In theorizing the postmodern, one inevitably encounters the postmodern assault on theory, such as Lyotard's and Foucault's attack on modern theory for its alleged totalizing and essentializing character. The argument is ironic, of course, since it falsely homogenizes a heterogeneous "modern tradition" and since postmodern theorists like Foucault and Baudrillard are often as totalizing as any modern thinker (Kellner 1989 and Best 1995). But where Lyotard seeks justification of theory within localized language games, arguing that no universal criteria are possible (...) to ground objective truths or universal values, Foucault steadfastly resists any efforts, local or otherwise, to validate normative concepts and theoretical perspectives. For Foucault, justification ensnares one in metaphysical illusions like "truth" and the only concern of the philosopher-critic is to dismantle old ways of thinking, to attack existing traditions and institutions, and to open up new horizons of experience for greater individual freedom. What matters, then, is results, and if actions bring greater freedom, the theoretical perspectives informing them are "justified." From this perspective, theoretical discourse is seen not so much as "correct" or true," but as "efficacious," as producing positive effects. (shrink)
A revised and expanded version of a talk given by Richard Rorty on the occasion of the award of the Meister-Eckhart Sachbuch preis in December 2001, the article provides for its author an occasion for highlighting the latest developments regarding the condition of reli- gion, religiosity, belief, faith, and atheism. Starting from the common sense and rather numerous instances of those who are „religiously unmusical,“ Richard Rorty looks briefly at the meandering course of secularization, endors- ing the idea that the (...) conflict between science and religion is a struggle for supremacy between two institutions. Dealing mostly with Gianni Vattimo’s book Credere di credere, the American philosopher builds, in his unmistak- able style, rich in highlights and shades, a case for the question of the (post)modernist believer, but also an occasion to notice the entrenching line separating the religious from the non-religious person, as two opposing ways of interpreting transcendence: as dependence, for the religious person; as hope, for the non-religious one. (shrink)
Neither philosophy in general, nor deconstruction in particular, should be thought of as a pioneering, path-breaking, tool for feminist politics. Recent philosophy, including Derrida's, helps us see practices and ideas (including patriarchal practices and ideas) as neither natural nor inevitable-but that is all it does. When philosophy has finished showing that everything is a social construct, it does not help us decide which social constructs to retain and which to replace.
This volume presents a selection of the philosophical papers which Richard Rorty has written over the past decade, and complements three previous volumes of his papers: Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, Essays on Heidegger and Others, and Truth and Progress. Topics discussed include the changing role of philosophy in Western culture over the course of recent centuries, the role of the imagination in intellectual and moral progress, the notion of ‘moral identity’, the Wittgensteinian claim that the problems of philosophy are linguistic (...) in nature, the irrelevance of cognitive science to philosophy, and the mistaken idea that philosophers should find the ‘place’ of such things as consciousness and moral value in a world of physical particles. The papers form a rich and distinctive collection which will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in philosophy and its relation to culture. (shrink)
Abstract: If, like Hegel and Dewey, one takes a historicist, anti-Platonist view of moral progress, one will be dubious about the idea that moral theory can be more than the systematization of the widely-shared moral intuitions of a certain time and place. One will follow Shelley, Dewey, and Patricia Werhane in emphasizing the role of the imagination in making moral progress possible. Taking this stance will lead one to conclude that although philosophy is indeed relevant to applied ethics, it is (...) not more relevant than many other fields of study (such as history, law, political science, anthropology, literature, and theology). (shrink)
This volume collects a number of important and revealing interviews with Richard Rorty, spanning more than two decades of his public intellectual commentary, engagement, and criticism. In colloquial language, Rorty discusses the relevance and nonrelevance of philosophy to American political and public life. The collection also provides a candid set of insights into Rorty's political beliefs and his commitment to the labor and union traditions in this country. Finally, the interviews reveal Rorty to be a deeply engaged social thinker and (...) observer. (shrink)
Problems of Rationality is divided into three parts. The first four essays defend the claim that judgments of value are objectively true. The next six expound what Davidson called "a unified theory of thought, meaning, and action". The last four discuss the problems that weakness of will and self-deception raise for Davidson's claim that ascription of intention and belief is possible only if we assume the agent's rationality. I shall discuss the three parts in sequence.
Relativism has been a central topic of philosophical discussion for centuries. This is because the very idea of philosophy was a product of Plato’s reaction to Protagoras’ claim that man is the measure of all things. The Platonic distinction between mere sophists and true philosophers incorporates the conviction that there is something beyond humanity that sets a standard that humans must respect. Plato did his best to make ‘relativist philosophy’ a contradiction in terms. We are still being told that we (...) should guard against relativism. In this article the author considers what happens if one takes Protagoras’ side. In the process he aims to differentiate pragmatism and romanticism, traditions he has in the past ‘tried too hard to assimilate’. He shows that pragmatism could offer a third way between universalism and romanticism. (shrink)
En la primera parte de este artículo se discute el punto de vista del filósofo de las ciencias Arthur Fine, sobre el realismo y el antirealismo. Se establecen algunas relaciones semánticas y pragmáticas con D. Davidson y R. Brandon, sin dejar de insistir en que el lenguaje ya no puede seguir s..
It is not clear that "cultural recognition" should be a central goal of leftist politics. The idea that cultures have value simply by virtue of being cultures seems absurd, so it might be better to talk simply about eliminating prejudice and stigmatisation.