Pragmatism, Individuation and Totalisation

  • Ian Heywood


The work of Richard Rorty provides an opportunity to extend the arguments above in a somewhat different direction, towards wider questions about languages and practices, their interrelationship, and social theory. Like Becker, Wolff and Bürger, Rorty is convinced of the inappropriateness of many traditional philosophical and theoretical concepts, and he believes that the time is right to liberate ourselves from them. With Becker, he thinks that the various things taken to represent knowledge and value within different communities are to be traced back to how particular social groups attempt to resolve the mundane practical problems that confront them. He gives greater prominence than Becker, however, to the beneficial social or ethical effects for a modern liberal society of the deconstructive efforts of ‘edifying’ theorists, which are directed against the tendency of all practical agreements to become fixed, and so to confine and limit human creativity or, in his terminology, the open ‘conversation’ of (ideal) human existence.


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© Ian Heywood 1997

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  • Ian Heywood

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