There is a well known tension in Rorty when it comes to our linguistic agency. Famously, Rorty follows Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson and others in that there are no private languages. However, the innovator of our language in Rorty is an individual, the “strong poet”, who Brandom calls Rorty’s “genius self”. This tension in Rorty is well described and has been problematized many times and from various angles. Against the common compulsion to mitigate Rorty’s commitment to individuality and normative detachment, this article provides a rationale for what I will call Rorty’s “vocabulary of rupture” which follows a) from fully implementing Rorty’s particular version of antirepresentationalism and b) from taking temporality into account. As for a) once we embrace that words and theories do not represent the world as it is in itself but function to serve particular aims, there are contexts in which insisting on the possibility of normative detachment becomes interesting and worth pursuing. This is the case when the aim of writing is to motivate people to get engaged in democratic practices and to embark on creative endeavors. As for b) once we bring temporality into the game, we can switch between the Davidsonian perspectives of triangulation and radical interpretation and choose freely which perspective to favor for the moment of emergence of new vocabularies – the first or the third-person account of meaning.
How to attend
This is a read-ahead seminar. This meeting will take place on Zoom (Zoom login required).
The meeting link, along with a copy of the paper to be discussed, will be made available in advance via the mailing list.