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Richard Rorty: Philosophy beyond Argument and Truth?

Welsch, Wolfgang (2002) Richard Rorty: Philosophy beyond Argument and Truth? UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Richard Rorty's position within American philosophy is a paradoxical one. Once he bore all the hopes of analytic philosophy,(1) but ever since his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature of 1979,(2) in which he criticized this school of thought, he has been practically ignored by most analytic philosophers. His shift to pragmatism has also brought him little recognition.(3) Analytic philosophers have reproached him for his excessive criticism, the pragmatists for his lacking orthodoxy. On the other hand, a lot of notice is taken by the intellectual audience of Rorty's emphasis on contingency and his ideas about liberalism. Rorty links the analytic and continental philosophical traditions as few other philosophers do (and I think that such a link will also prove increasingly decisive in this country). Nevertheless, in Europe too Rorty's estimation is also predominantly negative. Rorty the speaker attracts an audience, but the reaction of the philosophers' guild ranges from being reserved to aggressive. I consider this scepticism towards Rorty to be partially founded; philosophically, however, one should not only point out dangers and put up warning signs as intellectuals are wont to do, but to sound out argumentatively precisely wherein the tenable and untenable lies; and one should also ask whether some parts of the untenable could be corrected so as to become tenable, whereas others remain definitely untenable. This is what I would like to attempt in the following. I shall limit myself to the analysis of a single thesis - nonetheless a central and particularly objectionable thesis of Rorty's.(4) It is found time and time again ever since the Mirror of Nature of 1979.(5) Rorty says that, strictly speaking, it is not possible for one philosophical position to argue against another. All that one can do is to play off one's own vocabulary against the other's and make one's own position appear attractive (cf. C. pp. 73 and 9). Sometimes Rorty even links this renunciation of interconceptional argumentation with the call to abandon the idea of truth.(6) I hope to be able to show that this provocative thesis, which touches upon the very nerve of philosophy,(7) is not sound.(8) At the same time, however, my criticism has a positive component. I believe that some of Rorty's points can be better defended than he himself has done.

Item Type:Other
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rorty, Vernunft
Subjects:Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Methodenlehre, Systemtheorie
ID Code:193
Deposited By: Sissi Kemp
Deposited On:01 May 2002
Last Modified:08 Sep 2011 18:50

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