imaginea utilizatorului Sixtus

Replică la un com. al lui Călin Sămărghițean (Cailean) la un eseu al subsemnatului ”(1) Discuție (virtuală) cu Richard Rorty despre declinul adevărului redemptiv” postat pe Hermeneia.

Cailean (Călin Sămărghițean), într-un com. la eseul meu : ”(1) Discuție (virtuală) cu Richard Rorty despre declinul adevărului redemptiv”
îmi scrie:

„Domnule Manolescu, nu vi se pare penibil să puneți în gura unuia ca Rorty astfel de aberații? Dacă răspunsul este "nu", nu vă mai osteniți vă rog.”

Răspunsul meu este:

Cailean,

Dacă habar nu ai despre ce vorbești, scrie-mi la gmnoema@yahoo.com și am să-ți pun la dispoziție lucrarea lui Rorty pe baza căreia am scris acest eseu. O să ai surpriza, de-a dreptul neplăcută pentru tine, că n-am pus în "gura" lui Rorty cele la care te referi, ci "și le-a pus singur". Aștept, apoi, nu să-mi ceri scuze. Ci să taci și să-ți înghiți singur ce ai scos pe gurița matale fără o minimă documentare. Mă gândesc la o soluție mai eficienta. Voi posta chiar acum lucrarea lui Rorty ca să-ți dea, el singur, replica. Și, dacă nu te descurci în engleză, roagă-mă frumos și o să postez, special pentru tine, și versiunea română. Mai menționez că, de data asta, trimiterea din textul meu nu se mai află acolo unde am spus în eseu. Ci la http://files.meetup.com/328570/THE%20DECLINE%20OF%20REDEMPTIVE%20TRUTH%2...
%20THE%20RISE%20OF%20LITERARY%20CULTURE.pdf, de unde am reprodus-o.

Și pentru că acum mi-a sărit rău țandăra, rog conducerea Hermeneiei să-ți suspende contul pentru atac mârșav la persoană.

Aștept răspunsul conducerii Hermeneiei

THE DECLINE OF REDEMPTIVE TRUTH AND THE RISE OF
A LITERARY CULTURE
Questions such as “Does truth exist?” or “Do you believe in truth?” seem
fatuous and pointless. Everybody knows that the difference between true and
false beliefs is as important as that between nourishing and poisonous foods.
Moreover, one of the principal achievements of recent analytic philosophy is to
have shown that the ability to wield the concept of “true belief” is a necessary
condition for being a user of language, and thus for being a rational agent.
Nevertheless, the question “Do you believe in truth or are you one of those
frivolous postmodernists?” is often the first one that journalists ask intellectuals
whom they are assigned to interview. That question now plays the role
previously played by the question “Do you believe in God, or are you one of
those dangerous atheists?”. Literary types are frequently told that they do not
love truth sufficiently. Such admonitions are delivered in the same tones in
which their predecessors were reminded that the fear of the Lord is the
beginning of wisdom.
Obviously, the sense of the word “truth” invoked by that question is not
the everyday one. Nobody is worried about a mere nominalization of the
adjective “true”. The question “do you believe that truth exists?” is shorthand
for something like “Do you think that there is a natural terminus to inquiry, a
way things really are, and that understanding what that way is will tell us what
to do with ourselves?”
Those who, like myself, find themselves accused of postmodernist frivolity
do not think that there is such a terminus. We think that inquiry is just
another name for problem-solving, and we cannot imagine inquiry into how
human beings should live, into what we should make of ourselves, coming to an
end. For solutions to old problems will produce fresh problems, and so on
forever. As with the individual, so with both the society and the species: each
stage of maturation will overcome previous dilemmas only by creating new ones.
Problems about what to do with ourselves, what purposes to serve, differ,
in this respect, from scientific problems. A complete and final unified science, an
harmoniously orchestrated assemblage of scientific theories none of which will
ever need to be revised, is an intelligible goal. Scientific inquiry could,
conceivably, terminate. So if a unified account of the causal relations between
all spatio-temporal events were all that were meant by “truth”, even the most
far-out postmodernist types would have no reason to doubt truth’s existence.
The existence of truth only becomes an issue when another sort of truth is in
question.
I shall use the term ‘redemptive truth’ for a set of beliefs which would end,
once and for all, the process of reflection on what to do with ourselves.
Redemptive truth would not consist in theories about how things interact
causally, but instead would fulfill the need that religion and philosophy have
attempted to satisfy. This is the need to fit everything—every thing, person,
event, idea and poem --into a single context, a context which will somehow reveal
itself as natural, destined, and unique. It would be the only context that would
matter for purposes of shaping our lives, because it would be the only one in
which those lives appear as they truly are. To believe in redemptive truth is to
believe that there is something that stands to human life as elementary physical
particles stand to the four elements—something that is the reality behind the
appearance, the one true description of what is going on, the final secret.
Hope that such a context can be found is one species of a larger genus. The
larger genus is what Heidegger called the hope for authenticity—the hope to be
one’s own person rather than merely the creation of one’s education or one’s
environment. As Heidegger emphasized, to achieve authenticity in this sense is
not necessarily to reject one’s past. It may instead be a matter of reinterpreting
that past so as to make it more suitable for one’s own purposes. What matters is
to have seen one or more alternatives to the purposes that most people take for
granted, and to have chosen among these alternatives--thereby, in some
measure, creating yourself. As Harold Bloom has recently reminded us, the point
of reading a great many books is to become aware of a great number of
alternative purposes, and the point of that is to become an autonomous self.
Autonomy, in this un-Kantian and distinctively Bloomian sense, is pretty much
the same thing as Heideggerian authenticity.
I shall define an intellectual as someone who yearns for Bloomian
autonomy, and is lucky enough to have the money and leisure to do something
about it: to visit different churches or gurus, go to different theatres or
museums, and, above all, to read a lot of different books. Most human beings,
even those who have the requisite money and leisure, are not intellectuals. If they
read books it is not because they seek redemption but either because they wish to
be entertained or distracted, or because they want to become better able to carry
out some antecedent purpose. They do not read books to find out what purposes
to have. The intellectuals do.
Given these definitions of the terms “redemptive truth” and
“intellectual”, I can now state my thesis. It is that the intellectuals of the West
have, since the Renaissance, progressed through three stages: they have hoped
for redemption first from God, then from philosophy, and now from literature.
Monotheistic religion offers hope for redemption through entering into a new
relation to a supremely powerful non-human person. Belief—as in belief in the
articles of a creed—may be only incidental to such a relationship. For
philosophy, however, beliefs are of the essence. Redemption by philosophy is
through the acquisition of a set of beliefs which represent things in the one way
they really are. Literature, finally, offers redemption through making the
acquaintance of as great a variety of human beings as possible. Here again, as in
religion, true belief may be of little importance.
From within a literary culture, religion and philosophy appear as literary
genres. As such, they are optional. Just as an intellectual may opt to read many
poems but few novels, or many novels but few poems, so he or she may read
much philosophy, or much religious writing, but relatively few poems or novels.
The difference between the literary intellectuals’ readings of all these books and
other readings of them is that the inhabitant of a literary culture treats books as
human attempts to meet human needs, rather than as acknowledgements of the
power of a being that is what it is apart from any such needs. God and Truth,
are, respectively the religious and the philosophical names for that sort of being.
The transition from religion to philosophy began with the revival of
Platonism in the Renaissance, the period in which humanists began asking the
same questions about Christian monotheism that Socrates had asked about
Hesiod’s pantheon. Socrates had suggested to Euthyphro that the real question
was not whether one’s actions were pleasing to the gods, but rather which gods
held the correct views about what actions ought to be done. When that latter
question was once again taken seriously, the road lay open to Kant’s conclusion
that even the Holy One of the Gospels must be judged in the light of one’s own
conscience.
The transition from a philosophical to a literary culture began shortly
after Kant, about the time that Hegel warned us that philosophy paints its gray
on gray only when a form of life has grown old. That remark helped the
generation of Kierkegaard and Marx realize that philosophy was never going to
fill the redemptive role that Hegel himself had claimed for it. Hegel’s supremely
ambitious claims for philosophy almost instantly flip-flopped into their
dialectical opposite. His System was no sooner published than it began to be
treated as a self-consuming artifact, the reductio ad absurdum of a form of
intellectual life that suddenly seemed to be on its last legs.
Since Hegel’s time, the intellectuals have been losing faith in philosophy, in
the idea that redemption can come in the form of true beliefs. In the literary
culture which has been emerging during the last two hundred years, the question
“Is it true?” has yielded pride of place to the question “What’s new?” Heidegger
thought that that change was a decline, a shift from serious thinking to mere
gossipy curiosity. (See the discussions of das Gerede and die Neugier in sections
35-36 of Sein und Zeit.) Many fans of natural science, people who otherwise
have no use for Heidegger, would agree with him on this point. On the account I
am offering, however, this change is an advance. It represents a desirable
replacement of bad questions like “What is Being?”, “What is really real?” and
“What is man?” with the sensible question “Does anybody have any new ideas
about what we human beings might manage to make of themselves?”
In its pure form, undiluted by philosophy, religion is a relation to a
non-human person. This relation may be one of adoring obedience, or ecstatic
communion, or quiet confidence, or some combination of these. But it is only
when religion has become mingled with philosophy that this non-cognitive
redemptive relation to a person begins to be mediated by a creed. Only when the
God of the philosophers has begun to replace the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob is correct belief thought to be essential to salvation.
For religion in its uncontaminated form, argument is no more in point
than is belief. To become a New Being in Christ is, Kierkegaard insisted, not the
same sort of thing as being forced to grant the truth of a proposition in the
course of Socratic reflection, or as the outcome of Hegelian dialectic. Insofar as
religion requires belief in a proposition, it is, as Locke said, belief based on the
credit of the proposer rather than belief backed by argument. But beliefs are
irrelevant to the special devotion of the illiterate believer to Demeter, or to the
Virgin of Guadelupe, or to the little fat god on the third altar from the left at
the temple down the street. It is this irrelevance that intellectuals like St. Paul,
Kierkegaard, and Karl Barth—spiritual athletes who relish the thought that
their faith is a folly to the Greeks--hope to recapture.
To take the philosophical ideal of redemptive truth seriously one must
believe both that the life that cannot be successfully argued for is not worth
living, and that persistent argument will lead all inquirers to the same set of
beliefs. Religion and literature, insofar as they are uncontaminated by
philosophy, share neither of these convictions. Uncontaminated religion may be
monotheistic in the sense that a community may think it essential to worship
only one particular god. But the idea that there can be only one god, that
polytheism is contrary to reason, is one that can only take hold after philosophy
has convinced us that every human being’s reflections must lead to the same
outcome.
As I am using the terms “literature” and “literary culture”, a culture
which has substituted literature for both religion and philosophy finds
redemption neither in a non-cognitive relation to a non-human person nor in a
cognitive relation to propositions, but in non-cognitive relations to other human
beings, relations mediated by human artifacts such as books and buildings,
paintings and songs. These artifacts provide glimpses of alternative ways of being
human. This sort of culture drops a presupposition common to religion and
philosophy—that redemption must come from one’s relation to something that is
not just one more human creation,
Kierkegaard rightly said that philosophy began to set up itself up as a rival
to religion when Socrates suggested that our self-knowledge was a knowledge of
God—that we had no need of help from a non-human person, because the truth
was already within us. But literature began to set itself up as a rival to
philosophy when people like Cervantes and Shakespeare began to suspect that
human beings were, and ought to be, so diverse that there is no point in
pretending that they all carry a single truth deep in their bosoms. Santayana
pointed to this seismic cultural shift in his essay “The absence of religion in
Shakespeare”. That essay might equally well have called “The absence of either
religion or philosophy in Shakespeare” or simply “The absence of truth in
Shakespeare”.
I suggested earlier that “do you believe in truth?” can be given both sense
and urgency if it is reformulated as “Do you think that there is a single set of
beliefs which can serve a redemptive role in the lives of all human beings, which
can be rationally justified to all human beings under optimal communicative
conditions, and which will thus form the natural terminus of inquiry?” To
answer “yes” to this reformulated question is to take philosophy as the guide of
life. It is to agree with Socrates that there is a set of beliefs which is both
susceptible of rational justification and such as to take rightful precedence over
every other consideration in determining what to do with one’s life. The premise
of philosophy is that there is a way things really are—a way humanity and the
rest of the universe are and always will be, independent of any merely contingent
human needs and interests. Knowledge of this way is redemptive. It can
therefore replace religion. The striving for Truth can take place of the search for
God.
It is not clear that Homer, or even Sophocles, could have made sense of this
suggestion. Before Plato dreamt them up, the constellation of ideas necessary to
make sense of it were not available. But Cervantes and Shakespeare both
understood Plato’s suggestion and distrusted his motives. Their distrust led them
to play up diversity and downplay commonality---to underline the differences
between human beings rather than looking for a common human nature. This
change of emphasis weakens the grip of the Platonic assumption that all these
different sorts of people should be arranged in a hierarchy, judged on the basis
of their relative success at attaining a single goal. Initiatives like Cervantes’ and
Shakespeare’s helped create a new sort of intellectual—one who does not take
the availability of redemptive truth for granted, and is not much interested in
whether either God or Truth exist.
This change helped create today’s high culture, one to which religion and
philosophy have become marginal. To be sure, there are still numerous religious
intellectuals, and even more philosophical ones. But bookish youngsters in
search of redemption nowadays look first to novels, plays, and poems. The sort
of books which the eighteenth century thought of as marginal have become
central. The authors of Rasselas and of Candide helped bring about, but could
hardly have foreseen, a culture in which the most revered writers neither write
nor read either sermons, or treatises on the nature of man and the universe.
For members of the literary culture, redemption is to be achieved by
getting in touch with the present limits of the human imagination. That is why a
literary culture is always in search of novelty, always hoping to spot what Shelley
called “the shadows that futurity casts upon the present”, rather than trying to
escape from the temporal to the eternal. It is a premise of this culture that
though the imagination has present limits, these limits are capable of being
extended forever. The imagination endlessly consumes its own artifacts. It is an
ever-living, ever-expanding, fire. It is as subject to time and chance as are the
flies and the worms, but while it endures and preserves the memory of its past, it
will continue to transcend its previous limits. Though the fear of belatedness is
ever present within the literary culture, this very fear makes for an intenser
blaze.
The sort of person I am calling a “literary intellectual” thinks that a life
that is not lived close to the present limits of the human imagination is not worth
living. For the Socratic idea of self-examination and self-knowledge, the literary
intellectual substitutes the idea of enlarging the self by becoming acquainted
with still more ways of being human. For the religious idea that a certain book
or tradition might connect you up with a supremely powerful or supremely
lovable non-human person, the literary intellectual substitutes the Bloomian
thought that the more books you read, the more ways of being human you have
considered, the more human you become—the less tempted by dreams of an
escape from time and chance, the more convinced that we humans have nothing
to rely on save one another.
********************
I hope that what I have said so far has given some plausibility to my thesis
that the last five centuries of Western intellectual life may usefully be thought of
first as progress from religion to philosophy, and then from philosophy to
literature. I call it progress because I see philosophy as a transitional stage in a
process of gradually increasing self-reliance. The great virtue of our new-found
literary culture is that it tells young intellectuals that the only source of
redemption is the human imagination, and that this fact should occasion pride
rather than despair.
The idea of redemptive truth requires the conviction that a set of beliefs
which can be justified to all human beings will also fill all the needs of all human
beings. But that idea was an inherently unstable compromise between the
masochistic urge to submit to the non-human and the need to take proper pride
in our humanity. Redemptive truth is an attempt to find something which is not
made by human beings but to which human beings have a special, privileged
relation not shared by the animals. The intrinsic nature of things is like a god in
its independence of us, and yet—so Socrates and Hegel tell us-- self-knowledge
will suffice to get us in touch with it. One way to see the quest for knowledge of
such a quasi-divinity is as Sartre saw it: it is a futile passion, a foredoomed
attempt to become a for-itself-in-itself. But it would be better to see philosophy
as one our greatest imaginative achievements, on a par with the invention of the
gods.
Philosophers have often described religion as a primitive and insufficiently
unreflective attempt to philosophize. But, as I said earlier, a fully self-conscious
literary culture would describe both religion and philosophy as relatively
primitive, yet glorious, literary genres. They are genres in which it is now
becoming increasingly difficult to write, but the genres which are replacing them
might never have emerged had they not been read as swerves away from religion,
and later as swerves away from philosophy. Religion and philosophy are not
merely, from this point of view, ladders to be thrown away. Rather, they are
stages in a process of maturation, a process which we should continually look
back to, and recapitulate, in the hope of attaining still greater self-reliance.
In the hope of making this account of philosophy as a transitional genre
more plausible, I shall say something about the two great movements in which
philosophy culminated. Philosophy began to come into its own when the
thinkers of the Enlightenment no longer had to hide themselves behind the sort
of masks worn by Descartes, Hobbes and Spinoza, and were able to be openly
atheistic. These masks could be dropped after the French Revolution. That
event, by making it plausible that human beings might build a new heaven and
a new earth, made God seem far less necessary than before.
That new-found self-reliance produced the two great metaphysical systems
in which philosophy culminated. First came the metaphysics of German
idealism, and second, the reaction against idealism which was materialist
metaphysics, the apotheosis of the results of natural science. The first movement
belongs to the past. Materialist metaphysics, however, is still with us. It is, in
fact, pretty much the only version of redemptive truth presently on offer. It is
philosophy’s last hurrah, its last attempt to provide redemptive truth and
thereby avoid being demoted to the status of a literary genre.
This is not the place to recapitulate the rise and fall of German idealism,
nor to eulogize what Heidegger called “the greatness, breadth, and originality of
that spiritual world.” It suffices for my present purposes to say that Hegel, the
most original of the idealists, believed himself to be have given the first
satisfactory proof of the existence of God, and the first satisfactory solution to
the traditional theological problem of evil. He was, in his own eyes, the first
fully successful natural theologian—the first to reconcile Socrates with Christ by
showing that the Incarnation was not an act of grace on God’s part but rather a
necessity. “God”, Hegel said, “had to have a Son” because eternity is nothing
without time, God nothing without man, Truth nothing without its historical
emergence.
In Hegel’s eyes, the Platonic hope of escape from the temporal to the
eternal was a primitive, albeit necessary, stage of philosophical thinking—a stage
that the Christian doctrine of Incarnation has helped us outgrow. Now that Kant
has opened the way to seeing mind and world as interdependent, Hegel believed,
we are in a position to see that philosophy can bridge the Kantian distinction
between the phenomenal and the noumenal, just as Christ’s stay on earth
overcame the distinction between God and man.
Idealist metaphysics seemed both true and demonstrable to some of the
best minds of the nineteenth century. Josiah Royce, for example, wrote book
after book arguing that Hegel was right: simple armchair reflection on the
presuppositions of common sense, exactly the sort of philosophizing that Socrates
practiced and commended, will lead you to recognize the truth of pantheism as
surely as reflection on geometrical diagrams will lead you to the Pythagorean
Theorem. But the verdict of the literary culture on this metaphysics was nicely
formulated by Kierkegaard when he said “Had Hegel written at the end of his
System of Logic ‘this was all just a thought-experiment’ he would have been the
greatest thinker who ever lived. As it is he is merely a buffoon.”
I would rephrase Kierkegaard’s point as follows: if Hegel had been able to
stop thinking that he had given us redemptive truth, and claimed instead to
have given us something better than redemptive truth—namely a way of holding
all the previous products of the human imagination together in a single
vision—he would have been the first philosopher to admit that a better cultural
product than philosophy had come on the market. He would have been the first
philosopher to self-consciously replace philosophy with literature, just as
Socrates and Plato were the first self-consciously to replace religion with
philosophy. But instead Hegel presented himself as having discovered Absolute
Truth, and men like Royce took him with a seriousness which now strikes us as
both endearing and ludicrous. So it was left to Nietzsche, in THE BIRTH OF
TRAGEDY, to tell us that the premise common to Socrates and Hegel should be
rejected, and that the invention of the idea of self-knowledge was a great
imaginative achievement that has outlived its usefulness.
Between Hegel’s time and Nietzsche’s, however, there arose the second of
the great philosophical movements, one which bore the same relation to
Democritus and Lucretius that Hegel had borne to Parmenides and Plotinus.
This was the attempt to put natural science in the place of both religion and
Socratic reflection, to see empirical inquiry as providing exactly what Socrates
thought it could never give us—redemptive truth.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, it had become clear that
mathematics and empirical science were going to be the only areas of culture in
which one might conceivably hope to get unanimous, rational agreement—the
only disciplines able to provide beliefs which would not be overturned as history
rolls along. They were the only sources of cumulative results, and of propositions
which were plausible candidates for the status of insight into the way things are
in themselves, independent of the contingencies of human history. Unified
natural science still seems to many intellectuals to be the answer to Socrates’
prayers.
On the other hand, pretty much everybody in the nineteenth century had
come to agree with Hume that Plato’s model of cognitive
success—mathematics—was never going to offer us anything redemptive. Only a
few flaky neo-Pythagoreans still saw mathematics has having more than
practical and aesthetic interest. So nineteenth century positivists drew the moral
that the only other source of rational agreement and unshakable truth, empirical
science, just had to have a redemptive function. Since philosophy had always
taught that an account which bound everything together into a coherent whole
would have redemptive value, and since the collapse of idealist metaphysics had
left materialism as the only possible candidate for such an account, the positvists
concluded that natural science was all the philosophy we would ever need.
This project of giving redemptive status to empirical science still appealse
to two sorts of present-day intellectuals. The first is the kind of philosopher who
insists that natural science attains objective truth in a way that no other portion
of culture does. These philosophers usually go on to claim that the natural
scientist is the paradigmatic possessor of intellectual virtues, notably the love of
truth, which are scarcely to seek among literary critics. The second sort of
intellectual who continues along the lines laid down by the nineteenth century
positivists is the kind of scientist who announces that the latest work is in his
discipline has deep philosophical implications: that advances in evolutionary
biology or cognitive science, for example, do more than tell us how things work
and what they are made of. They also tell us, these scientists say, something
about how to live, about human nature, about what we really are. They provide,
if not redemption, at least wisdom—not merely instructions on how to produce
more effective tools for getting what we want but wise counsel about what we
should want.
I shall take up these two groups of people separately. The problem about
the attempt by philosophers to treat the empirical scientist as a paradigm of
intellectual virtue is that the astrophysicists’ love of truth seems no different
from that of the classical philologist or the archive-oriented historian. All these
people are trying hard to get something right. So, when it comes to that, are the
master carpenter, the skilled accountant, and the careful surgeon. The need to
get it right is central to all these people’s sense of who they are, of what makes
their lives worthwhile.
It is certainly the case that without people whose lives are centered around
this need we should never have had much in the way of civilization. The free
play of the imagination is possible only because of the substructure which
literal-minded people have built. No artisans, no poets. No theoretical scientists
to provide the technology of an industrialized world, few people with sufficient
money to send their children off to be initiated into a literary culture. But there
is no reason to take the contributions of the natural scientist to this substructure
as having a moral or philosophical significance that is lacking in those of the
carpenter, the accountant, and the surgeon.
John Dewey thought that the fact that the mathematical physicist enjoys
greater prestige than the skilled artisan is an unfortunate legacy of the
Platonic-Aristotelian distinction between eternal truths and empirical truth, the
elevation of leisured contemplation above sweaty practicality. His point might be
restated by saying that the prestige of the scientific theorist is an unfortunate
legacy of the Socratic idea that what we can all, as a result of rational debate,
agree to be true is a reflection of something more than the fact of
agreement—the idea that intersubjective agreement under ideal communicative
conditions is a token of correspondence to the way things really are.
The current debate among analytic philosophers about whether truth is a
matter of correspondence to reality, and the parallel debate over Kuhn’s denial
that science is asymptotically approaching the really real, are disputes between
those who see empirical science as fulfilling at least some of Plato’s hopes and
those who think that those hopes should be abandoned. The former philosophers
take it as a matter of unquestionable common sense that adding a brick to the
edifice of knowledge is a matter of more accurately aligning thought and
language with the way things really are. Their philosophical opponents take this
so-called common sense to be merely what Dewey thought it: a relic of the
religious hope that redemption can come from contact with something
non-human and supremely powerful. To abandon the latter idea, the idea that
links philosophy with religion, would mean acknowledging both the ability of
scientists to add bricks to the edifice of knowledge and the practical utility of
scientific theories for prediction while insisting on the irrelevance of both
achievements to searches for redemption.
These debates among the analytic philosophers have little to do with the
activities of the second sort of people whom I have labeled “materialist
metaphysicians”. These are the scientists who think that the public at large
should take an interest in the latest discoveries about the genome, or cerebral
localization, or child development, or quantum mechanics. Such scientists are
good at dramatizing the contrast between the old scientific theories and the shiny
new ones, but they are bad at explaining why we should care about the
difference. They are in the same situation as critics of art and literature who are
good at pointing to the differences between novels of the 1890’s and those of the
1920’s, or between what filled the art galleries ten years ago and what fills them
now, but bad at explaining why these changes are important.
There is, however, a difference between such critics and the sort of
scientists I am talking about. The former usually have the sense to avoid the
mistake Clement Greenberg made—the mistake of claiming that what fills the
art galleries this year is what all the ages have been leading up to, and that there
is an inner logic to the history of the products of the imagination that has now
reached its destined outcome. But the scientists still retain the idea that the latest
product of the scientific imagination is not just an improvement on what was
previously imagined, but is also closer to the intrinsic nature of things. That is
why they found Kuhn’s suggestion that they think of themselves as problem
solvers so insulting. Their rhetoric remains “We have substituted reality for
appearance!” rather than “We have solved some long-standing problems!” or
“We have made it new!”
The trouble with this rhetoric is that it puts a glossy metaphysical varnish
on a useful scientific product. It suggests that we have not only learned more
about how to predict and control our environment and ourselves but also done
something more—something of redemptive significance. But the successive
achievements of modern science exhausted their philosophical significance when
they made clear that a causal account of the relations between spatio-temporal
events did not require the operation of non-physical forces—when it showed us
that there are no spooks.
Modern science, in short, has helped us see that if you want a metaphysics,
then a materialistic metaphysics is the only one to have. But it has not given us
any reason to think that we need a metaphysics. The need for metaphysics
lasted only as long as the hope for redemptive truth lasted. But by the time that
materialism triumphed over idealism, this hope had waned. So the reaction of
most contemporary intellectuals to gee-whiz announcements of new scientific
discoveries is “So what?” This reaction is not, as C. P. Snow thought, a matter
of pretentious and ignorant litterateurs condescending to honest, hard-working
empirical inquirers. It is the perfectly sensible reaction of someone who wants to
know about ends and is offered information about means.
The literary culture’s attitude toward materialist metaphysics is, and
should be, something like this: whereas both Plato’s and Hegel’s attempts to give
us something more interesting than physics were laudable attempts to find a
redemptive discipline to put in the place of religion, a materialist metaphysics is
just physics getting above itself. Modern science is a gloriously imaginative way
of describing things, brilliantly successful for the purpose for which it was
developed—namely, predicting and controlling phenomena. But it should not
pretend to have the sort of redemptive power claimed by its defeated rival,
idealist metaphysics.
Questions of the “So what?” sort began to be posed to scientists by
intellectuals of the nineteenth century who were gradually learning, as Nietzsche
was to put it, to see science through the optic of art, and art through that of life.
Nietzsche’s master Emerson was one such figure, and Baudelaire another.
Although many of the literary intellectuals of this period thought of themselves
as having transcended Romanticism, they nevertheless could agree with Schiller
that the further maturation of mankind will be achieved through what Kant
called “the aesthetic” rather than through what he called “the ethical”. They
could also endorse Shelley’s claim that the great task of human emancipation
from priests and tyrants could have been accomplished without “Locke, Hume,
Gibbon, Voltaire and Rousseau” but that “it exceeds all imagination to conceive
what would have been the moral condition of the world if neither Dante,
Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Calderon, Lord Bacon nor Milton,
had ever existed; if Raphael and Michael Angelo had never been born; if the
Hebrew poetry had never been translated, if a revival of the study of Greek
literature had never taken place, if no monuments of ancient sculpture had been
handed down to us, and if the poetry and the religion of the ancient world had
been extinguished together with its belief”.
What Shelley said of Locke and Hume he might also have said of Galileo,
Newton and Lavoisier. What each of them said was well argued, useful, and true.
But the sort of truth that is the product of successful argument cannot, Shelley
thought, improve our moral condition. Of Galileo’s and Locke’s productions we
may reasonably ask “Yes, but is it true?” But there is little point, Shelley rightly
thought, in asking this question about Milton. “Objectively true”, in the sense
of “such as to gain permanent assent from all future members of the relevant
expert culture”, is not a notion that will ever be useful to literary intellectuals,
for the progress of the literary imagination is not a matter of accumulating
results.
We philosophers who are accused of not having sufficient respect for
objective truth—the ones whom the materialist metaphysicians like to call
“postmodern relativists”—think of objectivity as intersubjectivity. So we can
happily agree that scientists achieve objective truth in a way that litterateurs do
not, simply because scientists are organized into expert cultures in a way that
literary intellectuals should not even try to organize themselves. You can have an
expert culture if you agree on what you want to get, but not if you are
wondering what sort of life you ought to desire. We know what purposes
scientific theories are supposed to serve. But we are not now, and never will be,
in a position to say what purposes novels, poems and plays are supposed to serve.
For such books continually redefine our purposes.
*******************************
So far I have said nothing about the relation of the literary culture to
politics. I want to close by turning to that topic. For the quarrel between those
who see the rise of the literary culture as a good thing and those who see it as a
bad thing is largely a quarrel about what sort of high culture will do most to
create and sustain the climate of tolerance that flourishes best in democratic
societies.
Those who argue that a science-centered culture is best for this purpose set
the love of truth over against hatred, passion, prejudice, superstition, and all the
other forces of unreason from which Socrates and Plato claimed that philosophy
could save us. But those on the other side hope are dubious about the Platonic
opposition between reason and unreason. They see no need to relate the
difference between tolerant conversability and stiff-necked unwillingness to hear
the other side to a distinction between a higher part of ourselves that enables us
to achieve redemption by getting in touch with non-human reality and another
part which is merely animal.
The strong point of those who think that a proper respect for objective
truth, and thus for science, is important for sustaining a climate of tolerance and
good will is that argument is essential to both science and democracy. Both when
choosing between alternative scientific theories and when choosing between
alternative pieces of legislation, we want people to base their decisions on
arguments—arguments that start from premises which can be made plausible to
anyone who cares to look into the matter.
The priests rarely provided such arguments, nor do the literary
intellectuals. So it is tempting to think of a preference for literature over science
as a rejection of argument in favor of oracular pronouncements—a regression to
something uncomfortably like the pre-philosophical, religious, stage of Western
intellectual life. Seen from this perspective, the rise of a literary culture looks
like the treason of the clerks.
But those of us who rejoice in the emergence of the literary culture can
counter this charge by saying that although argumentation is essential for
projects of social cooperation, redemption is an individual, private, matter. Just
as the rise of religious toleration depended on making a distinction between the
needs of society and the needs of the individual, and on saying that religion was
not necessary for the former, so the literary culture asks us to disjoin political
deliberation from projects of redemption. This means acknowledging that their
private hopes for authenticity and autonomy should be left at home when the
citizens of a democratic society foregather to deliberate about what is to be done.
Making this move amounts to saying: the only way in which science is
relevant to politics is that the natural scientists provide a good example of social
cooperation, of an expert culture in which argumentation flourishes. They
thereby provide a model for political deliberation—a model of honesty,
tolerance, and trust. This ability is a matter of procedure rather than results,
which is why gangs of carpenters or teams of engineers can provide as good a
model as do departments of astrophysics. The difference between reasoned
agreement on how to solve a problem that has arisen in the course of
constructing a house or a bridge and reasoned agreement on what physicists
sometimes call “a theory of everything” is, in this context, irrelevant. For
whatever the last theory of everything tells us, it will do nothing to provide
either political guidance or individual redemption.
The claim I have just made may seem arrogant and dogmatic, for it is
certainly the case that some results of empirical inquiry have, in the past, made a
difference to our self-image. Galileo and Darwin expelled various varieties of
spooks by showing the sufficiency of a materialist account. They thereby made it
much easier for us to move from a religious high culture to a secular, merely
philosophical, one. So my argument on behalf of the literary culture depends on
the claim that getting rid of spooks, of causal agency that does not supervene on
the behavior of elementary particles, has exhausted the utility of natural science
for either redemptive or political purposes.
I do not put this claim forward as a result of philosophical reasoning or
insight, but merely as a prediction about the future holds in store. A similar
prediction led the philosophers of the eighteenth century to think that the
Christian religion had done about all that it could for the moral condition of
humanity, and that it was time to put religion behind us and to put metaphysics,
either idealist or materialist, in its place. When literary intellectuals assume
that natural science has nothing to offer us except an edifying example of
tolerant conversability, they are doing something analogous to what the
philosophes did when they said that even the best of the priests had nothing to
offer us save edifying examples of charity and decency. Reducing science from a
possible source of redemptive truth to a model of rational cooperation is the
contemporary analogue of the reduction of the Gospels from a recipe for
attaining eternal happiness to a compendium of sound moral advice. That was
the sort of reduction that Kant and Jefferson recommended, and that liberal
Protestants of the last two centuries have gradually achieved.
To put this last point another way: both the Christian religion and
materialist metaphysics turned out to be self-consuming artifacts. The need for
religious orthodoxy was undermined by St. Paul’s insistence on the primacy of
love, and by the gradual realization that a religion of love could not ask everyone
to recite the same creed. The need for a metaphysics was undermined by the
ability of modern science to see the human mind as an exceptionally complex
nervous system and thus to see itself in pragmatic rather than metaphysical
terms. Science showed us how to see empirical inquiry as the use of this extra
physiological equipment to gain steadily greater mastery over the environment,
rather than as a way of replacing appearance with reality. Just as the eighteenth
century became able to see Christianity not as a revelation from on high but as
continuous with Socratic reflection, so the twentieth century became able to see
natural science not as revealing the intrinsic nature of reality but as continuous
with the sort of practical problem-solving that both beavers and carpenters are
good at.
To give up the idea that there is an intrinsic nature of reality to be
discovered either by the priests, or the philosophers, or the scientists, is to disjoin
the need for redemption from the search for universal agreement. It is to give up
the search for an accurate account of human nature, and thus for a recipe for
leading The Good Life for Man. Once these searches are given up, expanding the
limits of the human imagination steps forward to assume the role that obedience
to the divine will played in a religious culture, and the role that discovery of
what is really real played in a philosophical culture. But this substitution is no
reason to give up the search for a single utopian form of political life--the Good
Global Society.
******************************
I have now said all I can to counter the suggestion that the rise of the
literary culture is a relapse into irrationality, and that a proper respect for the
ability of science to achieve objective truth is essential to the morale of a
democratic society. But there is a related suggestion, much vaguer and harder to
pin down, but perhaps no less persuasive. This is that a literary culture is
decadent—that it lacks the healthy-mindedness and vigor common to
proselytizing Christians, science-worshipping positivists, and Marxist
revolutionaries. A high culture centered around literature, one that wishes not to
get things right but to make things new, will, it is often said, be a culture of
languid and self-involved aesthetes.
The best rebuttal to this suggestion is Oscar Wilde’s “The soul of man
under socialism”. The message of that essay parallels those of Mill’s On Liberty
and of Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. It is that the only point of getting rid of the
priests and the kings, of setting up democratic governments, of taking from each
according to her abilities and giving to each according to her needs, and of
thereby creating the Good Global Society, is to make it possible for people to
lead the sort of lives they prefer, as long as their doing so does not diminish the
opportunities of other humans to do the same thing. As Wilde put it “Socialism
itself will be of value simply because it will lead to Individualism”. Part of
Wilde’s point is that there can be no objection to self-involved aesthetes—that is
to say, people whose passion is to explore the present limits of the human
imagination--as long as they do not use more than their fair share of the social
product.
This claim itself, however, strikes many people as decadent. We were not,
they would urge, put on this earth to enjoy ourselves, but to do the right thing.
Socialism, they think, would not stir our hearts were it no more than a means to
Individualism, or if the goal of proletarian revolution were merely to make it
possible for everybody to become a bourgeois intellectual. This sense that human
existence has some point other than pleasure is what keeps the battle between
Mill and Kant alive in courses on moral philosophy, just as the sense that
natural science must have some point other than practical problem-solving keeps
the struggle between Kuhn and his opponents alive in courses in philosophy of
science. Mill and Kuhn—and, more generally, utilitarians and pragmatists--are
still suspected of letting down the side, diminishing human dignity, reducing our
noblest aspirations to self-indulgent stimulation of our favorite clusters of
neurons.
The antagonism between those who think, with Schiller and Wilde, that
human beings are at their best when at play, and those who think that they are
at their best when they strive, seems to me at the bottom of the conflicts that
have marked the rise of the literary culture. Once again, I would urge that these
conflicts be seen as recapitulating those that marked the transition from religion
to philosophy. In that earlier transition, the people who thought that a human
life which did not strive for perfect obedience to the divine will was a relapse into
animality faced off against those who thought that the ideal of such submission
was unworthy of beings who could think for themselves. In the current
transition, the people who think that we need to hang onto Kantian ideas like
“the moral law” and “things as they are in themselves” are facing off against
people who think that these ideas are symptoms of insufficient self-reliance, of a
self-deceptive attempt to find dignity in the acceptance of bondage and freedom
in the recognition of constraint.
The only way to resolve this sort of quarrel, it seems to me, is to say that
the kinds of people to whom a utopian society would give the resources and the
leisure to do their individualistic thing will include Kantian strivers as well as
self-involved aesthetes, people who cannot live without religion and people who
despise it, nature’s metaphysicians as well as nature’s pragmatists. For in this
utopia, as Rawls has said, there will be no need for people to agree on the point
of human existence, the good life for man, or any other topic of similar
generality.
If people who heartily disagree about such issues can agree to cooperate in
the functioning of the practices and institutions that have, in Wilde’s words,
“substituted cooperation for competition”, that will suffice. The Kant vs. Mill
issue, like the issue between metaphysicians and pragmatists, will seem as little
worth quarreling about as will the issue between the believers and the atheists.
For we humans need not agree about the Nature or the End of Man in order to
help facilitate our neighbor’s ability to act on her own convictions on these
matters, just so long as those actions do not interfere with our freedom to act on
our own convictions.
In short, just as we have, in the past few centuries, learned that the
difference of opinion between the believer and the atheist does not have to be
settled before the two can cooperate on communal projects, so we may learn to
set aside all the differences between all the various searches for redemption when
we cooperate to build Wilde’s utopia. In that utopia, the literary culture will not
be the only, or even the dominant, form of high culture.
That is because there will be no dominant form. High culture will no
longer be thought of as the place where the aim of the society as a whole is
debated and decided, and where it is a matter of social concern which sort of
intellectual is ruling the roost. Nor will there be much concern about the gap
that yawns between popular culture, the culture of people who have never felt
the need for redemption, and the high culture of the intellectuals—the people
who are always wanting to be something more or different than they presently
are. In utopia, the religious or philosophical need to live up to the non-human,
and the need of the literary intellectuals to explore the present limits of the
human imagination will be viewed as matters of taste. They will be viewed by
non-intellectuals in the same relaxed, tolerant and uncomprehending way that
we presently regard our neighbor’s obsession with birdwatching, or macrame, or
collecting hubcaps, or discovering the secrets of the Great Pyramid.
To get along in utopia, however, the literary intellectuals will have to tone
down their rhetoric. Certain passages in Wilde will not bear repeating, as when
he speaks of “the poets, the philosophers, the men of science, the men of
culture—in a world, the real men, the me who have realized themselves, and in
whom all humanity gains a partial realization”. The idea that some men are
more really men than others contradicts Wilde’s own better wisdom, as when he
says “There is no one type for man. There are as many perfections as there are
imperfect men.” The same words might have been written by Nietzsche, but to
take them seriously we must actively forget Zarathustra’s contempt for the “last
men”, the men who feel no need for redemption. In utopia, the literary culture
will have learned not to give itself airs. It will no longer feel the temptation to
make invidious and quasi-metaphysical distinctions between real and less real
men.
To sum up, I am suggesting that we see the literary culture as itself a
self-consuming artifact, and perhaps the last of its kind. For in utopia the
intellectuals will have given up the idea that there is a standard against which
the products of the human imagination can be measured other than their social
utility, as this utility is judged by a maximally free, leisured and tolerant global
community. They will have stopped thinking that the human imagination is
getting somewhere, that there is one far off cultural event toward which all
cultural creation moves. They will have given up the identification of redemption
with the attainment of perfection. They will have taken fully to heart the maxim
that it is the journey that matters.
Richard Rorty
November 2, 2000

Revistă literară: 

Comentarii

Domnule Manolescu, îmi dau seama că v-a sărit țandăra (habar nu aveți ce înseamnă ”atac la persoană” și strigați ca din gură de șarpe), dar respirați puțin și hai să vedem ce ați făcut. Încă nu am citit textul, dar o să am timp ceva mai târziu, iar provocarea mea a fost una de principiu. Dacă Rorty ”și le-a pus singur” acele cuvinte în gură, de ce nu-l citați în ghilimele, fără a vă însuși dumneavoastră judecățile lui? Dialogurile acestea imaginare pe care le scorniți sfidează atât drepturile de autor ale filosofului, cât și bunul simț al literaturii. Așadar am să citesc textul când îmi va permite timpul (chiar îl am de câteva zile pe Rorty în atenție și am dat brusc peste textul dvoastră), și vreau să vă liniștesc, ceea ce am făcut nu e atac la persoană, ci e provocarea unei discuții pe text. Iar dacă mi se va suspenda contul (ceea ce nu-mi vine să cred, dar nu știu care sunt relațiile dumneavoastră cu editorii de aici), fiți sigur că nu o să vă contactez pe nici un e-mail, facem aici discuție serioasă pe text, sau nu facem nimic.

Ca sa precizam lucrurile. 1. Am semnalat, din start, articolul lui Rorty pe baza caruia am scris eseul. Asa ca scuza dumitale cum ca nu am pus intre ghilimele la ce am preluat este, ca sa ma exprim eufemistic, superflua. 2. Am postat textul lui Rorty pentru ca, dumneata, sa poti verifica ce afirmi, inainte de a afirma ceva. 3. Aluzia dumitale cel putin ignobila ("nu știu care sunt relațiile dumneavoastră cu editorii de aici") - ca sa nu zic altfel - la anumite "relatii oculte" cu....s.a.m.d nu face decat sa te descalifice definitiv. 4. Si acum, o marturisire personala, cred (in sufletul meu) ca sunt de mii de ori mai religios (si ortodox crestin si asta nu citand tot soiul de "citate" din Scripturi pe care, te asigur, ca le-am citit si, sper, ca le-am si inteles, atat in spiritul cat si in litera lor, ci pe baza anumitor experiente personale, dincolo de cuvinte) decat altii. Dar asta nu ma face sa-mi pierd cumpatul si sa nu accept si alte puncte de vedera intr-o discutie civilizata. Astept discutia cu dumneata, de data asta chiar civilizata, pe marginea textului lui Rorty pe care, singur recunosti ca nu ai avut minima obligatie (sa-i zic morala) sa-l consulti (oricand puteai sa dai un search pe google si sa-l gasesti, chiar daca nu mai era la adresa indicata de subsemnatul atunci cand am scris eseul). Si nu sa recurgi la cele de genul "nu vi se pare penibil să puneți în gura unuia ca Rorty astfel de aberații". 5. Reiterez solicitarea conducerii Hermenei de suspendare a contului dumitale, in masura in care nu vei da un raspuns credibil la obiectiile mele si vei continua cu niste derefulari de care nu este nimeni vinovat ca le ai. Si care, chiar cred, ca nu prea intereseaza pe nimeni altcineva decat pe propria dumitale persona; ca nu pot vorbi de "sine" care e cu totul altceva decat "persoana", "eu-l" ("ego-ul") etc. de care tot vorbeste psihologia, "Sinele" asta pe care nu se poate pune mana, dar - cu certitudine - exista (cel putin pentru mine).

Domnule Manolescu, mă bucur că ați revenit la sentimente mai pașnice. Vă mulțumesc pentru articolul reprodus aici. Cartea lui Rorty care mă interesează este rezultatul unei dispute din 2002, ”La ce bun adevărul?”, deci articolul la care faceți referire e ceva mai vechiuț, dar cred că o să-mi prindă bine. Am să vă comunic părerea mea. Vă mulțumesc de asemenea pentru mâna întinsă cu traducerea. O să vă anunț dacă va fi cazul. Văd că în sfârșit sunteți dispus să discutăm civilizat, deci v-aș ruga să nu mai încercați să mă intimidați, că nu o să țină. Ultimul text al domniei voastre postat aici, care nu-mi este străin, îl simt tot ca pe o reacție, pe care mă voi feri să o (des)calific, adresată profesiei mele. Vă asigur însă că iarăși nu ține, chiar dacă frizați deja anumite limite. Dacă veți reuși să lăsați la o parte și astfel de ”artificii”, cred că va ieși o discuție interesantă, principială, dar care de data aceasta nu va fi imaginară. Foarte pe scurt o să vă răspund la cele 5 puncte (deocamdată): 1. A pune ghilimele în orice condiții ale citării, ține de elementara deontologie a cercetării și a unei dispute credibile. Eu am să o fac pe viitor acolo unde va fi cazul, pentru ca lucrurile să fie clare. 2. Pentru postarea textului v-am mulțumit deja. 3. Văzându-vă verva, mă refeream la faptul că probabil veți putea obține suspendare mea pe care o clamați, pe ”căi prietenești”, căci nu mi se părea absolut deloc că aș fi făcut un ”atac la persoană”, cererea dumneavoastră nefiind întemeiată. 4. Insinuați că sunteți ”de mii de ori mai religios” decât mine. Asta nu poate decât să mă bucure. Poate mă lămuriți și pe mine ce înseamnă ”a fi religios”. De acord cu dumneavoastră că experiențele personale contează cel mai mult. Totodată observ că ”dialogul” postat de dumneavoastră doriți să-l numim ”eseu”. O să țin seama și de asta, chiar dacă este cu totul altceva. Dar fiind eseu, cu atât mai mult ar fi trebuit ghilimelele în cazul citatelor, în primul rând pentru ca cititorul să știe unde textul este autentic Rorty și unde este doar imaginația eseistului. Iar acum, dacă avem textul în față, eu sper cât de curând și cartea, cred că putem evita neprofesionalul ”search pe Google” (e drept, util până la anumit punct). 5. Vă mulțumesc din nou, că de data aceasta condiționați suspendarea mea. Apoi, țin să vă asigur că nu e vorba de refulări, e vorba doar de spirit critic de a discerne adevărata natură a scrierilor și opiniilor filosofilor în cauză. Chiar în finalul comentariului de mai sus faceți niște aserțiuni cu privire la ”sine” și ”persoană”, care pentru moment mi se par ușor confuze, sau exprimarea nu este cea mai potrivită, și nici nu văd relevanța lor pentru discuția de față. Totodată nutresc speranța că aceste răspunsuri la obiecțiile dumneavoastră mă vor exonera de suspendarea propusă și abia aștept să intrăm în miezul problemei. Rugămintea mea este una singură și e în legătură cu redactarea corectă a numelui meu. Și dacă puteți să vă țineți deoparte de referințe malițioase cu privire la profesia mea, v-aș fi recunoscător, iar dumneavoastră nu veți avea decât de câștigat. Dar mă descurc și în caz contrar. Mulțumesc. Pe curând.

Propunere: Întrucât cuvântul "redemptiv" nu există în limba română, dar văd că îl folosiți, vă propun totuși, căci nu noi inventăm acum limba, să găsim o expresie mulțumitoare, pentru ca lumea să ne înțeleagă și în primul rând noi înșine să ne înțelegem. Și ca să facem lumină, ce-i cu acest redemptiv, căci sunt convins că nu mulți cunosc semnificația termenilor teologici consacrați. Am vobservat că ați evitat elegant termenul. Eu zic măcar să-l numim la început. Eu aș folosi chiar "adevăr mântuitor" , de vreme ce un filosof pragmatist îl numește așa, cu termenul teologic consacrat, cred că o putem face și noi. Alte variante ar fi "izbăvitor", "eliberator" (asta dacă nu vrem să ni-i punem în cap pe de-alde știți cine). Unii ar putea opta pentru un mult mai echivoc "adevăr compensator", însă "răscumpărător", deocamdată cel puțin, aș prefera să nu-l folosim, pentru a nu provoca chiar din start conflictul dintre concepția doctrinei despre răscumpărare a teologiei occidentale tomiste, și cea bizantină care respinge chiar și termenul respectiv (problemă la care, oricum, vom ajunge). De acord?

Domunule Cailean. Cred că vorbim limbi diferite. Ca într-un dialog al surzilor. Fiecare cu părerea lui. Eu propun să ne oprim aici. Pentru că nu vom ajunge la nici o concluzie. Iar cititorii nu au nicio vină. În plus se aproprie Săptămâna Patimilor și e păcat să continuăm o discuție care nu ne face bine nici unuia și nici altuia. Din partea mea recunosc, fără nici un fel de malițiozitate, că ai dreptate. Si ai dreptate atunci când e vorba de credința fiecăruia. Indiferent de ce natură e aceasta. Și care pleacă de la niște axiome. Că de aceea sunt axiome că sunt nedemonstrabile. Iar restul discuțiilor care țin de o argumentare logică, atâta timp cât nu contrazic axiomele diferite ale fiecăruia (bazate pe aserțiunea că „așa cred eu”) nu pot duce decât la ceea ce spuneam: „un dialog al surzilor”. Îmi cer scuze că am inițiat o astfel de polemică.

Domnule Manolescu, chiar îmi pare rău că nu continuăm. Eu în Rorty tot intru, poate ne mai vedem prin preajmă, dar interviu n-o să-i iau. Acum glumesc ca să destind și eu atmosfera și vă spun de pe acum: Hristos a înviat!

Cea mai (sa-i zicem) literala

Cea mai (sa-i zicem) literala traducere a cuvintului "redemptive", fara a teologiza termenul, este "rascumparator". Deci, facind abstractie de teologie si de masura in care pot discuta unii daca Dumnezeu a primit sau nu un pret pentru a ierta, etc, etc, cuvintul "redemptive", isi are originea in verbul "to redeem", este in esenta un termen comercial-financiar si reprezinta actul de a plati inapoi sau a rascumpara ceva ce a fost pierdut intr-un anumit mod (rapire, inrobire, amanetare, instrainare, etc). Masura in care incarcam cu continut sau semnificatie teologica (sau filosofica) un cuvint este o alta mincare de peste.

Virgile,

Virgile, adică tu zici că Bob Marley în al său 'redemption song' se referea la un jaf armat urmat de o răpire or such?
Sau de fapt ce a fost la urma urmei înainte, oul găina sau ingineria genetică?
Cât despre dialogul mega-doct al acestor domni întins peste răbdarea noastră de cititori ca o peltea și mie mi-ar fi venit să trântesc o perjă deasupra, dar mi-ai luat-o tu înainte, exgerând un pic pentru că, recunoaște, pur și simplu nu te-ai putut abține.

boba,

boba, in limba si cultura engleza cuvintul "redemption" este puternic imbibat de semnificatia lui teologica protestanta. la urma urmei fiecare il aude prima data probabil la scoala duminicala sau il citeste cu siguranta in biblie. si asta este valabil cu multe alte expresii pe care uneori traducatorii nu le cunosc adevarata origine. asa ca este absurd sa spui ca eu as sugera ce scrii tu mai sus. limba este un element esential in cultura si cultul unui spatiu geo-social. eu nu am vrut decit sa spun exact ceea ce am spus, adica aspectul literal, original al cuvintului. regret ca nu ai citit cu atentie.

Boba, Fiind vorba, totuşi, de

Boba,

Fiind vorba, totuşi, de textul meu am înţeles că l-ai citit şi ţi-a plăcut extraordinar de mult.Mai ales ce zice Rorty. Dar nu vrei să recunoşti. Altfel nu aş fi avut azi noapte o premoniţie. Am visat că-mi crescuse un morcov (nu spun unde). Şi tu erai, în spatele meu, pe post de iepure. Să-ţi fie de bine!

Domnule Manolescu,

Domnule Manolescu, mulțumesc pentru observație. Lucrul pe care îl semnalați este o funcționare normală a site-ului. Și se încrede în folosirea în mod etic a acestei facilități. De fapt cred că nu este cu mult diferit de „riscul” care era și în Hermeneia 1.0
Cu timpul sau dacă voi observa abuzuri voi încerca să modifc codul. Dar sper să nu fie nevoie.

Stimate autor, Fiindu-mi

Stimate autor,
Fiindu-mi deocamdată greu să răspund pe limba matale la com, îți spun că re. textul matale sunt mai mult preocupat acum de Ioachim de Flora (cca 1150 parcă) decât de Rorty al matale, de aceea nu am găsit resurele spirituale și fizice necesare pentru a parcurge textul până la capăt așa cum bine ai intuit matale.
În rest despre morcovi și iepuri cele bune.
La fel și despre celelalte lucruri pe care le intuiești matale.