Dawkins to Rorty

Had a traumatic two weeks IT-wise. Recently acquired a new P4/XP machine and loaded Norton Anti-Virus and Internet Security stuff. The combination played havoc with various web-sites I use and has taken until now to recover.

Anyway in that time I finished Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker and moved on to Rorty’s Philosophy as a Mirror on the World.

Dawkins continued with his “Darwinian evolution is the only mechanism to explain emergent adaptive complexity” theme. I already agreed with him – probably will not now bother to read Selfish Gene – may seek out Devil’s Chaplain. Only drawback with the later chapters is the effort he expends disproving alternative evolutionary theories, which becomes a drag when you’re already convinced. Keep discovering an enigmatic mix of views on Stephen Jay Gould – will probably have to read more of his stuff for myself, to understand if and where he get’s it right, despite often seeming wrong to me.

Started Rorty – he was on a mission when he wrote this, and spends a good deal of his introductory chapter discrediting views I wouldn’t have found naturally believable anyway, and makes extensive use of philosophical jargon – phenomenal, intentional etc. I’m hoping these early chapters are deliberately controversial so I’ll be sticking with him for a while yet – despite scribbling bollox in the margins several times already ! He’s a big supporter of Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Dewey. His main target is to undermine the need for any kind of dualist mind-matter views of the world. If all he’s saying is that all folk-mind-stuff is ultimately physics (beyond folk-physics) then he’ll get no argument from me, but it all looks like pedantry around lingusitic definitions of matter and physics and mental (and phenomenal and intentional) so far. Here’s hoping.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.