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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.
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.
Beginning with an examination of the importance of the literary moment and the poetic as Rorty conceives of them, I question whether these theoretical emphases are borne out in the practice of his writing.
Richard Rorty is well-known for his provocative prose.
However, it is less clear how exactly these theoretical concerns, when filtered through the methodological imperatives of re-description and narrative, manifest themselves at the level of writing.
It is unclear, in other words, whether Rorty sees narrative and re-description (both terms with literary connotations) as poetic or literary practices.Beginning with Rortys consideration of these concepts, in Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers Volume 2 (hereafter EHO) and Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (hereafter CIS moment as occurring periodically in many different areas of culture: science, philosophy, painting and politics, as well as the lyric and the drama.Literary moments, then, are not confined to literature.The clarity and transparency sought after by argumentative macho metaphysicians can be thought of as a way of implying that only inferential connections matter, because only those are relevant to argumentation.In this view, words matter only because one makes propositions, and thus arguments, out of them.These non-assimilable meanings and non-inferential differences liberate their writer from meaning and metaphysics, a liberation that is achieved both on the scriptural and the phonic level.As with poetry, the visual appearance of the word on the page together with its audible resonances, are central.Interested not in etymologies but in resonances, Heidegger insists that the only way to avoid the identification of truth with power is to conceive of our final vocabularies not as means to ends but as houses of Being.This claim requires him to poetize philosophical language by letting the phonemes themselves, and not just their uses, be consequential.The point is not to involve oneself in the current language game, but to inspire a new one.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.