I’ve been reading Rorty’s Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, and he reminds me a lot of Bruno Latour, especially his We Have Never Been Modern and Politics of Nature. Both of them, as far as I can tell, see statements about science having a special direct relationship with reality as, at best, not adding anything to arguments, and, at worst, unhelpfully polemical. In contrast, both of them very much appreciate claims that we should pay attention to scientists because of the predictive value of their statements and because of the new products that they enable us to make. Also, both of them like to emphasize the role of conversations and changing webs of thoughts when discussing truth.
I haven’t seen either of them discuss the other, though. It’s not so strange that I haven’t seen Rorty discuss Latour, since the papers I’ve been reading were written just when Latour was first publishing, but the lack of the references in the other direction seems to me to be a bit odd. They’re both alive; maybe I should e-mail them to see what they think of each other.
They’re also both quite pleasant to read, as far as philosophers go; I was already pretty convinced by Latour, and Rorty has added to those convictions. I’m wondering what other philosophers I should be reading, and what other themes; I’m kind of tired of bouncing off of recent French philosophers, and I don’t feel compelled to follow epistemology any further. Any recommendations in, say, moral or political philosophy?
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