P. Rorty. Randomness, irony and solidarity
RORY Richard (1931 -2007) is an American philosopher, a representative of the non-pragmatist version of postmodern philosophy. He graduated from the University of Chicago, he studied at Yale University, receiving a Ph.D. He taught at Yale, Princeton, Virginia and Stanford Universities. Tested the influence of James, Dyoy, Nietzsche, Heidegger,
Gadamera, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Derrida. The concept created by him in a particularly bold manner reveals many essential features and features of postmodernism, has a brightly expressed hybrid and eclectic character, carries out a decisive turn "from theory to narration" and "conversation", emphasizes the style of presentation, the literary and aesthetic aspect of philosophical discourse.
Major works: Philosophy and the mirror of nature (1979); The consequences of pragmatism (1982); Randomness, irony and solidarity (1986).
The desire to combine public and private is at the heart of both Plato's attempts to answer the question "Why is it profitable to be fair?", and the Christian belief that the perfection of self-fulfillment can be achieved in serving others. Such metaphysical or theological attempts to combine the desire for perfection with a sense of community require us to know the common human nature. They require us to believe that the most important for each of us is the common thing that we share with others, that the sources of private self-realization and human solidarity are the same. Skeptics like Nietzsche argued that metaphysics and theology quite clearly try to portray altruism as more intelligent than it really is. Nevertheless, it is characteristic that such skeptics often have their own theories about human nature. They also argue that there is something in common among all human beings - for example, the will to power or the libido-like impulses. The essence of their statements is that on the deepest the level of self does not have a feeling of human solidarity, that this feeling is only an artifact of human socialization. [...]
However, with the advent of Hegel historically oriented thinkers tried to go beyond this habitual disengagement. They rejected the existence of such entities as "human nature" or deep self base & quot ;. Their strategy was to insist that socialization and thus historical circumstances determine everything (goes all the way down) - that there is nothing "under" socialization or something primary in relation to history, which would determine the human. [...] This historic turn helped us to free ourselves, gradually but thoroughly, from theology and metaphysics - from the temptation to seek deliverance from time and chance. He helped us to replace Truth with Freedom as a task of thinking and social progress. But even after this change took place, the old tension between private and public remained. Historicists, who are dominated by the desire for self-creation, private autonomy (for example, Heidegger and Foucault), are still inclined to view socialization in the same way that Nietzsche viewed it, as an antithesis to something hidden deep inside us. Historians, who are dominated by the desire for a more just and free human community (for example, Dewey and Habermas), are still inclined to view the desire for private perfection as a desire infected with "irrationalism" and aesthetics & quot ;. [...] Authors such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Proust, Heidegger and Nabokov are useful as examples, as illustrations of what private perfection can be, a self-creating, autonomous human life. Authors such as Marx, Mill, Dewey, Habermas and Rawls are more like fellow citizens than exemplars. They are involved in a joint social effort - an effort to make our practices and institutions more just and less cruel. We would only consider these two groups of authors to be opposite to each other if they thought that a more comprehensive philosophical perspective would allow us to keep self-creation and justice, private perfection and human solidarity in one sight.
Neither in philosophy, nor in any other theoretical discipline does there exist such a method that would ever allow us to do this. The most that can be done to bring these two together is to consider the goal of a just and free society to allow their citizens to be so privatistic, "irrational" and aesthetic, as they like, and as much as their own time allows, without, however, harming others and not using the resources needed by those who have fewer benefits. Practical measures are needed to implement this practical task. But at the level of theory it is impossible to tie together self-creation and justice. The vocabulary of self-creation is necessarily private, it is not shared with others and is not suitable for discussion. The dictionary of justice is necessarily published, it shares with others and is an intermediary in the discussion.
If we accepted the fact that no theory about the nature of Man, Society or Rationality or anything else can synthesize Nietzsche and Marx or Heidegger and Habermas, then we could imagine a relationship between writers about autonomy and writing about justice, like the relationship between two kinds of tools, just needing little synthesis, like, for example, paint brush and scrap. One type of writer helps us understand that social virtues are by no means the only virtues, and that some people have succeeded in recreating themselves. Thanks to this, we begin to realize our own semi-articulated need to become a new personality, for the description of which we still do not have enough words. Another type of writer reminds us of the inconsistency of our institutions and practices, so that we can live in accordance with the beliefs that have already been communicated to us by the community and shared with other vocabulary of our everyday life. One tells us that we should not speak only in tribe language, that we are entitled to find our own words, that we have the right to take responsibility for their search. The other tells us that this responsibility is not the only thing we have. Both sides are right, but there is no way to make them speak the same language.
The book attempts to show what will happen if we drop the requirement of a theory that unites the public and the private, and we will be satisfied with the consideration of the requirements of self-creation and human solidarity as equivalent, but, nevertheless, never commensurable. This book gives an outline of one character, whom I called the "liberal ironic". I borrowed the definition of liberal Judit Shklyar, who says that liberals are people who think that the worst thing is to be cruel. I use the word ironic to refer to people who are ready to come to terms with the coincidence of their, his or her, most important beliefs and desires - those who are a historicist and nominalist in sufficient measure to give up the idea that these main beliefs and desires are correlated with something beyond reach the time and chance. Liberal ironics are people who, apart from these unreasonable desires, have their own hope that suffering will be minimized, that the humiliation of some people by others can be stopped.
The liberal ironicists have no answer to the question: "Why not be cruel?" There is no theoretically non-circular justification for believing that cruelty is terrible. There is also no answer to the question: "How to decide when to fight against injustice, and when should we give ourselves to private projects of self-creation?" This question amazes the liberal ironicists with its hopelessness to the same extent as the questions. "Is it right to subject the number of innocent tortures to save t x n n other innocent? If so, what is the true value of n and t? or question "When can you give preference to members of your family or your community over other, randomly selected human beings?" ; Anyone who believes that there are well-founded theoretical answers to such questions, algorithms for resolving moral dilemmas of this kind, still remains in effect a theologian or metaphysician. He believes in order outside of chance and time, which determines the essence of human existence, and establishes a hierarchy of obligations. Ironic intellectuals who do not believe in the existence of such an order represent a small minority (even in rich, happy and educated democratic countries) compared with those who are convinced that such an order should exist. Most non-intellectuals are still committed to some form of religious faith or rationalism of the Enlightenment. Therefore, irony often looks fundamentally hostile not only to democracy but also to human solidarity - solidarity with the greater part of humanity, with all those who are convinced that such an order should exist. But that's not the point. Hostility to a particular historically determined and possibly transitional form of solidarity is not a hostility to solidarity as such. One of my goals in this book is to offer the possibility of a liberal utopia, in which irony in a certain sense would be universal. Post-metaphysical culture seems to me no more impossible than post-religious culture, and it seems equally desirable.
In my utopia, human solidarity is not seen as a fact that is recognized through the elimination of prejudices or penetration into the hidden depths, but as a goal to be achieved. Solidarity is achievable, not through research, but through imagination, through the mental ability to see in fellow human beings comrades in misfortune. Solidarity is not revealed by reflection, but is created. It is created by increasing our sensitivity to certain details of pain and humiliation of others, strangers to us. This increase in sensitivity makes it difficult to marginalize people who differ from us in their thought structure: "They do not feel it the way we would feel," or "There must always be suffering, why not suffer?" >
The process in which we begin to gradually consider other human beings as us & quot ;, and not as them & quot ;, depends on a thorough description of what people are alien to us and on the re-writing of what we are ourselves. This task is not for theory, but for such genres as ethnography, journalistic reporting, comic book, documentary drama (docudrama) and especially genre such as novel. Fiction like Dickens, Olive Schreiner or Richard Wright tells us about the details of the suffering people endured, which previously did not attract our attention. The novels of such writers as Choderlo de Laclos, Henry James or Nabokov give us an idea of the cruelty we ourselves are capable of, and allow us to thereby re-write ourselves. That is why the novel, the film and the telecast gradually and thoroughly replaced the sermon and the treatise as the main means of moral change and progress.
In my liberal utopia, this substitution could find some kind of recognition, which it has been deprived to this day. This recognition would become part of a general turn from theory to narrative. Such a turn would be a symbol of our rejection of attempts to grasp all aspects of our life with one eye, describe them as a single dictionary. This would be tantamount to recognizing that in the first chapter I call the "accident of language" the fact that there is no way to go beyond the various dictionaries that we have developed and to find a meta-dictionary that somehow would accept all possible dictionaries, all possible ways of judgment and feeling. Historic and nominalist culture, the species I am considering, would rest instead on narratives that connect the present, on the one hand, with the past, and on the other hand, with the utopian future. More importantly, she would see in the incarnation of utopias and in the consideration of yet unrealized utopias an endless process - the infinitely expanding realization of Freedom, and not a convergent movement toward an already existing Truth.
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