Get Email Updates • Email this Topic • Print this Page
"Rorty's "pragmatism" is simply an abandonment of the very attempt to learn more about the nature and adequacy conditions of inquiry. Instead of aiding us in our aspiration to govern ourselves through rational thought, Rorty weakens our intellectual resilience and leaves us even more vulnerable to rhetorical seduction. Rorty's pragmatism is dangerous, performing an end-run on reason, and therefore on philosophy."
Richard Rorty (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Ordinary non-academic "philosophes" don't understand that Pragmatism is all over analytic philosophy today: in fact, someone is invariably a pragmatist somewhere in his philosophy at some point.
...and I got Nietzschean quotes tattooed on my body when I was 19 years old, so this doesn't count for anything really. Anybody can read Nietzsche, and so many non-academics DO read Nietzsche. And FYI, N- is more widely read in LITERATURE departments, NOT PHILOSOPHY departments throughout the States. Most academic philosophers condmen Nietzsche, and not for his beliefs, but for his poor Freudian psychological generalizations and his failure to be disciplined in his approach to philosophical problems.
N- is a creative and powerful writer, and he does say some very truthful things. But non-academic philosophers too often mistake Nietzsche's well-articulated prose for critical thinking--which it is not.
Nietzsche's philosophy is full of logical fallacies almost on every page.
Rorty is trying to make us conscious that anything can be described in a way that makes it sound good or bad. He attempts to make us conscious of our rhetoric as rhetoric.
I disagree with that quote. I think Rorty is trying to holistically dissolve various inane pseudo-problems, and I think he succeeds. He's a Hegel who knows how to write in pleasant English, and who negates himself Nietzsche-style.
? But Susan Haack is accusing Rorty of doing exactly this!
The job of all practicing analytic philosophers is to make us conscious of the difference between our muddle-headed rhetoric and our clear well-articulated thoughts.
But how does one succeed in "dissolving" a pseudo-problem by presenting more pseudo-problems with badly articulated language?
N was especially a critical thinker. The beginning of BG&E is potent critical thinking. Are you sure you read the guy?
The person is then just talking dogmatically by using metaphors to articulate his own thoughts, and so the proposed "analysis" collapses in on itself and so fails to articulate anything at all. That's the entire problem of Rorty's and Nietzsches and all post-modern thinking like Saussure and Lacan.
That's just it. I see Rorty as a destroyer of confusions.
I disagree. Nietzsche criticized people. But his criticisms were generalized logical fallacies toward the actual philosophical problems encountered in philosophy. This is precisely why he is not generally respected in analytic philosophy, but only among those in literature.
No, Rorty is a creator of more confusion. Why do most of us pragmatists who stayed in analytic philosophy abandon Rorty? It's because he fails to articulate his thoughts clearly, and chooses to speak in ambiguous metaphorical language instead. This isn't philosophy, this is literature. And Rorty even abandoned analytic philosophy and became a literary theorist.
The issue is the nature of language itself. Rorty is coming from a Heidegger and Wittgenstein angle on the nature of language. In my mind, the issue of trope is crucial. To deny or dodge this issue is to lose the battle. Lacan has a few nice concepts, by the way, but he may indeed by generally full of sh*t. It's not exactly easy to make sense of him. Derrida attacked Saussure, I believe, but I'm not an expert of Derrida. I have, however, put some time in on the nature of metaphor. And for me, metaphor is the rock that most philosophers crash on. They cannot or will not process it.
Philosophers only abandon the use of metaphor to express thoughts.
Those who insist on speaking in metaphor, only, crash on their own attempt to say anything intelligible at all. So their philosophy eventually turns to truth-valueless nonsense.
In my opinion, language is a reef of dead metaphor. And significant new thoughts tend appear as metaphors. Or at least as a twist (trope) on an old word.
From Rorty's angle, we are always already using old metaphors, that no longer function as metaphors. This is his linguistic angle, or part of it.
I agree with Wittgenstein. In brief, human discourse can never have the perfection of formal logic.It will always be sloppy and contingent. Now this is my interpretation, but I stand beside it. Of course we do our best to act against this natural sloppiness, but there are limits to our success. Eliot also references exactly this dilemma in the Four Quartets. "o purify the language of the tribe" ----as much as possible.
If you insist on defending Rorty, can you please give me examples?
So the problem is not in metaphorical meanings or using metaphorical meanings to express a thought per se; the problem is when someone uses metaphor to replace logical thinking. Which is just inane. And you will fail to make anything intelligible to your interlocutor as a rational thinker when you do this.
It would be too much work. I can only recommend his Essays on Heidegger and Others as perhaps my favorite. Or Objectivity, Truth, and Relativism.
I agree. The two must be used together. And sometimes Nietzsche, for instance, is absurd. In my mind, it's all about assimilation. Take the good and the leave the bad.
I suspected you would say that. Your understanding of the philosophical landscape is pretty impoverished. Offering examples is crucial if you intend on making any kind of substantive case for your opinions. Without examples, our discursive exchange just becomes a *word-salad* of hot air.
What you don't understand, and your understanding of basic socialization is nakedly impoverished, is that I don't owe you my time. You are no one to me, just another loudmouth on the internet. Get it? I don't care, ultimately, what you think. You bore me. Before I tune you out (thanks Ignore function!), as one more anti-social wretch with a little boy-scout-axe to grind, here's a parting gift.
Reality and Existence
This has got to do with the difference between between reality and existence. I am working on the idea that what is real, and what exists, are not the same. I already know this is controversial and unconventional but I will try and provide a bit more detail at this point to see if it has any future.
What I propose exists, consists mainly of objects. Objects are the kinds of things we see, from the subatomic, to the galactic, in size. (I won't list them:bigsmile:)
Now I would like to say that this category of items called 'objects' comprises 'everything that exists', or every material thing. (I suppose this leaves out a very important particular, which is energy. I will put that aside for now.)
In this definition, all existing things are compounded, or made of parts (leaving aside the constituents of atoms e.g. quarks, leptons etc). Objects are also temporal - they begin and end in time.
Now I want to consider the idea of number. I regard numbers as being a type of universal. In other words, here I am proposing some kind of mathematical realism. I believe numbers are real, although they are not real in the same way as objects are. Some refer to them as abstract objects, but I don't think there is any such thing, for reasons that will become clear. Universals also include the various attributes of an object such as roundness, red-ness and so on, as per the traditional description.
Now I don't regard numbers as existing things. They are real, but they don't exist. Instead, mathematical relations, universals, and the like, are inherent, or implicit, in the way things exist. The universe exhibits tendencies to behave a certain way - in other words, it is lawful. Lawfulness consists of predictable regularities, the tendency for certain things to happen. The Pythagorean insight that 'all is number' is profoundly true, because number describes the ratio of all things to each other.
What I am considering is that the relationship between existing things - the lawful manner in which things exists - is of a different order of reality to the things themselves. In this depiction, the material objects are given form by the lawful operations of the Universe which are of course implicit everywhere.
But putting it like this, you can see that 'the lawfulness of the universe' cannot be objectified. It is not anything in particular - it is simply the way that everything is related or comes to exist. In other words, in itself it does not exist. It is not any particular thing. Nevertheless, without it, nothing would exist. Furthermore, it underlies not only all material particulars, but also the way that the mind itself works. So again, it cannot be objectified or considered.
Now in some respects, this could be understood as a theistic idea, but really it is much more like Neo-platonism. In this understanding, 'the universal mind' can be understood as the origin of this order, but this too is not something that exists. There really is no universal mind. But wherever mind exists, there is a certain way that it operates. It will always develop along certain lines and operate in certain ways, in the same way that planets go around in elliptical orbits, and so on. In other words, it is lawful. So in this way there is a universal mind - not because this or that mind is universal, but because wherever mind appears, it always operates this way. The tendecy is real, but it does not exist until it is 'instantiated' in the specific instance of this or that mind.
It seems to me that a lot of the philosophical difficulties we have in relation to the idea of 'the lawfulness of the universe' come from trying to imagine 'where' these laws exist. We can't imagine what such a 'place' would be like, of course. A lot of the problem with Platonism is wondering 'where' the forms exist. Now in this understanding, that problem is solved by the answer that 'they don't exist anywhere. They are simply the way in which things tend to exist. So they are kind of implicit within the fabric of the cosmos, but can never (of course) be apprehended'.
Now I realise this is very sketchy. It is an idea I have been working on since I joined the Forum. And it is not actually a metaphysical idea because it does not propose the idea of 'substance'. Material things all exist, but they only exist by virtue of being expressions of the law. So I will throw it out there and watch what comes back.
I am interested in any criticism of this proposal, from an essay I rather like on another forum: Note by 'criticism' I don't mean insult, derogation or contumely. I think it makes a valid point about the distinction between 'real' and 'exist'. Can anyone show why it doesn't?
The wind exists. Wind is a real thing. Wind is caused and in turn is a cause. It isn't a particular object, though, even though it can be sensed. It's air in motion. We don't know exactly what air is and we don't know in an ultimate way what motion is. Our physicists are still working on the details. We know that wind is air in motion, though.
We know what we experience. We know because we reflect on our experience. We remember what's happened. It would appear our memory is fundamentally ordered by our conventions of thought.
Huh? Why should I care what your priorities are? And what does this have to with the discussion?
I simply want to know in which ways you think Rorty has "destroyed all philosophical confusion" contrary to the opinions of most practicing philosophers in mainstream academia who disagree with you. I also want to know in which ways you think Rorty has, as you say, "brilliantly assimilated Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Nietzsche, Hegel, Dewey, and Harold Bloom."
If you can't give me examples that answer either of these questions, then I have the intellectual right to seriously doubt what you say is true.
Since you continue to come up short in these matters, some of us are no longer taking seriously what you say in these threads. It's your own fault for acquiring the reputation for changing the subject everytime someone asks you a pointed question you can't answer. This isn't an isolated incident; this is a general recurring problem you have in this forum, R.
In Plato's Phaedo, Socrates talks of "misologists" who are haters of reason and argument, and he advises no one to discuss anything with them. He tells us that they became that way because, like misanthropes (haters of people) they encountered some bad arguments, and they concluded that are argument is bad in the way that misanthropes encounter bad people, and conclude that all people are bad. Both groups are, of course, the victims of bad argument themselves. The fallacy of hasty generalization. Rorty and his epigone are, misologists.