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Lecture 12

HIST 121 Lecture 12: The End of Modernism

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Queen's University
HIST 121
Laura Carlson

April 5, 2017 (The End of) Modernism? From Pre-Modern to Modern…  Spread of European ideals – change from pre-Modern to Modern o find out what is going on out there: science, senses o can be better individuals with reason or have a better society  reform with reason, give people liberty, equality, freedom  progress  is there an objective reality, accessible? Is the truth accessible? – post-modernism  certainties: time, space, matter always existing but maybe nature does not work that way  Foucault: objectivity is not real and there is no objective truth  Society defined by one cultural ethos – identity in post-colonial world o Subjected as community – how to take agency of identity? Uncertainty of Religion to Science  Newtonian science: clockwork mechanism, figure out laws to understand how the universe works – classical physics o Time, space, matter, always there whether humanity is there or not – law  Maybe not law … take an atom, makes up everything – there is stuff in them o Lead to quantum mechanics: stuff gets fizzy  Do not always adhere to Newtonian principles  End of certainties: can guess that things happen, possible to know? o The beginning of probabilities Principle of Uncertainty - Heisenberg  Impossible to know speed and location at the same time  Observation: change speed of location of electron – impact of the observer has an effect o More intend to know, less precise information o Subjectivity to figure out attributes by experimentation  Einstein and Uncertainty: did not like how observers change things o Universal time and space – all is relative on observer  Time is relative – sit in lecture vs. on a Friday night (observer)  Always going to be subject element in observation o It may affect activity of science o Something’s we will never know – minds do not always work or are subjective  As an observer, affecting the end of the process Schrödinger’s Cat (1935)  Radioactive element may not decay – only know if the cat is dead when the box is opened o Cannot observe – indeterminate (alive or dead)  Dead or alive at the same time  Schrödinger disagreed with the Copenhagen interpretation of Newtonian science by saying things can simultaneously exist o A cat cannot be alive and dead at the same time  Uncertainty – changing event unto itself How can we know reality?  Heisenberg: science is based on uncertainty April 5, 2017 o Structuralism and language: structural system of communication shared between all humans o Sounds and what that sound corresponds to: signifier and signifying  Forms understanding and order of the world  Cannot be any link with signifier and signi
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