Rorty on Truth

I do not go as far as the late Richard Rorty when it comes to “truth.” I do believe that their is such a thing as truth, I just find almost all claims to such truth to be utter rubbish. It is largely because of Rorty that I have come to this point.

I personally think that we are rarely interested in truth. Instead, we are merely deeply committed to defended certain narratives about “truth.” Like Rorty, I feel that we are too often willing to be cruel to others in the name of truth, when we are really just defending a certain narrative and are otherwise completely lacking in any actual commitment to truth or metaphysics.

Something like that.

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  • Jeff G

    Rorty’s thoughts on truth have also been very influential in my own thought process for the last couple years. I think sometimes, however, the proper scope of his attack isn’t all that clear. The “Truth” which he almost always criticizes is the modern conception of truth – an perfectly accurate depiction of the way things really are. He also dismisses pre-modern notions of truth, but rarely, if ever, takes the time to mount an actual argument against them. He does, however, accept (or tolerate) a post-modern version of truth which would basically be a conventionalist morality of speech acts.

    I don’t think the video was all that off, though, considering how ubiquitous the modern version is in common parlance. I just think that instead of rejecting truth altogether, it might be more constructive to point out the options we have regarding how we conceptualize it: pre-modern (soteriology), modern (epistemology) or post-modern (solidarity).

  • Dave

    Chris, here’s a quotation from Rorty’s essay “Truth Without Correspondence to Reality,” in his Philosophy and Social Hope, that is right up your alley:
    It is unfortunate, I think, that many people hope for a tighter link between philosophy and politics than there is or can be. In particular, people on the left keep hoping for a philosophical view which cannot be used by the political right, one which will lend itself only to good causes. But there never will be such a view; any philosophical view is a tool which can be used by many different hands.