RE: MD Rorty and Darwin

Date: Sun Aug 17 2003 - 14:25:56 BST

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    OK, You are being serious. I don't think this is going to help and you are
    going to probably call me evasive, but names won't work--you want examples.
    This will be a quick explanation.

    Your assertion that the tribunal is a "ghost" might be the most accurate
    description, because--as I mentiones earlier--the tribunal is a metaphor. It
    permeates our culture in the myths we live by. It is all around us. Science is
    based on it. History. Mathematics. What this myth (western science, culture,
    philosophy) tells us is that if we use the proper methodology we can get closer
    to the Truth. That there is a Truth out there. I could point to a book for an
    explicit example in philosophy (say-Thomas Nagel's "A view from Nowhere," or
    Penelope Maddy's "Realism in Mathematics"), but this won't satisfy you. You
    want to look behind the ghost--the myth--the metaphor. To Matt and I, it is
    obvious because we see it everywhere. Just as Scott and you see the mystical
    everywhere and wonder about the blindness others seem to have. The truth
    tribunal does not exist as an independent object in the "real" world. It is a
    ghost as you say because it is a metaphor. Rorty believes we don't need to live
    by this myth anymore. That it is no longer useful. We don't need to believe
    the there is a Truth "out there" for us to discover. Most philosophers have no
    problem understanding his argument. They disagree with Rorty assertion that
    thhis myth is not useful. ANd they can point to the whole history of western
    civilization as proof that the scientific method is useful and does bring us
    closer to Truth. You want to take a different approach and take him for his
    word. They might ask "Where would Godel's genious be, if he didn't believe in
    the reality of mathematical object? If he didn't believe that there are
    mathematical truths waiting to be discovered?" But, you want Rorty to point
    literally to this tribunal. THat's why Matt throws up his hands and screams, "I
    give up." It seems so unreasonable. What is it you can't see?

    So you are right. It is a ghost. I can live with that. I think Rorty would be
    comfortable with that also


    > Andy said:
    > I honestly cannot tell sometimes if you are really serious, obstinant,
    > humorous, or just plain silly. I have not had much traditional philosophy
    > education and I obviously have less than you, but come on. You are not
    > familair with Putnam' "Gods eye view?" The basic arguments in epistemology?
    > Sorry to give you the brush off here, but I can't believe you have no idea
    > about such arguments. The tribunal is the idea that we can know with
    > certainty what is Truth. That it can be determined. Or if it can't be
    > determined, at least we can know that there is a "God's eye view" that does
    > know what Truth is. The majority of all western philosophy asserts there is
    > such a tribunal. And Rorty is asserting this is not true. As simple as that.
    > The tribunal is a metaphor Rorty employs for Philosophy in general and
    > epistemology specifically.
    > dmb says:
    > Believe it. I'm not kidding. If the majority of western philosophers assert

    > this truth tribunal then examples shouldn't be hard to find. So why is it
    > that I have yet to see one? I really wish somebody would stop this loooong
    > exercise in evasion and just answer the damn question. (No offense to you,
    > Andy. But I've been asking this same question, in different ways, for months
    > now and so far I got nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.) I understand that Rorty is
    > saying its not true. What I want is an example of somebody making the case
    > THAT IT IS TRUE. Show me Rorty's enemy. So far, this enemy is a ghost that
    > disappears the moment you look at it. It like Rorty keeps telling me what
    > the answer is, but I don't know what the question was. As a result, it all
    > seems quite meaningless.
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