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What's Wrong With Pragmatism...
am 27. Dezember 1999
It's certainly worth reading, but as a computer-oriented person, I still come back to forms, existence, and negation. Rorty still seems to think we can climb out of the Age of Enlightenment by abandoning the means by which we got there and then proceed to create this "classless" society, which derives from his notion of universal solidarity.
The arguments for contingency and irony seem to be a set up for solidarity in a makeshift humanitarian algebra. However, to me this universal idea of solidarity just doesn't jibe with his contingency and irony arguments. It's just an abstract and universal/utopian populism.
Yes, we are all pretty much stuck in our own point-of-view, but the contingencies themselves are evolving, such that universal solidarity is only as strong as the agreement/contingency that creates it; and that is tenuous at best. For example, one person's cruelty is another's useful discipline, without which society might fail to evolve; that is, all convicts see themselves as innocent, all prosecuters as protectors of a free people, etc.
Rorty also deals with general concepts, but doesn't want to get into an Aristotleian exegesis because it isn't useful. But putting it through those paces reveals it for what it is: a liar's paradox.
Reason still has a strong foundation, but its weaknesses need to be examined, as the practice is still "useful." Russell, Whitehead, and Godel have covered this in mathematics as Church and Turing have in computer science, and Heisenburg did in Physics. In the end, it devolves into an irrational justification for socialism, and since that has been, in part, responsible for 70 million deaths this century I think it's "useful" to rethink these ideas very carefully as the practice betrays the notion of solidarity...unless we want to engage in the mutually assured destruction policies of the '60s and find our universal solidarity in the death and extinction of humanity.