Richard Rorty Essays On Heidegger And Others

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Moral progress depends upon hearing voices that say things never heard before, including claims about injustices that may not be perceived as such.

Rorty Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, New York 1989 and "Heidegger,…

21 Over time, though, Rorty developed his take on the power of the novel into an account of how moral progress can be achieved, understood as making our moral or communal attachments more inclusive. Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Vol 323 The significance of this appeal to sentiment is a turn to Hume rather than Kant, and a shift away from rationality and argumentation as the primary engines of social change to the imagination and narratives: To get whites to be nice to blacks, males to females, Serbs to Muslims, or straights to gays […] all you have to do is to convince them that all the arguments on the other side appeal to “morally irrelevant” considerations.

191 12 The third insight, again drawing on Sellars, is to link this understanding of an epistemic community to the notion of an ethical community, such that knowledge is taken to involve “a shift in a person’s relations with others,” rather than making our representations more accurate.

189; 191n , Rorty continued to pave the way for literature supplanting philosophy in this moral and political role.The first is the fundamental commitment to change or progress that underlies his treatment of the power of the novel.The second is the deeply democratic impulse that informs this project – what Rorty called the “anti-authoritarian motif” of pragmatism: the idea that nothing “could have authority over the members of a democratic community save the free, collective, decisions of that community”. 26 Rorty’s turn to literature in the context of ethical and political issues shares much with Martha Nussbaum’s influential account of the role of literary imagining for public reasoning.In his essays of the late 1970s, Rorty further undermines the epistemological and disciplinary privileges of traditional philosophy, thus blurring the distinctions between philosophy and other genres of writing.14 A handful of essays from the mid-1980s pursues the relation between epistemic and ethical communities by affirming Sellars’ notion of morality as “we-intentions,” which defines immoral action as “the sort of thing we don’t do”, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, his stance is clear: This process of coming to see other human beings as “one of us” rather than as “them” is a matter of detailed description of what unfamiliar are like and of re-description of what we ourselves are like.This is a task not for theory but for genres such as ethnography, the journalist’s report, the comic book, the docudrama, and, especially, the novel.190 8 Three key insights emerge here that, although undeveloped, later form the basis for his turn to the novel.All three undermine the idea that philosophy has privileged access to reality.The idea that conversation is “the ultimate context with which knowledge is to be understood” leads Rorty to a preoccupation with “conversation with strangers”, understood as those who fall outside our “sense of community based on the imagined possibility of conversation”.Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature6 If, as Rorty claimed, “the community is the source of epistemic authority”, and, building on Wilfrid Sellars, “we can only come under epistemic rules when we have entered the community where the game governed by these rules is played,” then we attribute knowledge to beings “on the basis of their potential membership in this community”.You do that by manipulating their sentiments in such a way that they imagine themselves in the shoes of the despised and oppressed.178-9 are more likely to generate this kind of moral progress because they rely on “suggestions of sentiment” rather than “the commands of reason.” On this view, moral progress is a matter of “wider and wider sympathy,” not “rising above the sentimental to the rational.” In sum, the project of sentimental education entails nothing short of “re-marking human selves so as to enlarge the variety of the relationships which constitute those selves”. 25 I want to highlight two things about this project of sentimental education that distinguish Rorty’s account from other appeals to the novel that we will take up in the next section.


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