Recovering Philosophy from Rorty

This paper considers Richard Rorty's thesis that philosophy has yielded all its subject matter to the sciences so as to no longer qualify as an autonomous discipline. We do not question his controversial historical diagnosis, but instead argue that all it shows is that the practice of philosophy does not depend on any particular subject-matter. The "philosophical turn" is taken whenever a problem is posed or an explanation is needed, for in either case one needs to go beyond the given phenomena in order to account for excluded possibilities, the choice of which makes the explainer's presence integral, in a manner that is often obscured by naive prose canons. Furthermore, the emphasis on subject matter has led philosophers to misconceive the source of difficulty in raising metaphysical questions, which is largely a matter of setting up the right narrative perspective, a point often made by literary critics.
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