When it first appeared in 1979, "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" hit the philosophical world like a bombshell. In it, Richard Rorty argued that, beginning in the seventeenth century, philosophers developed an unhealthy obsession with the notion of representation: comparing the mind to a mirror that reflects reality. Rorty's book is a powerful critique of this imagery and the tradition of thought that it spawned.
Thirty years later, the book remains a must-read and stands as a classic of twentieth-century philosophy. Its influence on the academy, both within philosophy and across a wide array of disciplines, continues unabated. This edition includes new essays by philosopher Michael Williams and literary scholar David Bromwich, as well as Rorty's previously unpublished essay "The Philosopher as Expert."
Introduction to the Thirtieth-Anniversary Edition xiii Preface xxxi Introduction 3 Part one: Our Glassy Essense 15 Chapter I: The Invention of the Mind 17 1. Criteria of the Mental 17 2. The Functional, the Phenomenal, and the Immaterial 22 3. The Diversity of Mind-Body Problems 32 4. Mind as the Grasp of Universals 38 5. Ability to Exist Separately from the Body 45 6. Dualism and "Mind-Stuff" 61 Chapter II: Persons Without Minds 70 1. The Antipodeans 70 2. Phenomenal Properties 78 3. Incorrigibility and Raw Feels 88 4. Behaviorism 98 5. Skepticism about Other Minds 107 6. Materialism without Mind-Body Identity 114 7. Epistemology and "The Philosophy of Mind" 125 Part Two: Mirroring 129 Chapter III: The Idea of a "Theory of Knowledge" 131 1. Epistemology and Philosophy's Self-Image 131 2. Locke's Confusion of Explanation with Justification 139 3. Kant's Confusion of Predication with Synthesis 148 4. Knowledge as Needing "Foundations" 155 Chapter IV: Privileged Representations 165 1. Apodictic Truth, Privileged Representations, and Analytic Philosophy 165 2. Epistemological Behaviorism 173 3. Pre-linguistic Awareness 182 4. The "'Idea' Idea" 192 5. Epistemological Behaviorism, Psychological Behaviorism, and Language 209 Chapter v: Epistemology and Empirical Psychology 213 1. Suspicions about Psychology 213 2. The Unnaturalness of Epistemology 221 3. Psychological States as Genuine Explanations 230 4. Psychological States as Representations 244 Chapter vi: Epistemology and Philosophy of Language 257 1. Pure and Impure Philosophy of Language 257 2. What were our Ancestors Talking About? 266 3. Idealism 273 4. Reference 284 5. Truth Without Mirrors 295 6. Truth, Goodness, and Part Three: Philosophy 313 Chapter VII: From Epistemology to Hermeneutics 315 1. Commensuration and Conversation 315 2. Kuhn and Incommensurability 322 3. Objectivity as Correspondence and as Agreement 333 4. Spirit and Nature 343 Chapter VIII: Philosophy Without Mirrors 357 1. Hermeneutics and Edification 357 2. Systematic Philosophy and Edifying Philosophy 365 3. Edification, Relativism, and Objective Truth 373 4. Edification and Naturalism 379 5. Philosophy in the Conversation of Mankind 389 The Philosopher as Expert 395 Afterword: Remembering Richard Rorty 423 Index 433
Richard Rorty (1931-2007) was a prolific philosopher and public intellectual who, throughout his illustrious career, taught at Princeton, the University of Virginia, and, until his death, Stanford University.
Praise for Princeton's original edition: "This is an ambitious and important book. Ambitious because it attempts to place the main concerns and discussions of contemporary philosophy within a historical perspective; important because this is all too rarely attempted within our present philosophical culture, and almost never done this well."--Charles Taylor, Times Literary Supplement Praise for Princeton's previous edition: "[Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature] is ... something of an event... It is going to be a long time before a better book of its kind appears."--Alasdair MacIntyre, London Review of Books Praise for Princeton's original edition: "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature brings to light the deep sense of crisis within the profession of academic philosophy... Rorty's provocative and profound meditations impel philosophers to examine the problematic status of their discipline--only to discover that modern European philosophy has come to an end."--Cornel West, Union Seminary Quarterly Review