1. When was this essay written? (1986) What was Lyotard’s field of formal training and teaching? (philosophy)
  2. What does Lyotard see as the defining arts for describing modernity? (architecture and design)
  3. What does he believe have been the flaws of “modern” architecture? (1612) What kinds of buildings does he seem to have in mind? What social goals has modern architecture ceased to champion? (human emancipation on the larger scale)
  4. What is the consequence/accompaniment of the post-modern human’s lack of faith in progress? (bricolage, a quotation of elements from previous styles, 1613) Can you think of examples?
  5. What does Lyotard mean by the claim that modernity is bound to the idea of diachrony? (need for newness, break with the past, 1613) Is this true in literature? (“Make it new!”)
  6. What does he see as the danger/flaw in assuming that one can forget or repress the past? (1613, will repeat it)
  7. What is the relationship between elements of post-modernism and Freudianism? (1643, again, repetition of past life in dream work) What elements does he note in contemporary painting? (1613, use of quotation and repetition)
  8. What has happened to the ideal of progress? (1613, experiencing decay)
  9. What events or trends, in Lyotard’s view, have made it less possible to believe in human emancipation? (1614)
  10. Instead, what are the processes which dominate consciousness? (motricity, movement of technological-science, “running after the process of accumulating new objects of practice and thought,” 1614)
  11. Are the changes toward “complexification” an improvement? (1614) Are human beings suited to this new world? (1614) Why does he use the metaphor of Gulliver?
  12. What else must humans face in addition to the “challenge of complexity”? (1614, “terrible ancient task of survival”)
  13. What appeal does Lyotard make for the value of avant-garde and modernist art of the past century? (1615, a self-analysis of modernity)
  14. What should be the task of present-day post-modernist artists? (1615, to continue this process of analyzing and reflecting on the past)
  15. How does Lyotard's view of post-modern art differ from/show parallels with other critics of post-modernism, such as Jameson?