Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rée, Jonathan. "Remembering Rorty." PROSPECT MAGAZINE 136 (July 2007).

In The Linguistic Turn, Rorty observed that if philosophy could give up its claims to be a modern, scientific discipline, then it would be able to move on to a “post-philosophical phase,” throwing away the cumbersome baggage of “pseudo-scientific argumentation” and reinventing itself as a “new art form.” In his most famous book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), he stepped up to the plate, proposing that philosophy should be seen not as a hotline to Truth about the World but as a loose literary tradition which might from time to time provide the public with new metaphors to live by, or new stories for articulating the past or imagining the future. He was thus able to extend a hand of friendship to the kind of “continental philosophers” who had always been anathema to his colleagues; but then he made new enemies because the admirers of Heidegger, Gadamer and Derrida were not pleased to have their heroes bundled up with loose-talking American pragmatists who had given up on the idea of a shining path to truth. Rorty’s disenchantment with hard-edged scientism led him not only to the sorts of thinkers that most professional philosophers dislike, but also to a kind of politics that they found equally unpalatable. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9692.

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