Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The American way: survive, multiply, transform...

“I interpret this remark [truth is a mobile army of metaphors”, Nietzsche] along the lines of my discussion of Davidson’s treatment of metaphor in Part II of Volume I. I take its point to be that sentences are the only thing that can be true of false, that our repertoire of sentences grows as history goes along, and that this growth is largely a matter of the literalization of novel metaphors. Thinking of truth in this way helps us switch over from a Cartesian-Kantian picture of intellectual progress (as a better and better fit between mind and world) to a Darwinian picture (as an increasing ability to shape the tools needed to help the species survive, multiply, and transform itself).”

Richard Rorty, Philosophical Papers, volume II,
Essays on Heidegger and others. Cambridge
University Press, 1991

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