Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

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Princeton University Press, 1980 - Philosophy - 401 pages
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Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature hit the philosophical world like a bombshell. Richard Rorty, a Princeton professor who had contributed to the analytic tradition in philosophy, was now attempting to shrug off all the central problems with which it had long been preoccupied. After publication, the Press was barely able to keep up with demand, and the book has since gone on to become one of its all-time best-sellers in philosophy.


Rorty argued that, beginning in the seventeenth century, philosophers developed an unhealthy obsession with the notion of representation. They compared the mind to a mirror that reflects reality. In their view, knowledge is concerned with the accuracy of these reflections, and the strategy employed to obtain this knowledge--that of inspecting, repairing, and polishing the mirror--belongs to philosophy. Rorty's book was a powerful critique of this imagery and the tradition of thought that it spawned. He argued that the questions about truth posed by Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and modern epistemologists and philosophers of language simply couldn't be answered and were, in any case, irrelevant to serious social and cultural inquiry. This stance provoked a barrage of criticism, but whatever the strengths of Rorty's specific claims, the book had a therapeutic effect on philosophy. It reenergized pragmatism as an intellectual force, steered philosophy back to its roots in the humanities, and helped to make alternatives to analytic philosophy a serious choice for young graduate students. Twenty-five years later, the book remains a must-read for anyone seriously concerned about the nature of philosophical inquiry and what philosophers can and cannot do to help us understand and improve the world.


 

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Contents

The Invention of the Mind
17
2 THE FUNCTIONAL THE PHENOMENAL AND THE IMMATERIAL
22
3 THE DIVERSITY OF MINDBODY PROBLEMS
32
4 MIND AS THE GRASP OF UNIVERSALS
38
5 ABILITY TO EXIST SEPARATELY FROM THE BODY
45
6 DUALISM AND MINDSTUFF
61
Persons Without Minds
70
2 PHENOMENAL PROPERTIES
78
Epistemology and Empirical Psychology
213
2 THE UNNATURALNESS OF EPISTEMOLOGY
221
3 PSYCHOLOGICAL STATES AS GENUINE EXPLANATIONS
230
4 PSYCHOLOGICAL STATES AS REPRESENTATIONS
244
Epistemology and Philosophy of Language
257
2 WHAT WERE OUR ANCESTORS TALKING ABOUT?
266
3 IDEALISM
273
4 REFERENCE
284

3 INCORRIGIBILITY AND RAW FEELS
88
4 BEHAVIORISM
98
5 SKEPTICISM ABOUT OTHER MINDS
107
6 MATERIALISM WITHOUT MINDBODY IDENTITY
114
7 EPISTEMOLOGY AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
125
Mirroring
129
The Idea of a Theory of Knowledge
131
2 LOCKES CONFUSION OF EXPLANATION WITH JUSTIFICATION
139
3 KANTS CONFUSION OF PREDICATION WITH SYNTHESIS
148
4 KNOWLEDGE AS NEEDING FOUNDATIONS
155
Privileged Representations
165
2 EPISTEMOLOGICAL BEHAVIORISM
173
3 PRELINGUISTIC AWARENESS
182
4 THE IDEA IDEA
192
5 EPISTEMOLOGICAL BEHAVIORISM PSYCHOLOGICAL BEHAVIORISM AND LANGUAGE
209
5 TRUTH WITHOUT MIRRORS
295
6 TRUTH GOODNESS AND RELATIVISM
306
Philosophy
313
From Epistemology to Hermeneutics
315
2 KUHN AND INCOMMENSURABILITY
322
3 OBJECTIVITY AS CORRESPONDENCE AND AS AGREEMENT
333
4 SPIRIT AND NATURE
343
Philosophy Without Mirrors
357
2 SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHY AND EDIFYING PHILOSOPHY
365
3 EDIFICATION RELATIVISM AND OBJECTIVE TRUTH
373
4 EDIFICATION AND NATURALISM
379
5 PHILOSOPHY IN THE CONVERSATION OF MANKIND
389
Index
395
Copyright

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Page 10 - what it is better for us to believe," rather than as "the accurate representation of reality." Or, to put the point less provocatively, they show us that the notion of "accurate representation" is simply an automatic and empty compliment which we pay to those beliefs which are successful in helping us do what we want to do.

References to this book

Banal Nationalism
Michael Billig
Limited preview - 1995
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About the author (1980)

Richard Rorty (1931 2007) was Professor of Comparative Literature and Philosophy at Stanford University.

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