Talk 3: Postmodern Government?, by Zhang Ming (28th October 2010, 4-5pm)

Philosophy Seminar Series: 28 October 2010, 4-5pm, AS3-05-23;
Speaker: Zhang Ming , Current PhD Student, NUS;
Moderator: Dr. Christopher Brown

Zhang MingAbstract: In the presentation I am going to develop a notion of postmodern government through a reconstruction of Lyotard’s postmodernism and Nuyen’s postmodern ethics which is drawn out from Lyotard’s theory. The key step of the reconstruction is to reinterpret metanarrative itself as the consequence of totalization. Then I can redefine the postmodern condition as an ideal form of free society rather than a society that is still full of the wrongs of différend. But it will not be achieved at the beginning of the presentation. Instead, firstly I will give a brief introduction of Lyotard’s postmodern condition. To offer a basic framework for my argument, I will then offer a description of Nuyen’s postmodern ethics in my own terms of micro ethics and macro ethics. Then I will confirm the identification of two kinds of terrorism that we can draw out from Lyotard’s works, namely, the violent terrorism and the white terrorism of totality, and emphasize that the white terrorism shares the same structure with the violent terrorism. To deal with the two kinds of terrorism, two strategies will be drawn out from Lyotard’s works, what Nuyen called the political strategy and the reflective strategy. After this I will do the key step mentioned above and then go further to put forth the notion of postmodern government with a reflection on the role of government in dealing with the two kinds of terrorism.

About the Speaker: Zhang Ming completed his undergraduate and master programme of philosophy in Jilin University, China. Now he is a PhD student in first year in department of Philosophy, NUS. His interest is mainly focused on issues of distributive justice and theories of postmodernism. Email address:

More information on the Graduate Seminar Series can be found here.

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