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After Metaphysics: Rorty and American Pragmatism

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Metaphysics wants to know what, ultimately, exists. What is true. What is good. And it thinks the world is going to give us the answers. For metaphysics, philosophy’s ultimate aim is a complete account of reality, as it is in itself.  Richard Rorty made a name for himself by claiming that this metaphysical impulse of mirroring the world is a philosophical illness that’s best left behind. The world itself, according to Rorty, cannot and should not constrain our inquiries. Revisiting the Platonic dispute between poetry and philosophy, Rorty suggested philosophers take a leaf out of the poets’ book, seeing their work as radically unconstrained, except by each other. This move would give philosophers more agency and at the same time more democratic accountability, writes Elin Danielsen Huckerby. This is the fifth instalment in our series The Return of Metaphysics, in partnership with the Essentia Foundation. Read the series’ previous articles The Return of Metaphysics: Hegel vs Kant, The R…

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