Last Updated on March 26, 2023 by mishou
I. I typed:
Richard Rorty acknowledges the important role of Kant in the history of philosophy. Tell me why.
Richard Rorty, a prominent American philosopher, acknowledged the important role of Immanuel Kant in the history of philosophy for several reasons.
Firstly, Kant’s work marked a significant shift in the way philosophy was done. Prior to Kant, much of Western philosophy had been concerned with metaphysics, which seeks to explain the fundamental nature of reality. Kant’s critical philosophy challenged this approach, arguing that the human mind is limited in its ability to know the world as it is in itself, and that our knowledge is necessarily shaped by our conceptual and perceptual frameworks. This led to a greater emphasis on epistemology, the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge and belief, and a recognition of the importance of language in shaping our understanding of the world.
Secondly, Rorty saw Kant as an important figure in the development of liberalism and the idea of human autonomy. Kant’s political philosophy emphasizes the importance of individual freedom and responsibility, and his moral philosophy asserts that humans are rational and autonomous beings capable of making their own decisions. This influenced later thinkers who sought to establish the value of individual freedom and rights, such as John Stuart Mill and John Rawls.
Finally, Rorty admired Kant’s emphasis on the importance of reason and argumentation in philosophy. Kant believed that the pursuit of knowledge required the rigorous examination of evidence and logical reasoning, and that philosophical disputes could be resolved through rational discussion and debate. Rorty saw this commitment to rational inquiry as a valuable legacy that has continued to shape the practice of philosophy to this day.
In summary, Rorty saw Kant as an important figure in the history of philosophy for his contributions to epistemology, liberalism, and the practice of rational inquiry.
II. I typed:
I agree, but Rorty criticized epistemology in “Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature”. Kant’s epistemology presupposes subject and objects (things in themselves ) independent of subject and the relation subject and objects can be examined
You are correct that Rorty was critical of traditional epistemology, including Kant’s epistemology, in his book “Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature”. Rorty argued that traditional epistemology had mistakenly assumed that the human mind could achieve objective knowledge of a mind-independent reality, and that this assumption led to a problematic dualism between the knowing subject and the known object.
In Rorty’s view, knowledge is always shaped by our historical and linguistic contexts, and is therefore necessarily perspectival and contingent. He argued that the distinction between the “subject” and “object” was not a fact of the world, but rather a product of a particular way of understanding ourselves and the world.
Rorty criticized Kant’s approach to epistemology for assuming that there is a fixed set of necessary and universal categories that structure our knowledge of the world. Rorty argued that this assumption mistakenly presupposes that there is a fixed set of concepts that are universally applicable, rather than recognizing that different historical and cultural contexts give rise to different ways of understanding the world.
However, while Rorty was critical of traditional epistemology, including Kant’s, he still recognized the important contributions that Kant made to the development of philosophy, as I noted in my previous response.