Anti-Platonism of Rorty’s thought

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From the perspective of subsequent books and texts by Richard Rorty it can be clearly seen that to have a look at his anti-Platonism and anti-essentialism, it is not enough to read either only Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, or only Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Consequences of Pragmatism and both volumes of Philosophical Papers. For me it turns out that the impression given by various readings of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature in Reading Rorty - the first serious collected volume devoted to the American pragmatist - is totally misleading, or at least extremely one-sided. The book, it is claimed there, is merely criticism of traditional epistemology carried out on the grounds of American analytic philosophy not too interesting to a wider public (and, possibly, a loose project of philosophy as "conversation", some of them add). And yet it can only be seen retrospectively that the book provides most interesting philosophical "foundations" to later, often more metaphilosophical, literary and cultural ideas. To put it in a nutshell: one can find there the idea of solidarity and self-creation, there is the fundamental question about the place of philosophy in culture rather than merely that about the place of epistemology in philosophy; as well as there is a question about the future of the philosopher in culture, about mechanisms of production and collapse of his self-image, there is also the germ of the project of the "post-Kantian culture", "philosophy without mirrors" and criticism of merely cognitive - and derived from Plato - paradigm of human activity (and from there there is only a step towards discussions of suffering, pain, novels, redescriptions, recontextualization, private/public etc. - as a matter of fact, the whole "turn" seems to me to be a change of rhetoric to the one culturally better understood).




Richard Rorty, anti-Platonism, redescription, recontextualization, American neopragmatism, anti-essentialism, Plato-Kant sequence, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, contingency, liberal ironist, new pragmatism, postmodernism, American philosophy, Consequences of Pragmatism, epistemology


In: Marek Kwiek, Rorty’s Elective Affinities. The New Pragmatism and Postmodern Thought. Wydawnictwo Naukowe IF UAM. 1996, pp. 133-158.



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego