Vérité, conversation et l’herméneutique de l’annihilation. Susan Haack vs. Richard Rorty


Truth, Conversation and Hermeneutics of Annihilation: Susan Haack vs. Richard Rorty

In this paper I pursue two goals. Firstly, I try to evaluate how Susan Haack receives and categorically rejects Rorty's anti-epistemological message from Philosophy and the Mirror of the Nature and some subsequent writings. I reconstruct Haack's counterarguments and Rorty's responses to these counterarguments. Secondly, I propose to deconstruct the theoretical position from which Haack orchestrates her attack on Rorty. On the one hand I show that she assumes a series of classical metaphysical presuppositions that are difficult to accept today, which predisposes her to a lack of hermeneutical flexibility and clarity. On the other hand, at least some of Haack's arguments against Rorty (i.e. those which are about the so-called relativism or the so-called Rortyan cynicism) are erroneous. Following Michael Williams, I point out that Rorty's position in Mirror is not against knowledge, since it raises questions about the legitimacy of epistemology. The challenge of my approach is not to defend Rorty (he does not need defense), but rather to examine the mechanism of a charge against him in the name of a pretended philosophical correctness. I call this type of charge “hermeneutics of annihilation”. Haack's hermeneutics of annihilation is a pseudo-hermeneutics, since her goal is not to understand the stake of Rorty's philosophy exposed in Mirror. She only understood, from the point of view of an epistemologist ideology, that this work would be a threat to Truth, Knowledge, Epistemology, Science, and Reason.

Keywords: knowledge, epistemic community, metaphysical presuppositions, conversationalism, relativism, epistemic tribalism

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