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What's the Use of Truth?by Richard Rorty and Pascal Engel
"At a slim sixty-six pages, What's the Use of Truth? presents the transcript of a public debate between the French and American philosophers Pascal Engel and Richard Rorty....It is safe to say that the main draw of this book will be Rorty's position; in a sense, by titling the book 'What's the Use of Truth?' the game is ceded to him." Jean-Paul Pecqueur, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
What is truth? What value should we see in or attribute to it?
The war over the meaning and utility of truth is at the center of contemporary philosophical debate, and its arguments have rocked the foundations of philosophical practice. In this book, the American pragmatist Richard Rorty and the French analytic philosopher Pascal Engel present their radically different perspectives on truth and its correspondence to reality.
Rorty doubts that the notion of truth can be of any practical use and points to the preconceptions that lie behind truth in both the intellectual and social spheres. Engel prefers a realist conception, defending the relevance and value of truth as a norm of belief and inquiry in both science and the public domain. Rorty finds more danger in using the notion of truth than in getting rid of it. Engel thinks it is important to hold on to the idea that truth is an accurate representation of reality.
In Rorty's view, epistemology is an artificial construct meant to restore a function to philosophy usurped by the success of empirical science. Epistemology and ontology are false problems, and with their demise goes the Cartesian dualism of subject and object and the ancient problematic of appearance and reality. Conventional "philosophical problems," Rorty asserts, are just symptoms of the professionalism that has disfigured the discipline since the time of Kant. Engel, however, is by no means as complacent as Rorty in heralding the "end of truth," and he wages a fierce campaign against the "veriphobes" who deny its value.
What's the Use of Truth? is a rare opportunity to experience each side of this impassioned debate clearly and concisely. It is a subject that has profound implications not only for philosophical inquiry but for the future study of all aspects of our culture as well.
"Richard Rorty and Pascal Engel's exchange about truth starts off in university tweed and ends up in a street fight." Bruce Krajewski, author of Gadamer's Repercussions: Reconsidering Philosophical Hermeneutics
"Necessary for serious philosophy collections." Booklist
American pragmatist Rorty and the French analytic philosopher Engel present their radically different perspectives on truth and its correspondence to reality. What's the Use of Truth? is a rare opportunity to experience each side of this impassioned debate clearly and concisely.
About the Author
Richard Rorty has tried to bring the American pragmatist tradition together both with a Wittgensteinian approach to mind and language and with various themes in post-Nietzschean European thought. He has taught at Wellesley, Princeton, the University of Virginia, and Stanford and is the author of many books, including The Future of Religion with Gianni Vattimo.
Pascal Engel is ordinary professor of contemporary philosophy at the University of Geneva, after having taught at the Sorbonne. He is the author of The Norm of Truth, Ramsey, Truth and Success, and Truth, and of books in French on Davidson, the philosophy of the mind, and analytic philosophy. His present work is focused on epistemology.
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