Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (published in 1979) is a famous and controversial work by American philosopher Richard Rorty. In this book, Rorty attempts to dissolve so-called philosophical problems instead of solving them by showing that they are in fact pseudo-problems that only exist in the language-game of Analytic philosophy. In a pragmatist gesture, Rorty claims that philosophy must get past these pseudo-problems if it is to be productive.

Rorty's central thesis is that philosophy has unduly relied on a representational theory of perception and a correspondence theory of truth, hoping our experience or language might mirror the way reality actually is. In this he continues a certain controversial Anglophone tradition, continuing the work of philosophers like Quine, Sellars, and Davidson. Rorty opts out of the traditional objective/subjective dialogue in favor of a communal version of truth. For him, "true" is simply an honorific knowers bestow on claims, asserting them as what "we" want to say about a particular matter.

Rorty spends much of the book explaining how philosophical paradigm shifts and their associated philosophical "problems" can be considered the result of the new metaphors, vocabularies, and mistaken linguistic associations which are necessarily a part of those new paradigms.

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