In short, that contradictions must be accepted. — David Jones
To unify the thing that is postmodernism might sound futile at the outset, but Lawrence Cahoone’s anthology From Modernism to Postmodernism (Blackwell) sets out to do just that. The very term “postmodernism” is fraught with misconception, misuse, and implies an adherence to fragmentation over unity. Cahoone’s selections combat this by demonstrating postmodernism’s origins, its disparate applications and definitions in different fields, and the ongoing debates about what exactly it all means. From Descartes and Hume to Nietzche and Sartre, and from the post-structuralists (e.g., Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze and Guittari, etc.) to the architects (e.g., Le Corbusier and Robert Venturi), Cahoone’s anthology provides an excellent overview of an inherently fractured lens on the world.
Similarly, Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek’s anthology of philosophy of technology readings brings together a stellar collection of writers from the origins of the field up to the most current theorists, including Martin Heidegger, Herbert Marcuse, Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul, Albert Borgmann, Langdon Winner, Hubert Dreyfus, and Michael Heim, among many others. A personal favorite included here is Pinch and Bijker’s “The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts,” and our friend Andrew Feenberg revisits technology and democracy in his “Democratic Rationalization: Technology, Power, and Freedom.” Philosophy of Technology is an invaluable collection for anyone interested in how technology is influencing the pursuit of knowledge.
Blackwell publishes many similar and equally essential anthologies. If you’re looking for an excellent starting point, or a supplement to your readings in a certain area, check them out.
I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan.