical, anti-didactic: the root turns into a rhizome, the thread into fabric, the art into a labyrinth. The rules of aesthetic games change under the influence of computer technology.
The postmodern stage of the development of art Lyotard defines as the era of imagination and experiments, the time of satire. In solidarity with Adorno and Joyce, he proclaims the only great art of pyrotechnics – “the useless burning of the energy of joy.” Like pyrotechnics, movies and painting produce real, that is, useless, visibility – the results of random pulsations, whose main characteristic is the intensity of pleasure. If in the archaic and oriental societies non-abstract abstract art (songs, dances, tattoo) did not prevent libidinal energy from flowing, the troubles of modern culture are generated by the absence of the libido code, inhibition of libidinal pulsations. The goal of contemporary artistic and scientific creativity is the destruction of external and internal boundaries in art and science, which testifies to libido liberation.
In the book “On pulsational mechanisms” (1980) Lyotard defines art as a universal transformer of libidinal energy, subject to a single rule – the intensity of the influence of libidinal currents. The core of his “affirmative libidinal economic aesthetics” – the applied psychoanalysis of art – is the metaphysics of desires and pulsations, which prompts to investigate the functioning of the mechanisms of attraction regarding literature, painting, music, theater, cinema and other arts.
Lyotard considers postmodernism to be part of modernism, which is hidden in the latter (“Postmodernism for children”, 1986). In the context of the crisis of humanism and traditional aesthetic values (beautiful, sublime, ingenious, ideal), the mobile postmodernist part came to the fore, renewing modernism with the pluralism of forms and techniques, as well as convergence with mass culture.