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Half-formed materiality becomes the mark of the avant-gardehas always been to find a vocabulary which is intrinsically and self-evidently final.Philosophy has always attempted, Rorty argues, to find one true metaphor and to isolate the conditions that make an expression intelligible.From his ground-breaking Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979) to the latest volume of his Philosophical Papers (2007), he has written with rhetorical flair and colourful elegance, prompting Harold Bloom to describe him as the most interesting philosopher in the world (book jacket, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity) and Ian Hacking to review his most recent book as Rorty is always keen to sidestep standard modes of logical rigour.
More specifically, I explore how his theoretical concerns to preserve the poetic within the philosophical and to highlight the role of the literary moment in intellectual change are allied to his methodological turn away from argument and towards re-description.
Rortys use of the terms poetic and literary, together with his conception of their role in intellectual discourse, are crucial to a full understanding of his vision for philosophy, particularly to an understanding of his famous claim that philosophy should be understood on the model of literary criticism.
Like Heidegger, he seems to think that if we attend only to the former, we will be trapped in our current ontotheological form of life.
So, he may infer, we must break away from meaning, thought of in the Wittgensteinian-Saussure way as a play of inferential differences, to something like what Heidegger called Still guided by the Hartman framework of literary and non-literary language, Rorty positively appraises Derrida for his movement away from use-value and assimilable meanings towards the sounds of words and their ability to resonate with one another.
The point is not to involve oneself in the current language game, but to inspire a new one.
Essays On Heidegger And Others Philosophical Papers
Rorty concludes, The crucial point here is that Rortys emphasis on the non-rational development of scientific knowledge ties in with his model of literary invention.
For Heidegger, Rorty writes, philosophical truth depends upon the very choice of phonemes, on the very sounds of words (CIS, 114).
Invoking Heideggers endless wordplay, his baffling use of archaic German, Rorty reads Heidegger as saying that philosophy, like poetry, is untranslatable that sounds matter.
Heideggers stress on the pertinence of individual words (on their graphic and phonic elements as well as their meanings) is closely allied to Rortys desire to stress the poetic within the philosophical,s work.
Indeed, the passage immediately following the discussion of Heidegger plays on the inferential/non-inferential distinction in order to point up the difference between the procedures of the analytic tradition and Rorty The distinction between these two sorts of play of difference is the distinction between the sort of abilities you need to write a grammar and a lexicon for a language and the sort you would need to make jokes in a language, to construct metaphors in it, or to write it in a distinguished and original style rather than simply writing clearly.