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ABSTRACT. Herein I critically assess Rorty’s contention that inquiry should be guided by purely pragmatic considerations rather than by demands imposed by an objective “nonhuman” realm. On Rorty’s telling, to judge a belief or theory pragmatically successful requires that we invoke non truth-dependent pragmatic success criteria. However, I argue, such criteria do not wear their full pragmatic value on their faces. To explain said value we require an account of the role these criteria play in the promotion of practices we invest with intrinsic worth. But to explain this role we require that a fair amount of ontological commitment be already in place, undermining any hope that our pragmatic criteria could ever provide us with a substantive rationale for initially choosing these commitments. In consequence, Rorty cannot assume the sort of very general meta-investigative stance from which rejects, e.g., commitment to “an objective public world which is not of our making.” pp. 54–64

Keywords: pragmatism, realism, Rorty, Davidson, objectivity, correspondence

 

RON WILBURN
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University of Nevada

 
 
 

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