Felix Okechukwu Akamonye


Against the probability of many doubts, the subtext of modernity was not simply an exultation of the power of reason or the weaponry of liberal capitalism. On the contrary, it was a return to the human subject. This return saw its initiating eloquence captured by the cogito of Descartes and later re-echoed by Immanuel Kant when he presented the mind as an active originator of experience rather than just a passive recipient of perception. Consequently, our knowledge of the world of experience became a knowledge that is constructed through our own frameworks and categories. This as it were questions whether our knowledge has anything to do with the world as it is. Later Continental Philosophy would stretch this to its limits through the enthronement of the subject and the freedom of the subject. Ever since this achievement was recorded, the human subject has remained at the centre of philosophical investigations. However, the focus on the subject increasingly demanded for an end to all enquiries that the human mind could not comprehend, implying that all metaphysics were to be discarded. It was this shift that paved the way for man as the measure of reality and with regard to our interest here human sexuality. Human physiology (biology) must now not determine the expression of gender. This would depend on the freedom and preference of the human subject. Against the fluidity of subjective freedom, this essay argues that modernity has only installed an instability of a cognitive nature. By questioning everything and making nothing to be constant, this article tests modernity through an engagement with gender identity and expression. Should we suppose that to be male or female no longer have a constant meaning as defined in, biology? My argument rests with the assumption that a postmodern understanding of modernity, makes the reality depicted by modernity to be, unmodern.

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