Richard Rorty likes Vaseline

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Fido
 
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2010 06:27 pm
@Insty,
Insty;122471 wrote:
Oh, I see. Thanks for clearing that up.

On what basis would a mere philosopher side with liberalism or conservatism???.People should have the forms they wish, and if you are free, then make a stand with the ones you like...Not one of us has found the truth, so when it comes to telling what is more true or less true in social or moral forms, we are all liars...Think of how Socrates or Heidegger dirtied up their philosophy with politics...There are times we should all speak in the general, and when we wish to weigh in on morals and politics, we should do it as individuals having no louder voice than the average man...If you want to do good, demand that every person have authority in their own affairs...There is no philosopher who can better say for a man what he needs than he himself can say...
 
Insty
 
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2010 08:04 pm
@Fido,
Fido;122583 wrote:
On what basis would a mere philosopher side with liberalism or conservatism???.People should have the forms they wish, and if you are free, then make a stand with the ones you like...Not one of us has found the truth, so when it comes to telling what is more true or less true in social or moral forms, we are all liars...Think of how Socrates or Heidegger dirtied up their philosophy with politics...There are times we should all speak in the general, and when we wish to weigh in on morals and politics, we should do it as individuals having no louder voice than the average man...If you want to do good, demand that every person have authority in their own affairs...There is no philosopher who can better say for a man what he needs than he himself can say...


Yes, I see. Rorty must have been an idiot, not a philosopher.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 05:56 pm
@Insty,
Rorty's closure (satisfaction) was a making peace with openness?

YouTube - Rorty on the End of Inquiry
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:29 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125921 wrote:
Rorty's closure (satisfaction) was a making peace with openness?


Could you say more about openness?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:45 pm
@Reconstructo,
So many philosophers tend to hunt for the final truth. Rorty wants to consciously embrace the endlessness of inquiry. He wants to deny the pseudo-theological claim to ahistorical truth. He wants to embrace finitude.

Rorty loved Heidegger (not without objections). Heidegger wrote about Being Toward Death. As humans, we know we must die some day. Nothingness lurks outside our windows. For Heidegger (who I am still learning about), man's freedom and authenticity come from acknowledging/accepting this death, which is also the cause of our finitude.
But philosophers like Heidegger and Rorty are the exception. For many philosophy is especially concerned with truth that stays truth, eternity, the transcendent.

Rorty wants to stay as loose as possible. It actually reminds me of the Tao. Neopragmatism aims at the flexibility of water. It's only dogma is to have no other dogma. Unprincipled on principle. The only think static about pragmatism is its dynamic conception of "truth," that ever-seductive abstract noun.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:57 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125960 wrote:
So many philosophers tend to hunt for the final truth. Rorty wants to consciously embrace the endlessness of inquiry. He wants to deny the pseudo-theological claim to ahistorical truth. He wants to embrace finitude.

Rorty loved Heidegger (not without objections). Heidegger wrote about Being Toward Death. As humans, we know we must die some day. Nothingness lurks outside our windows. For Heidegger (who I am still learning about), man's freedom and authenticity come from acknowledging/accepting this death, which is also the cause of our finitude.
But philosophers like Heidegger and Rorty are the exception. For many philosophy is especially concerned with truth that stays truth, eternity, the transcendent.

Rorty wants to stay as loose as possible. It actually reminds me of the Tao. Neopragmatism aims at the flexibility of water. It's only dogma is to have no other dogma. Unprincipled on principle. The only think static about pragmatism is its dynamic conception of "truth," that ever-seductive abstract noun.
I started reading Rorty's Mirror essay. I was a little surprised at the notion that philosophers might seek to be culturally valuable by revealing a foundation for enquiry... to answer culture's call for a desk at which the buck stops... to be religion for a culture that suffers from having lost religious anchoring.

I imagine that a fair portion of humans have the personal experience of losing anchoring. It could be as simple as realizing abruptly that previous assumptions have no basis. Maybe they're reliving the history of philosophy.. arriving at pragmatism through an earnest effort to maintain sanity.

It could go this way: a five year old inexplicably is certain that everything "physical" is only a veil hiding another world. This evolving psyche starts with the understanding that everything is alive: simultaneously magical, mechanical, mundane and mysterious. And then the intellect appears like a laser beam: Rorty's ontological gap appears. The universe becomes split between me... and not me.... between real and not real... between alive and dead. The intellect is a tool which the young psyche does not imagine can be defeated. We might speculate that it developed as a mechanism for coping with grief. Nevertheless, what we observe is that is pops into existence like a limb that was genetically programmed to grow at a particular time. As it turns out, it doesn't pop out at the same point in each person's life. For some people it's delayed... leaving them with memories of the previous state.

The intellect rejects these memories, or rather sits in judgment of them. As a result of the enlightenment, a quantity of experience has been judged to be false. "Surely it was always false," says the intellect, "but the means to see this didn't exist." The psyche, seeing the intellect as an advancement, imagines it must be a better judge of what's real. What it doesn't yet grasp is that it's the only judge of what's real. There wasn't any distinction between real and unreal prior to its advent. It is the distinction maker.

So the judgment of "false" is applied to memories from a state in which there was no such thing as "false." In this, the psyche is trying to organize all experience by criteria that only belong to part of its experience. This psyche is headed for a crises: a reality crisis. If it continues to reject its own memories, it will sooner or later have to explain the basis for ever believing anything.

Maybe word-play can distract sufficiently to suspend the impending crash... but not indefinitely.

When the crap hits the fan, the only way out is to allow all memories to stand for no more or less than their content. Interpretations of experience are in flux. The ground of the psyche is simple acceptance of experience.

The five year old does eventually realize what's behind the veil: ideas. This is obvious, but the five-year-old lacked the analyzing skills of the intellect to distinguish identity from temporal manifestation. Once this is accomplished, synthesis can proceed in a way the intellect will always see as circular. Speaking of which, I'm also interested in Heidegger. I'm reading an essay he wrote about art and beauty. He didn't trouble himself much with explaining his jargon, so I'm having to resort to guides.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:50 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;126004 wrote:
The psyche, seeing the intellect as an advancement, imagines it must be a better judge of what's real. What it doesn't yet grasp is that it's the only judge of what's real. There wasn't any distinction between real and unreal prior to its advent. It is the distinction maker.

I agree. And what becomes of "reality" when the mind sees itself as the distinction maker? One could describe man as language become conscious of itself. That's an overstatement but it gets the point across.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 03:29 am
@Reconstructo,
Rorty is as temporal as he can manage, and he manages quite well. Now that I salute him farewell, I appreciate his genius (or anti-genius) all the more.

I knew the man was a sophist. But anti-essentialism seemed like an ideal essence... for an ironist. An ironist fears commitment, and describes this fear as a commitment to non-commitment.

Rorty wants to reject the sacred and the eternal in philosophy on principle. Well, from my perspective, his "transcendental numen" is paradoxically attired. He's a sort of Oscar Wilde, dissolving dichotomies in his paradoxical holism. But maybe his holism isn't paradoxical at all, but only extreme enough to drag in the temporal completely and obliterate the distinction twixt literature, philosophy, science, and politics. His synthesis, as all synthesis must, dissolves dissolves dissolves. Enter Rorty: the anti-distinction, but ever so precise....

He rejects mathema for logos, the eternal for history, beauty for efficiency.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 28 Feb, 2010 06:05 am
@Reconstructo,
Don't you think that is about impossible, to reject the sacred and eternal on principal??? All of our forms, as principals are, are based upon something you have referenced elsewhere, the numena... It is not philosophy that knowledge is based upon but feeling, primitive and childlike, and it is out of that feeling, what might be called a spiritual conception of reality that we have all ideals and all principals...

We see an ordered universe, and the order suggests an ordering hand, so it is natural to think of forms as some great blueprint out of which a flawed reality was made... And even today people try to build the perfect society out of perfect ideals only to meet with real failure... If we think about it, and reject the supernatural in the act of conception, and see that the concept is formed by the conceived, or rather, to the conceived; then we can think rationally about the process of thought and judgement...

But for us as for others, what we come out of infancy with is a sense of this knowledge and reality already formed for us spiritually in anticipation of our needs, that all our principals and ideals are eternal, and that our awareness is also the awareness of God... If we reject the eternal for the practical we must also reject principals and ideals as a matter of course, because these are values brought with us out of our irrationality...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 01:44 am
@Fido,
Fido;133523 wrote:
Don't you think that is about impossible, to reject the sacred and eternal on principal??? All of our forms, as principals are, are based upon something you have referenced elsewhere, the numena...

Yes! I completely agree. It's a paradox. it's Oscar Wilde. it's the Cheshire Cat. Absolutely. I covered this theme in Anti-Wizards. The numen is transcendental, or at least the transcendental is numinous. But Rorty's paradox is a 180 degree inversion of sacred truth, which puts it mighty close. Look at me, Fido. I still think Rorty is a genius. But I just crossed over. Pragmatism is uncut "truth," which is the perfect opposite of Truth. It's like the Inferno, when Dante sees Lucifer (the light-bringer).

Pragmatism is dynamic truth, which is paradoxical, and therefore ironic. Rorty is slick, brother. He's dissolves dichotomies in his holistic vat of acid. Appearence and reality? What bunk! Mind and matter? What bunk! Because pragmatism is truth as whatever works, focus on the empirical. Pragmatism is self-conscious ironic sophistry. & it's better than anything but it's opposite. Truth is noon. "truth" is midnight.

---------- Post added 03-01-2010 at 02:45 AM ----------

Fido;133523 wrote:

We see an ordered universe, and the order suggests an ordering hand, so it is natural to think of forms as some great blueprint out of which a flawed reality was made...


The problem is that transcendental philosophy opens the possibility that man is the imposer of all these forms. Yes, it's still a mystery as to where man comes from, but then perhaps even causality is transcendental... which means that he is programmed, if you will, to ask an unanswerable question....

---------- Post added 03-01-2010 at 02:50 AM ----------

Fido;133523 wrote:

But for us as for others, what we come out of infancy with is a sense of this knowledge and reality already formed for us spiritually in anticipation of our needs, that all our principals and ideals are eternal, and that our awareness is also the awareness of God... If we reject the eternal for the practical we must also reject principals and ideals as a matter of course, because these are values brought with us out of our irrationality...


Yes! Believe me, Fido, I was struck with the "spiritual" from way back, and disgusted with an apparently despiritualized world. & indeed, Spengler is right. A culture dies n becomes civilization, in which value is on the monetary, the sensual, the technological. Sacred art is replaced with gladiators & porn. Velcome to the 21st century.... But this WWW is something potent. Who know? Still, it may be that the individual has just got to save himself, be kind to others, make peace w/ god. (Have you read the book of Job?)
Quote:

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 38:8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 38:9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 38:10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 38:11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 38:12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 38:13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 38:14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 38:15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 38:16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 38:17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 38:18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. 38:19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, 38:20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? 38:21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 38:23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? 38:24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? 38:25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 38:26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 38:27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? 38:28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? 38:30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. 38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 38:32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 38:33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? 38:34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 38:35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? 38:36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? 38:37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, 38:38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 38:39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, 38:40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 38:41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

The rest is here, as it continues just a bit more. Deep sh*t, ain't it?
The Book of Job
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:07 pm
@Reconstructo,
My take on Rorty:

Philosophy provides us with new concepts to think around, through, above, below. Most western philosophy has been locked in the Plato/Aristotelian box that all "good" thought is rooted in evidence and mechanistic descriptions of phenomena. Thought, in fact, can and does go further. If you stick to one conceptual paradigm all your ideas will remain locked inside that paradigm and all conclusions become presupposed by their methods for revelation. Philosophy's function is not to prove anything, or make undeniably objective claims. Instead, philosophy is an historical opening-into the possibilities of human thought and consciousness.


Don't lock your mind in a conceptual box, that's all philosophy and science are about. Challenge yourself with new ideas, open your mind; don't worry about if those ideas are "true" or not, do not obsess with being "right." In this way, you will walk a true path and your ideas will come from a true place. The abstract cannot capture truth, or the elusive Sophia. We must walk truth, we must become truth, not just 'say' it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:09 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey;152943 wrote:
My take on Rorty:

Philosophy provides us with new concepts to think around, through, above, below. Most western philosophy has been locked in the Plato/Aristotelian box that all "good" thought is rooted in evidence and mechanistic descriptions of phenomena. Thought, in fact, can and does go further. If you stick to one conceptual paradigm all your ideas will remain locked inside that paradigm and all conclusions become presupposed by their methods for revelation. Philosophy's function is not to prove anything, or make undeniably objective claims. Instead, philosophy is an historical opening-into the possibilities of human thought and consciousness.


Don't lock your mind in a conceptual box, that's all philosophy and science are about. Challenge yourself with new ideas, open your mind; don't worry about if those ideas are "true" or not, do not obsess with being "right." In this way, you will walk a true path and your ideas will come from a true place.


I think that's a good take. Of course he's a complex guy, but that's definitely his spirit. I might phrase it like this. He warns us against getting trapped in obsolete metaphors...and stresses the creative/poetic/literary aspect of philosophy. I like when he describes the creative type as "world-disclosing." It does seem like a new key-word (metaphor/paradigm) opens a whole new field for exploration. Smile
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:25 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey;152943 wrote:
My take on Rorty:

Philosophy provides us with new concepts to think around, through, above, below. Most western philosophy has been locked in the Plato/Aristotelian box that all "good" thought is rooted in evidence and mechanistic descriptions of phenomena. Thought, in fact, can and does go further. If you stick to one conceptual paradigm all your ideas will remain locked inside that paradigm and all conclusions become presupposed by their methods for revelation. Philosophy's function is not to prove anything, or make undeniably objective claims. Instead, philosophy is an historical opening-into the possibilities of human thought and consciousness.


Don't lock your mind in a conceptual box, that's all philosophy and science are about. Challenge yourself with new ideas, open your mind; don't worry about if those ideas are "true" or not, do not obsess with being "right." In this way, you will walk a true path and your ideas will come from a true place. The abstract cannot capture truth, or the elusive Sophia. We must walk truth, we must become truth, not just 'say' it.

No one is likely to walk a true path having no worry about truth... Your ideas will come from a true place is a statement of faith, and not of fact... Do ideas come???Can we lock the mind, as a concept in a conceptual box??? Maybe we could hold it for ransom... If an abstraction does not capture truth, does not show it clearly, then it is no good idea, not even an idea, because truth is the object of ideas, and no hot potatoe is dropped as quickly as an idea found to hold no truth....
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:40 pm
@Fido,
Fido;152950 wrote:
If an abstraction does not capture truth, does not show it clearly, then it is no good idea, not even an idea, because truth is the object of ideas, and no hot potatoe is dropped as quickly as an idea found to hold no truth....


Truth is not at all the object of ideas. Like I said this is the Aristotelian teleological outlook. It works in some contexts--it is not, however, the be-all end-all. It's a conceptual paradigm that all thought is geared to follow evidence to the altar of truth. Thought can only facilitate the active creation of truth, it cannot capture truth because there is no atemporal "truth" sitting there waiting to be captured.

Evidence alone doesn't lead to truth. Understanding is letting go, and in this way you grab on.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 05:44 pm
@Fido,
Fido;152950 wrote:
No one is likely to walk a true path having no worry about truth... Your ideas will come from a true place is a statement of faith, and not of fact... Do ideas come???Can we lock the mind, as a concept in a conceptual box??? Maybe we could hold it for ransom... If an abstraction does not capture truth, does not show it clearly, then it is no good idea, not even an idea, because truth is the object of ideas, and no hot potatoe is dropped as quickly as an idea found to hold no truth....


Yes, but man extends reality by inventing new concepts. We now know, or think we know, what the sun is made of. Think about the history of science and mathematics. I think we have to take account of how much of our reality is conceptual. I think the representational theory of truth is in some ways deceptive, even if it's useful in normal human situations. "Did you steal my money?" That's a truth-as-representation. But invented/discovered truth is different. And this is what Rorty looks at. Truth as an army of metaphors. Actually, Fido, you would like his politics..I think. :Glasses:

---------- Post added 04-16-2010 at 06:50 PM ----------

rhinogrey;152955 wrote:
Truth is not at all the object of ideas. Like I said this is the Aristotelian teleological outlook. It works in some contexts--it is not, however, the be-all end-all. It's a conceptual paradigm that all thought is geared to follow evidence to the altar of truth. Thought can only facilitate the active creation of truth, it cannot capture truth because there is no atemporal "truth" sitting there waiting to be captured.

Evidence alone doesn't lead to truth. Understanding is letting go, and in this way you grab on.


I agree. It seems that evidence and interpretation are inseparable. I also agree that atemporal truth isn't out there. This is why I love Kojeve on Hegel. Man is time is the concept. And Rorty's holism dissolves all these questionable distinctions, the "mirror of nature." As if we haven't been living in abstractions for centuries now. I see Rorty as Hegel with a boatload of irony, as an open-ended Hegel. The truth remains dialectical, but Rorty denies what Hegel would call the end of history? (And yet Rorty jokes that Hegel might be waiting at the end of any road we choose, and this is why I started researching Hegel, because I thought so highly of Rorty that a comment like this was a good lead.)
 
TomBlackstone1
 
Reply Tue 25 Dec, 2012 07:25 pm
I have read Rorty's "Philosophy and The Mirror of Nature". I thought it was an amazing book even though I vehemently disagreed with its conclusion that objective knowledge is impossible. As far as I can tell, the basic argument of the book goes something like this:

1. Most philosophers agree that normative statements are non-cognitive.
2. Epistemological statements tell us what we SHOULD consider to be true.
3. Statements that tell us what we SHOULD do are normative.
4. Therefore, Epistemological statements are normative.
5. Therefore, most philosophers (in order to be consistent) should consider epistemological statements to be non-cognitive.

Rorty considered premise 2 of his argument to be the most controversial and spent the entire book trying to prove it. However, I personally disagree with him for the opposite reason in that I don't think normative statements are non-cognitive.

In any event, I wonder if anyone else here has a similar interpretation of the book or if they think I am off base here.
 
 

 
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