Philosophy in History: Essays in the Historiography of Philosophy

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Professor of Comparative Literature Richard Rorty, Richard Rorty, Jerome B. Schneewind, Quentin Skinner, Richard M. Schneewind, Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press, Nov 8, 1984 - History - 403 pages
The sixteen essays in this volume confront the current debate about the relationship between philosophy and its history. On the one hand intellectual historians commonly accuse philosophers of writing bad - anachronistic - history of philosophy, and on the other, philosophers have accused intellectual historians of writing bad - antiquarian - history of philosophy. The essays here address this controversy and ask what purpose the history of philosophy should serve. Part I contains more purely theoretical and methodological discussion, of such questions as whether there are 'timeless' philosophical problems, whether the issues of one epoch are commensurable with those of another, and what style is appropriate to the historiography of the subject. The essays in Part II consider a number of case-histories. They present important revisionist scholarship and original contributions on topics drawn from ancient, early modern and more recent philosophy. All the essays have been specially commissioned, and the contributors include many of the leading figures in the field. The volume as a whole will be of vital interest to everyone concerned with the study of philosophy and of its history.

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Chapter 2, p.31 - The Relationship of Philosophy to its Past


a question
CHARLES TAYLOR Philosophy and its history
ALASDAIR MACINTYRE The relationship of philosophy
LORENZ KRÜGER Why do we study the history
S IAN HACKING Five parables
WOLF LEPENIES Interesting questions in the history
J B SCHNEEWIND The Divine Corporation and
F BURNYEAT The sceptic in his place and time
MICHAEL FREDE The sceptics two kinds of assent
I2 JOHN DUNN The concept of trust in the politics
the early years
IS THOMAS BALDWIN Moores rejection of idealism
PETER HYLTON The nature of the proposition and

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About the author (1984)

Richard McKay Rorty is the principal American voice of postmodern philosophy. He was born in New York City and educated at the University of Chicago and Yale University. After having taught philosophy at Princeton University for more than 20 years, Rorty became a university professor in humanities at the University of Virginia in 1982. He has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. In 1967 Rorty published The Linguistic Turn, an anthology of twentieth-century philosophy that opens with his 40-page introduction. This work has become a standard introduction to analytic philosophy, and its title names an era. Despite his early hope for the future of analytic philosophy, Rorty came to doubt its foundations. This doubt prodded him to master American pragmatism as well as continental European work in hermeneutics and deconstruction. This work, in turn, led Rorty to question the entire tradition of Western philosophy. These doubts are expressed in his second book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), which is one of the most widely discussed of all recent American works in philosophy. It announces the death of philosophy as a kind of higher knowledge but recommends its continuance as edification and as a branch of literature. Choice proved prophetic in stating that "this bold and provocative book is bound to rank among the most important of the decade.

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