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6. Is it possible to adopt a philosophy in which arguments are no longer made? According to Rorty we choose beliefs that allow us to function the best in the world, these beliefs are formed in a communal collective and are historically contingent of our time and place and no one is really swayed by argument. If one takes Rortys view seriously that we do not aim for truth in philosophy and only search for a more coherent or better picture of things that argumentation is out the window. I would say that a philosophy without arguments would become a dead philosophy, if all we are is developing thought within a certain historically conditions place and cannot get at truth or a true way of speaking about the world and our only goal is to keep the conversation going, then argumentation is of course done for. In some sense it seems that views are determined by our condition and Rortys ironic view of philosophy will result in some sort on nihilism, at least towards philosophies goal.

7. What does the end of foundationalism mean for the philosophical projects?

Foundationalism is the idea that we must have certain grounding for our beliefs; perhaps the best example is Descartes cogito. Rortys point is that we cannot have a universally valid foundation or all belief as since we act in a pragmatic manner, we do not even need one. In some ways, Rortys critique of foundationalism is a false ditochomy between foundationalists and anti-foundationalists. There are varying degrees of foundationalim and according to Benson, at best we have moderate-foundationalists in the department. Foundationalism implies absolute justification of belief and a mirroring of the world, Rortys view that we cannot have beliefs about the true world is itself somewhat problematic, for it would seem that we would need to know a lot about the world (perhaps even more than the foundationalist) in order to know that there is no real knowledge of the world. Instead he settles for Truth is made rather than found, and truth is what our peers let us get away with.

10. What do you make of Derridas idea of free play and undecidability?

Derridas notion of undeciability is simply that, some things are undeciable. At some point, calculations and reasons for actions or decisions come up short and one is in the position of needing to choose. One makes a type of judgment call. In fact undeciability is what makes a decision a decision. Play, in the essay Structure, Sign and Play, is what renders totalization of any social science possible; it exists in tension with both history and presence. In somewhat simplistic fashion we might saw that history is the recontextualization of affirmative play, which must then change or break the current order or structure. Play brings about what Derrida calls the rupture and redoubling at the beginning of the essay. When structures are centered, play is then limited because the discourse must have a certain form, but when the center is de-centered, we have a sort of nonlocus in which an infinite number of sign-substitutions came into play. In many ways this has to do with language for Derrida as he traces the terms used in western philosophy and by the anthropologist Levi-Strauss, also he says, that language bears within itself the necessity of its own critique.

Also in the Afterword to limited Inc. Derrida claims that I never proposed a kind of all or nothing choice between pure realization of self-presence and complete freeplay or undecidability. I am certain that the American critics can find nothing in my texts which corresponds to that. And for good reason. There can be no completeness where freeplay is concerned. Greatly overestimating in my texts in the United States, this notion of freeplay is an inadequate translation of jeu. . . basically I read Derrida as saying something to the effect that freeplay and undeciability are always at work, just like differance, but they are often overemphasized and do not mean that there can be no structures of understanding built up or that every choice is undeciabily. Rather, these concepts serve to limit the over rationality of the sciences and social discourses and the moral calculus or reasoning that takes the place of ethical responsibility.


Derrida Foucault and Lyotard have become post modern in their methods of critique. Derridas differeance and the method of understanding the sign/signified is often the starting point. Foucaults critique of categories and Lyotards rejection of the meta-narrative, the autonomous ability of the emancipated, (ex. Tribal Groups, decisions in context etc.)


The purpose may have been to contrast, and to see how the post-modernity project has been growing. Kant is not postmodern, but is useful in understanding 3postmodern thought. Kant's assumption that we cannot know things in themselves and that objects of knowledge must conform to our faculties of representation. Ideas such as immortality, the world, first beginning, and final end have only a regulative function for knowledge, since they cannot find fulfilling instances among objects of experience. Lyotard takes up this distinction and post-modern critiques it.

Fichte- to show Rorty isnt new. Ficte was Kants pupil and he was flirting with the same relativism that we unfairly peg to the po-mo movement.


Husserl continues the modern project in his project of Phenomenology. Although he employs deconstruction, he does so to reconstruct. It furthers Descartes cogitothe breaking down of all assumptions to rebuild what you find true. This confirms with the modern project of self-liberation.

Heidegger clings to the transcendental Ego


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