Strange but True Excuse Me I Mean ‘True’
I mentioned Rorty. Well I’ve been reading him lately. I knew he had a habit of saying strange things – but he says even stranger things than I realized he had a habit of saying. That is, he says some things that are so strange I find myself surprised that he says them. Taken aback, disconcerted, astonished, amazed. Maybe that’s why he says them – so that people will have such reactions. That is one reward of saying things, of course. I know people who tell absurd lies for that very purpose – the fun of causing their interlocutors to splutter and wheeze and argue. Maybe that’s what Rorty is doing. He only does it to annoy, because he knows it teases.
Probably not though. At least not entirely. But then – oh well, you have a look.
Pragmatists would like to replace the desire for objectivity – the desire to be in touch with a reality which is more than some community with which we identify ourselves – with the desire for solidarity with that community.
No…I don’t think he is joking. I think he’s a disaster.
My rejection of traditional notions of rationality can be summed up by saying that the only sense in which science is exemplary is that it is a model of human solidarity.
Both of those from Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, page 39.
The tradition in Western culture which centers around the notion of the search for Truth…is the clearest example of the attempt to find a sense in one’s existence by turning away from solidarity to objectivity. The idea of Truth as something to be pursued for its own sake, not because it will be good for oneself, or for one’s real or imaginary community, is the central theme of this tradition.
Ibid, page 21. The first two from ‘Science as Solidarity,’ the third from ‘Solidarity or objectivity?’ In the third, it’s clear in context that that tradition is a bad one that we gotta get rid of.
Susan Haack points out (Manifesto of Passionate Moderate p. 67 n. 29) ‘that Rorty doesn’t always sound this radical; just very often.’
He’s painful to read. I’ve probably had three or four transient ischemic attacks just today.