Comments on Rorty's 'Contemporary Philosophy of Mind'
Dennett (Daniel)
Source: Synthese, Vol. 53, No. 2, Matters of the Mind (Nov., 1982), pp. 349-356
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction1

  1. One of the most interesting experiences you can have is to be told by someone else just what you are doing or have done. There is the jolt of a different perspective, the mixed reaction you feel on learning that someone else has been paying attention, the conflicting rush of judgments: "He's right! That's it exactly!", "He's wrong! I never did!", "So that's what I was trying to do."
  2. I find Professor Rorty's bird's-eye view of the history of philosophy of mind both fascinating and extremely useful, full of insight and provocation, and, of course, flattering.
  3. Rorty proceeds by deliberate and knowing oversimplification - often a useful tactic - and since it is a useful tactic on this occasion, it would be particularly counter- productive for me to succumb to the powerful temptation to plow seriatim through his account restoring all the complications he has so deftly ignored.
  4. My first reaction, though, is that the momentum he builds up in the course of his interpretations leads to a certain overshooting of the mark. Also, like many other revolutionaries before him, Rorty has trouble deciding whether to declare victory, declare that victory is inevitable, or implore you to join in a difficult and uncertain struggle against the powers of darkness.
  5. I ask myself: Am I a nominalist? Do I declare the death of theories of the mind? Am I - or should I be - a Village Verificationist after all? I always seem to want to answer: not quite. Since I, as an irremediably narrow-minded and unhistorical analytic philosopher, am always looking for a good excuse not to have to read Hegel or Heidegger or Derrida or …


Response to "Rorty (Richard) - Contemporary Philosophy of Mind".

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Actually it’s just one long article. This is the start, truncated arbitrarily.

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