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Lyotard, Jean-François

Jean-François Lyotard (1924–1998) has sometimes been thought of as the postmodern philosopher par excellence. Whether or not postmodernism’s influence is now in decline, whether postmodernism was ever anything other than relativism and reductivism in the latest fashionable guise, whether the very term has become nothing more than another name to line up behind in order to denounce the world, the questions and issues that Lyotard raises should continue to challenge anyone who wants to think seriously about education. Yet the reception of Lyotard’s works among educators and philosophers has been decidedly mixed, and often, his ideas have circulated in bowdlerized form, in a manner that his sometimes provocative vocabulary may have invited but that is anathema to his real concerns. So where should one begin?

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