The Evolution of Postmodern Thought—Helen Pluckrose on the origins of Critical Social Justice

Updated: Feb 25

“Who doesn't want social justice?” asks Helen Pluckrose in this engaging talk. “Nobody says, 'Do you know what society really needs? Less justice." Whatever our politics, ethics, philosophies or lack thereof, we generally all want to make the world a better place.”

And yet the few ideas in our current cultural conversation are as widely defined and roundly controversial social justice. In this tour-de-force thirty-five minute lecture, Pluckrose develops the definition of “Social Justice” as used in the academic literature and explains its connections to the current movements that most frequently call for it.

Pluckrose has reservations (to say the least) about what she terms “Critical Social Justice”. Whether you agree with her perspective or not, this talk covers some remarkable ground and will help any listener understand the rise of identity politics and the way in which concepts of identity, privilege, and power structures made the move from academia to activism to the popular imagination.

Watch "The Evolution of Postmodern Thought" or listen to an audio version via Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can also pre-order Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody, a new book co-authored by Pluckrose and James Lindsay.

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