The Return of Objectivity: Realism without (Rampant) Platonism



As we saw in Chapter 1, Richard Rorty argues that in the absence of a view from nowhere — a perspective on our practices that is not itself grounded in practice — we ought to see ourselves as answerable to one another, rather than to the world or the moral law: what is correct is what “our peers will, ceteris paribus, let us get away with” saying or doing.3 Objectivity is thus exchanged for solidarity. As we noted, however, the implications of this account are troubling. Because Rorty appeals to the “community” in order to distinguish what is correct from what is incorrect, he is ultimately unable to accommodate the thought that the vast majority of one’s peers could be guilty of violating a norm — moral or otherwise. Thus, he concludes that although it is possible to contrast the conventions of one community with those of another, it is impossible to “appeal from the oppressive conventions of our community to something nonconventional, and thus hard to see how we could ever engage in anything like ‘radical critique’”4


Social Criticism Discursive Practice Conceptual Norm Moral Discourse Logical Necessity 
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    Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism” [1932].Google Scholar
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© Richard Amesbury 2005

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