This ambitious book addresses the "end-of-philosophy" debate and the challenge it presents to contemporary philosophy, both continental and analytic. It is a chain of argument as well as a conversation conducted in the presence of the major contributors to that debate: the critics (especially Richard Rorty) of the dominantly Platonic-Cartesian-Kantian tradition on the one hand and its defenders on the other. Nielsen's account draws on Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson, Habermas, and Foucault, among others. Nielsen takes Rorty's arguments seriously and insists that they demand a rethinking of the role of philosophy in a world in which the claims of relativism, nihilism, and historicism loom increasingly larger. But, unlike most who are impressed with the end-of-philosophy argument, he provides an original and constructive response: the development of a holistic, antifoundationalist account of philosophy that utilizes a form of critical theory and wide reflective equilibrium in carving out a positive role for a new kind of philosophy. This is an important book not just for philosophers but tor social theorists, for literary critics, and indeed for scholars in any field in which the status of knowledge has become problematic.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements -- The Tradition -- Subjecting the Tradition to Stress -- Rorty and the Self-Image of Philosophy -- How to Be Skeptical About Philosophy -- The Tradition in Retreat -- On Being Ontologically Unserious -- Wittgenstein, Wittgensteinians, and the End of Philosophy -- New Directions -- Can There Be Progress in Philosophy? -- Scientism, Pragmatism, and the Fate of Philosophy -- Searching for an Emancipatory Perspective: Wide Reflective Equilibrium and the Hermeneutical Circle -- Wide Reflective Equilibrium and the Transformation of Philosophy -- In Defense of Wide Reflective Equilibrium