Archives For Richard Rorty

Author Information: Raphael Sassower, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, rsassowe@uccs.edu

Sassower, Raphael. “Beyond Lamentations: Comments on Justin Cruickshank’s Public Intellectuals, Education and the Need for Dissatisfaction.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 7 (2014): 50-54.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1xI

Please refer to:

Justin Cruickshank’s reply to my last response takes us from the strict examination of the overlapping and distinguishing characteristics of Popper’s and Rorty’s thoughts and writings to a range of topics from public intellectuals, higher education, and democracy. He provides wise accounts of the British experience, including governmental “reforms” and the rise of the extreme nationalist Right. The mention of neoliberal ideology deserves a moment’s notice because of its impact on government policies in the so-called free world.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, UK, j.cruickshank@bham.ac.uk

Cruickshank, Justin. “Public Intellectuals, Education and the Need for Dissatisfaction: Comments on Raphael Sassower’s Discussion of Popper, Rorty and Democracy.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 7 (2014): 1-4.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1vw

Please refer to:

Raphael’s Sassower’s reply to my last response opened the debate on the sociology and politics of knowledge into the important area of public intellectuals and the broadening of the dialogic community to include laypeople in the attempt to reduce hierarchies. In this piece, I will say something about the social conditions of knowledge production and dissemination with regard to the media and education.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Raphael Sassower, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, rsassowe@uccs.edu

Sassower, Raphael. “Problem-Solving Critical Contingencies: Popper and Rorty According to Cruickshank.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 6 (2014): 30-32.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1sr

Please refer to:

That Popper and Rorty have more in common than is admitted by their respective disciples is a welcome addition to scholarship by Cruickshank. In his detailed and informed analysis he masterfully continues to switch the focus on “problem-solving” from more general discussions on methodology and the role of metaphysics in debates over science and analytic philosophy. Perhaps because he is interested in juxtaposing the Popper-Rorty constellation onto Bloor’s version of the sociology of science, what Cruickshank surreptitiously accomplishes is to revive the argument that to read them fully is to appreciate their political positions and impact.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, J.Cruickshank@bham.ac.uk

Cruickshank, Justin. “From Ex Cathedra Legislators to Dialogic Exemplars? Popper, Rorty and the Politics and Sociology of Knowledge.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 5 (2014): 1-12.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1oa

Please refer to:

I would like to thank Raphael Sassower for his response to my article on Popper and Rorty. Sassower argued that ‘if we contextualise the writings of Popper and Rorty we could easily understand their respective difference in focus or attitude rather in substance’ (58), with this standing in contrast to the ‘partisan politics of the academy’ which produced dogmatic and superficial readings of their work (57-58). For Sassower (2006a, 2006b, 2014) it is the case that politics can legitimately influence philosophy, not only with normative commitments influencing the solutions proffered for problems, but with normative commitments influencing the construal of what constitutes a legitimate and interesting problem. So, whilst it was the case that Popper and Rorty were engaging in different ways with different traditions in different historical contexts, they nonetheless shared a similar normative motivation which shaped their philosophies. Specifically, neither were conceptualising themselves as ‘disembodied’ intellectuals engaging in purely technical problems abstracted from any socio-political and historical context. Instead, both regarded themselves as engaging in a public conversation about the dialogic nature of knowledge and socio-political problem-solving, where a recognition of fallibilism or contingency precluded appeal to any source of certainty. For both it was important to avoid the authoritarian follies that lurk in intellectuals’ clerical tendency to presume a privileged access to a higher domain of reality, with this being used monologically to legislate on the beliefs and actions of others; as well as avoiding the parochialism of holding that philosophical problems, in effect, have no import for life outside technical philosophy. In place of the intellectual as ex cathedra legislator basing their authority on a particular metaphysical doctrine, or parochial technician, intellectuals were to move public dialogue forward by being interlocutors.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Raphael Sassower, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, rsassowe@uccs.edu

Sassower, Raphael. “A Bridge Over Turbulent Waters: A Reply to Justin Cruickshank on Comparing Popper and Rorty.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 3 (2014): 57-59.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1kQ

Please refer to:

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that by the 21st century, when some intellectual giants have been gone for a while, that their thoughts can be comfortably compared without the sneering of their respective partisan disciples. On the other hand, it may be simply the intellectual courage of a few, like Cruickshank, to transcend the partisan politics of the academy and find points of connection, even overlaps in thought and perspective between two seemingly different, if not oppositional, thinkers. Be that as it may, what we have before us is a welcome addition to scholarship, with refined and concise overviews of the main philosophical contributions of Popper and Rorty. Perhaps the passage of time requires some background to writings of writers who at the time did not need it (because it was too obvious to belabor).  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, UK, j.cruickshank@bham.ac.uk

Cruickshank, Justin. “Problem-Solving And The Social Production Of Knowledge: A Reply to Isaac Reed.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no.2 (2014): 24-33.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1e1

Please refer to:

The Idealisation of Science

I would like to thank Isaac Reed for his careful consideration of the issues that stemmed from my discussion of Popper and Rorty. Here I hope to address those issues and to discuss my view of Popper’s approach to science that was left mostly unaddressed in the original article.

Reed noted that I am developing a new form of pragmatism for social science that was focused less on action and communication than the original pragmatists and more on the development of scientific knowledge and its relation to critical social theory and democracy (40-41). This new approach to pragmatism was then criticised by Reed for prioritising normative concerns in a way that idealised and privileged science, with this being blind to the social production of knowledge and institutional power relations. Reed notes how the distinction between the natural and social sciences was both challenged by those seeking to assimilate the social sciences into the natural sciences, as well as by those challenging the idealised conception of natural science knowledge production as privileged above other domains of knowledge.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Isaac Ariail Reed, University of Colorado, Isaac.Reed@Colorado.EDU

Reed, Isaac Ariail. “Science, Democracy and Sociology in the 21st Century: Response to Cruickshank’s ‘Anti-authority’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2, no. 12 (2013): 40-45.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-19m

Please refer to:

There would appear to be something particularly useful in the interpretation of classic thinkers when it comes to the hazy yet intellectually essential gray area between philosophy of social science, social theory, and social research. Justin Cruickshank’s essay provides more evidence for this hypothesis. By reinterpreting the philosophy of science of Karl Popper, and relating this interpretation to a kind of revisionist, matters-are-clearer-in-hindsight view of the philosophy of Richard Rorty, Cruickshank does recovery work — saving these thinkers from certain stereotypes — but also, and more importantly in my view, a certain kind of conceptual carving up of “thought space.” Cruickshank uses Rorty and Popper as sculptor’s tools to create a configuration of our understanding of knowledge. One senses a larger project here, a new version of pragmatism for social science, centered less directly on action and communication than were the philosophies of the original American pragmatists. The focus is, instead, on the capacities and needs of scientific knowledge, and the relationship of the pursuit of that knowledge to critical social theory and democratic practice. Here, I assume the obvious — that this project is interesting and possesses clear merit. I also assume that I need not explicate the clear contributions of this specific paper as it stands. Finally, I do not wish to directly challenge Cruickshank’s interpretations of the texts of Popper and Rorty. Rather, I wish to ask some questions about the larger project that is emerging here. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Peter E. Jones, Sheffield Hallam University, P.E.Jones@shu.ac.uk

Jones, Peter E. 2013. “Reality check: Some thoughts in response to Pablé.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (11): 16-19.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-12S

Please refer to:

Part 1

House: It was so perfect. It was beautiful.
Wilson: Beauty often seduces us on the way to truth.
House: And triteness kicks us in the nuts.
Wilson: So true.
House: This doesn’t bother you?
Wilson: That you were wrong? I try to work through the pain.
House: I was not wrong. Everything I said was true. It fit.It was elegant.
Wilson: So – reality was wrong.
House: Reality is almost always wrong. [1]

Adrian Pablé, in his thought provoking piece on Richard Rorty and Roy Harris, argues that the ‘Harrisian integrationist considers Rorty’s ideas of knowledge, reality and truth very differently from the realist philosopher’ (2). And his paper sets out an alternative account of ‘reality’ to that offered by ‘the realist philosopher’. Continue Reading…