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Sobota, 2. marca 2024
The Pragmatist´s progress
Dátum pridania: 23.12.2008 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: celena
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 1 186
Referát vhodný pre: Vysoká škola Počet A4: 3.7
Priemerná známka: 2.98 Rýchle čítanie: 6m 10s
Pomalé čítanie: 9m 15s
The idea that a text could really be about something, that it might tell us something deep about human nature, or the nature of anything whatsoever, “is as bad as the Aristotelian idea that there is something which a substance really, intrinsically, is as opposed to what it only apparently or accidentally or relationally is.”

Reading texts is a matter of reading them in the light of other texts, people, obsessions, bits of information, or what have you, and then seeing what happens. What happens may be something too weird and idiosyncratic to bother with or it may be exciting and convincing. It may be so exciting and convincing that one has the ilusion that one now sees what a certain text is really about. But what excites and convinces is a function of the needs and purposes of those who are being excited and convinced. For Rorty it is simplier to just distinguish between uses by different people for different purposes.

Eco, it seems to Rorty, buys into all sorts of doubtful dualisms, including most importantly here the Kantian distinction between something’s having a value and having dignity. It’s persons who have dignity, and within Eco’s notion of criticism, texts are honorary persons, to be treated with respect rather than merely used. Rorty thinks that a useful distinction can be salvaged from the Aristotelian practice-theory and the Kantian prudence-morality. This is between knowing what you want to get out of a person or thing or text in advance and hoping that the person or thing or text will help you want something different – that he or she or it will help you to change your purposes, and thus to change your life. This distinction, he thinks, helps us to highlight the difference between methodical and inspired readings of text.

Unmethodical criticism of the sort which one occasionally wants to call ´inspired´ is the result of an encounter with an author, character, plot, stanza, line or archaic torso which has made a difference to the critic´s conception of who she is, what she is good for, what she wants to do with herself: an encounter which has rearranged her priorities and purposes. Such criticism uses the author or text not as a specimen reiterating a type but as an occasion for changing a previously accepted taxonomy, or for putting a new twist on a previously accepted story. Its respect for the author or the text is not a matter of respect for an intentio or for an internal structure. Indeed, ´respect´ is the wrong word. ´Love´or ´hate´ would be better. For a great love or a great loathing is the sort of thing that changes us by changing our purposes, changing the uses to which we shall put people and things and texts we encounter later.

It may seem that in saying all this Rorty is taking the side of so-called ´traditional humanistic criticism´, but this is not his intention. Pragmatists think that nobody will ever succeed in providing a method for reading, but they keep trying to find it. However by that they start to succumbing to the old occultist urge to crack codes, to ditinguish between reality and appearance, to make an individous distinction between getting it right and making it useful.
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