Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard M. Rorty

By Richard M. Rorty

From Library Journal
Rorty propounds, and faces squarely the implications of, a relativistic, non-essentialist view of guy and society. For him, attitudes, values, ideals, and practices are contingent phenomena of a selected time, position, and tradition, none of that's inherently higher or worse than the other. there's irony within the undeniable fact that it is easy to notice this, but nonetheless wish, and paintings for, "human solidarity" and freedom. How those positions will be reconciled is the topic of this crucial ebook, no longer incidental to that are attention-grabbing discussions of Hegel, Heidegger, Habermas, Nietzsche, Nabokov, Freud, Dickens, and Orwell, between others. this can be Rorty at his such a lot stimulating, and he emerges as a massive political theorist.
- Leon H. Brody, U.S. workplace of body of workers administration Lib., Washington, D.C.

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This is the difference between the will to truth and the will to self-overcoming. "' The dramaof anindividual human life, or of the history of humanity as a whole, is not one in which a preexistent goal is triumphantly reached or tragically not reached. Neither a constant external reality nor an unfailing interior source of inspiration forms a background for such dramas. Instead, to see one's life, or the life of one's community' as a dramatic narrative is to see it as a process of Nietzschean self-overcoming.

We are all too ready to forget that in fact everything to do with our life is chance,from our origin out of the meeting of spermatozoonand ovum onwards.. . " Every one of us human beingscorrespondsto one of the countlessexperiments in which these "ragioni" of natureforce their way into experience-7 The commonsense Freudianism of contemporary culture makes it easy to see our conscience as such an experiment, to identify the bite of conscience with the renewal of guilt over repressed infantile sexual impulses - repressions which are the products of countless contingencies that never enter experience.

446. CONTINGENCY biology- But in the latter case it takes us into intellectual history viewed as the history of metaphor. For my purposes in this book, it is the latter which is important. So I shall spend the rest of this chapter sketching an account of intellectual and moral progress which squareswith Davidson's account of language. To see the history of language, and thus of the arts, the sciences,and the moral sense, as the history of metaphor is to drop the picture of the human mind, or human languages,becoming better and better suited to the purposes for which God or Nature designed them, for example, able to express more and more meanings or to represent more and more facts.

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