Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature - PDF Free DownloadThe philosophical tradition is surely unique in the place its adherents have given to thinkers who reject not just reigning schools of thought but even the very enterprise commonly called philosophy. Richard Ro1ty calls these thinkers " edifying philosophers "; and, although he asks no special status for his own work, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature qualifies as a major contribution to the literature of edification. Rorty sees philosophy as having been governed, particularly since Descartes , by a pre-occupation with discovering the foundations of knowledge and bewitched by the metaphor of mind as a mirror reflecting an autonomous nature. Insofar as philosophers have believed themselves to have a special mission to analyze, purify, and preserve the mirror, they have assumed for philosophy the position of a critic establishing principles for and setting limits to the sciences and other cultural enterprises. The position of this book is that the foundations cannot be found, that the mirror does not exist, and that philosophy has no rights to establish principles and set limits for human thought and activity.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature - Wikipedia audio article
Vision and Totality
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature is a book by American philosopher Richard Rorty , in which the author attempts to dissolve modern philosophical problems instead of solving them by presenting them as pseudo-problems that only exist in the language-game of epistemological projects culminating in analytic philosophy. In a pragmatist gesture, Rorty suggests that philosophy must get past these pseudo-problems if it is to be productive. The work was considered controversial upon publication, and had its greatest success outside analytic philosophy. Rorty argues that philosophy has unduly relied on a representational theory of perception and a correspondence theory of truth , hoping our experience or language might mirror the way reality actually is. In this he continues a certain controversial Anglophone tradition, which builds upon the work of philosophers such as Quine, Sellars, and Donald Davidson. For him, "true" is simply an honorific knowers bestow on claims, asserting them as what "we" want to say about a particular matter.
Just the first essay reproduced here. Epistemology, once the pride of modern philosophy, seems in a bad way these days. Fifty years ago, during the heyday of logical empiricism, which was not only a powerful movement in philosophy but also immensely influential in social science, it seemed as though the very center of philosophy was its theory of knowledge. Science went ahead and gathered knowledge; philosophical reflection concerned the validity of claims to knowledge. The pre-eminence of epistemology explains a phenomenon like Karl Popper. On the strength of his reputation as a theorist of scientific knowledge, he could obtain a hearing for his intemperate views about famous philosophers of the tradition, which bore a rather distant relation to the truth. It is reminiscent of a parallel phenomenon in the arts, whereby the political opinions of a great performer or writer are often listened to with an attention and respect that their intrinsic worth hardly commands.
What is intriguing is that it is the same writers and often the same texts that are used to exemplify both theses. To note the overlap between Marxism and Totality and Downcast Eyes is not to suggest that Jay has just repackaged his old research. Far from it. The major part of the book is devoted to what Jay believes is the uniformly hostile account of vision given by twentieth-century French philosophers, but even here there is plenty of new material. Sight was a major preoccupation of several of the writers active in the middle of the century—notably Bataille, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre—and at least a secondary concern of the theorists who emerged in the s, and Jay is able to demonstrate that the rhetoric of the latter group is sometimes rooted in the rather more explicitly anti-visual theory of the former. The basic premiss is the assumption that vision was the dominant sense of the modern era, and Cartesian perspectivalism the dominant model of vision.