Very interesting article on Rorty’s philosophical differences between hermeneutics and epistemology.
Hermeneutics is what follows from the demise of epistemology; it is the ‘expression of hope’ that the space left by its demise will not be filled and that our culture ‘should become one in which the demand for constraint and confrontation is no longer felt’ (315). Whilst epistemology proceeds on the assumption that all contributions in any given discourse are commensurable, hermeneutics struggles against commensurability. By commensurable, Rorty means ‘able to be brought under a set of rules which will tell us how rational agreement can be reached on what would settle the issue on every point where statements seem to conflict’ (316), in other words, the construction of an ideal situation. Outstanding disagreements are characterised as “noncognitive”, temporarily unsolved but ultimately to be resolved by doing something further.
Thus, in epistemology, to be rational is to be able to find agreement with other human beings and ‘to construct an…
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