From: "pcrugh.geo@xxxxxxxxxxx" <pcrugh.geo@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 18:13:28 -0700
Hi, Asher. I am not directing this at you, personally, but keep this in mind.
Asher Haig wrote:
> hy is "solving problems" the basis for consideration?
Well, unless there is an argument, there is no argument, and if there is no
argument, what we are arguing about? We are arguing an argument. This isn't
playing with words. What is the problem? What else can really be taken into
consideration than an argument, a problem, and why should it? Rorty may have not
put into words a problem we didn't like, but Rorty has more attention than I do
(as well as another life). Is that a problem for me? No, it isn't. I was
interested to know what the problem was, and I am still. But here's more
problems with this discovery:
> Seems to privilege Rorty before ever considering what you're privileging.
> > I'd like to point out that Rorty is not really a bad guy, even though I
> > have not met him (I have read his work, and his criticism of the
> > pragmatic theory of truth).
> Personally? Well as I recall his wife did divorce him for abuse.... But
> that's not so relevant to the philosophy itself. Neither is the claim that
> he's a "good guy," even if he is.
> > If anything should be asked of him it is how
> > his philosophy contributes to the history of philosophy, as all
> > philosophers continue to do so.
> And as does every other useless form of knowledge. That doesn't make it
> worth engaging.
Then why are you engaging in it? You want to know what the problem is just as
much as you want to know anything, both being possibly arbitrary, but not
necessarily so. I will not argue for Rorty's personal problems any better than
he can for himself with those who are relevant to those problems, and I think
that could be a problem but I am not a lawyer. I am not really or ultimately
relevant to his problems, but I respect reasoning to a degree that what passes
for bullshit quite often can be made into much credible sense if we are willing
to listen. Actually, now, I get the idea Rorty isn't a good guy, and that's not
a problem for us, is it? Have we really nailed down the problem, yet?
> Coherence is artificial. No system is ever coherent, it just hides its
> contradictions. To know that a system is complete is to ignore its
> incompleteness, as it will always be either tautological or based upon an
> appeal to some external foundations.
These words wouldn't make any sense if they were not coherent, in a system of
language that makes them so. Now, however, we are considering whether or not
language is any instrument of knowledge? Sure it is. So, coherence is
artificial, as in it being a language that humans produce for the sake of
structuring out rules of knowing. But I think a lot of us are just interested in
the "ists" just a little too much. There's a lot of knowledge of problems and
their possible or ultimate solutions. We can engage in it any time we like. But
it won't be universally so subjective as some us might expect. I like your wit
with these complicated words and their arrangement (your arrangement of them)
into complete sentences. But there's an argument, a problem, and it just is. We
take it and play with it. We are kind of like cats and mice at this game of
language and solving things. We find a solution, perhaps, Rorty's, or
Foucault's, and we make big denials, "there is no coherent system". It's a game.
> Framing the question as this search for coherence is exactly what enables
> Rorty to co-opt the entirety (whatever that means) of critical theory in the
> name of liberalism.
But we want to know what liberalism is, yes? It's a system of thought with a
language and someone has to organize it, freely so. That, I believe, summates
the main premise of liberalism, is that someone has to do it, to organize, and
that alone justifies its leadership. We have to let people lead themselves, too.
The alternative (for example, libertarianism), would be to have a hierarchy of
leadership with many removed from opportunities to participate in it. Choosing a
system is an education in itself, as well as an experience in life full of
Is any one here competent in the difference between language and metalanguage? I
think that is what we are running up against, a field of ideals, with minds that
aspire their perfection (which includes defending them and going about it the
way you are, by denying that these fields have coherent meaning, as if that were
an ultimate check of performance). I don't know what the relevance of those
little quotes at the end or pieces of information are intended to do. Are you
trying to imply that Rorty gave Clinton a justification to have sex with
Lewinsky? Is that really all we are putting Rorty up against?
> Sometimes I think it might be better that way. Rorty is like Habermas.
> T(he)y are(is) the Borg. Coherence is a way of making so many distinctions
> that a system can be established to do away with things you don't like.
> Saying that it is ridiculous, sometimes, is a way of refusing to engage such
> absurdity. After all, who has been able to attack all of the errors in
> either Rorty or Habermas without getting lost in their own moral (liberal
> for Rorty) ooze?
> Asher Haig ahaig@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Dartmouth 2004
> "We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House make no mistake about
> it." -- Bush