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Episteme

Article Title

How Not to Read Rorty

Abstract

This author wants undergraduate philosophy students to beware of meta-narrative “histories of philosophy”: they are easy to misread and hard to properly digest/evaluate. It is important to be cognizant of our individual philosophical maturation, our shedding of simplistic categorizations and under-developed biases; such self-reflexive lessons can help our classmates, as well as scholars in fields that merely dabble in philosophy. The author here focuses on Rorty and his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, one of the most talked about texts in philosophy. What does his call for the end of philosophy really mean, contain, avoid? The author examines the core of Rorty’s philosophy, his relationship to analytic philosophers (including holists), and some of the major criticisms of Rorty’s views—especially those from Taylor and Bernstein. Many naïve readers adopt Rorty’s “relativism” and “irrationalism” without taking note of the gaps and holes in his argument. At the very least, adoring Rorty’s outlooks ought to require defending him against more than just abstract “relativism.”

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