Re: MD food for thought

From: Matt the Enraged Endorphin (
Date: Tue Sep 10 2002 - 21:33:29 BST

Hi Platt:

You said:

>That's a shame. What part of your essay (or Rorty) is true if none of it
>can be said to be true?

I think I should have been more specific. Its not that "truth" and
"falsity" have no bearing on our lives. They are, in fact, properties of
sentences. The traditional sense of "truth" for which I wish to eschew is
the belief that there is anything philosophically interesting about the
notion of "truth," a particularly pragmatic train of thought. Now, looking
back at footnote 3 and what I was saying in the essay, I think I was bit
hasty to knock it. I don't think I was even using "truth" in that sense.

But, to make this clear, I am saying that, following Rorty and the
pragmatists (who range from Dewey and James to (early) Wittgenstein and
Nietzsche), the notion that there is Truth or that there is a Reality that
must have Truth correspond to it is not a profitable topic of discussion.
So, to ask your question (even if you would pull of it now), as Rorty says,
"whether the pragmatist view of truth ... is itself true is thus a question
about whether a post-Philosophical culture is a good thing to try for."
(Intoduction to Consequences of Pragmatism)

A post-Philosophical culture is one in which we no longer care about
whether we are corresponding to Reality, whether we are impinging on
someone's natural God-given rights, or whether we are following our
ahistorical, true-for-all-time duty to humankind. What is cared about is
the liberal goal of the minimization of cruelty, the proliferation of
vocabularies to find new tools to cope with reality. Specifically,
philosophy (rather than capital "P" Philosophy which we have the Platonic
tradition to thank for) wouldn't think of itself as a distinct Fach, a
distinct discipline with distinct methods and problems, but rather as
Wilfrid Sellars thought of it: "an attempt to see how things, in the
broadest possible sense of the term, hang together, in the broadest
possible sense of the term." Philosophers would, rather, be "all-purpose
intellectuals who were ready to offer a view on pretty much anything, in
the hope of making it hang together with everything else."


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