Literature, Ethics, and Richard Rorty’s Pragmatist Theory of Interpretation

Philosophia 36 (1):29-41 (2008)

Authors
Kalle Puolakka
University of Helsinki
Abstract
This article considers the validity and strength of Richard Rorty’s pragmatist theory of interpretation in the light of two ethical issues related to literature and interpretation. Rorty’s theory is rejected on two grounds. First, it is argued that his unrestrained account of interpretation is incompatible with the distinctive moral concerns that have been seen to restrict the scope and nature of valid approaches to artworks. The second part of the paper claims that there is no indispensable relationship between supporting Rorty’s pragmatist theory of interpretation and the important place that is attached to literature in the liberal society outlined by him. A reading of Donald Davidson’s texts on literary language and interpretation implies that an intentionalist theory of interpretation can accommodate those features that Rorty values in literature as well.
Keywords Pragmatist theory of interpretation   Intentionalist theory of interpretation  Ethical issues
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-007-9091-7
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References found in this work BETA

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - The Personalist Forum 5 (2):149-152.
Consequences of Pragmatism.Richard Rorty - 1982 - University of Minnesota Press.
Truth, Language and History.Donald Davidson - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays.Noël Carroll - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.

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