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Neopragmatism and truth: Richard Rorty and the possibility of postfoundationalist philosophy

Butler, Graeme Kennedy (2000) Neopragmatism and truth: Richard Rorty and the possibility of postfoundationalist philosophy. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis develops a critical appreciation of Rorty’s attempt to delineate a philosophical position in the absence of any foundational ist grounds for epistemological certainty. The largely sympathetic account early in the thesis, of the way Rorty employs philosophical insights he inherits from Davidson and Sellars, provides an interpretation of Rorty’s overall philosophical strategy with respect to foundationalist conceptions of epistemology. It is against the background of this account that I undertake an interpretation of Rorty’s main positive theses for post-foundationalist philosophy - namely his conception of the Davidsonian field linguist and his neopragmatic conception of truth. The interpretation of Rorty’s work here, influenced as it is by my reading of the early Heidegger, leads to the contention that Rorty’s conception of the Davidsonian field linguist stands in need of a non-foundationalist, transcendental, conception of the world. Whilst this contention may seem contrary to Rorty’s views, there is I believe, something like that conception of the world implicit in his own account of self creation. Furthermore, it is a conception that is explicitly developed in Heidegger’s early work on interpretive understanding and the temporality of the self. Developing this latter point challenges not only Rorty’s account of Heidegger as a theoretical ironist; it also questions the adequacy of his conception of truth and threatens the coherence of his neo-pragmatic conception of interpretation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Bowden, Peta, Macavoy, Martin and Malpas, Jeff
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