Like scenes pasted by chance in a scrapbook.
Richard Rorty. Contingency, irony, and solidarity.
A recipe for language games.
The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that. The realization that the world does not tell us what language games to play should not, however, lead us to say that a decision about which to play is arbitrary, nor to say that it is the expression of something deep within us. The moral is not that objective criteria for choice of vocabulary are to be replaced with subjective criteria, reason with will or feeling. It is rather that the notions of criteria and choice (including that of “arbitrary” choice) are no longer in point when it comes to changes from one language game to another. Europe did not decide to accept the idiom of Romantic poetry, or of socialist politics, or of Galilean mechanics. That sort of shift was no more an act of will than it was a result of argument. Rather, Europe gradually lost the habit of using certain words and gradually acquired the habit of using others.
Snapshot of history.
Where the metaphysician sees the modern Europeans as particularly good at discovering how things really are, the ironist sees them as particularly rapid in changing their self-image, in re-creating themselves.
One moment, two points.
In a book with few allusive moments, it is worth remarking when Rorty appeals to the plot lines of an 18th-century English novel.
Such people will find Heidegger’s andenkendes Denken no more urgent a project than Uncle Toby’s attempt to construct a model of the fortifications of Namur.
Note worthy because in the next chapter there is a footnote that remarks upon allusion recognition (and is a gem for the people who recognized the reference to Tristram Shandy in the piece quoted above).
We Derrida admirers are tempted [to annotate] but such temptations should be resisted. Nobody wants a complete set of footnotes to The Post Card any more than they want one to Finnegans Wake, Tristram Shandy, or Remembrance of Things Past. The reader’s relation with the authors of such books depends largely upon her being left alone to dream up her own footnotes.
And so we leave you, gentle people, to dream up your own scrapbooks, life and opinions.
And so for day 1224