Rorty and Davidson

I’ve never been swayed by Rorty’s philosophy; some of it is interesting and much of it is fluff. Still, one ought to read the Mirror of Nature at some point in their philosophical adventure. His partner in discussion is the admirable Donald Davidson, whose Actions, Reasons and Causes is one of the most influential papers in the second half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, their styles are entirely too thick to be very constructive.

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3 Responses

  1. I wonder by what you mean “too thick” (not to disagree, but to understand).. Some of Rorty I find to be the most plainly put rumination as there can be. Do you mean “thick” as in dense (not comprehendable), or “thick” dim or dull witted? And though some of Davidson’s essay are a bit arcane in subject, something like his “Threee Varieties of Knowledge” strikes me as jargon-free and unpretentious philosophical writing as there is, very plain in subject matter:

    Here is the essay if there are any of your readers who may be interested:

    http://kvond.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/davidsons-three-varieties-of-knowledge/

  2. Thanks for the link.
    No, I don’t find Rorty or Davidson dull in the least (I see now that I worded that wrong); I was commenting on their personalities in conversation. I don’t think they have a style that is conducive to a camera interview.
    On the other hand, the Searle/Magee conversation was an excellent instance (trope?) of philosophical discussion.

  3. Ahhh. How interesting. I did misread that. The funny thing was that I actually came to like the two of them much more as persons when I saw them talk to each other. Instead of the near invective, yet suppressed attack in print (they had more than a decade of disagreement over the use of a Theory of Truth, something Rorty eventually admitted his error in), here they are almost on the very same page, seeking agreement at every turn.

    I have not looked at the searle/Magee conversation, but the Davidson/Rorty conversation I actually did find quite philosophical, as it fleshed out the delicate ground of their mutuality. I had read much between these two, but after the conversation I really felt that I had a much better sense of where each of them stood unto each other, and toward “Truth”.

    I remember typing out and quoting some of passages from the conversation for their rarity and new-ground character, but this was over a year ago.

    I do though see how one might not be as engaged in the talk as I was. It does meander some, but in a pleasant way for me.

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