David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 66 (2):273 - 289 (1986)
Richard Rorty in his recent book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 1 offers a wide ranging critique of that version of modern philosophy which understands itself fundamentally as a theory of knowledge. He attacks analytic philosophy as well as phenomenology for falling into a sort of trap laid for us in the period of classical modern philosophy by most everyone from Descartes and Locke to Kant. I want to focus on just one element in Rorty's critique - namely, that there persists on virtually all philosophic fronts an unacceptable view of knowledge as mirror-like representation of the physical world. In particular, I want to argue that Edmund Husserl's phenomenology - one of Rorty's many targets - does not rely on such a representational theory of knowledge (specifically, of perception) and consequently does not fall to Rorty's criticism. Indeed, I want to suggest that Husserl's view (with certain suitable modifications) offers one of the few plausible approaches available to us in dealing with questions of human knowledge.
|Keywords||Rorty Husserl human knowledge mirror-like representation|
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