Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Poltics from all sides

I have been continuing my reading of Rorty and it has been a great pleasure. Again, the biggest benefit is to get me back in touch with American thought. My newest project is to study American pragmatism in Pierce, James and Dewey-which was concomitant with the growth of Barthian thought in Europe.

Rorty's conversational style is also a helpful way in exploring and teaching the Humanities. It ceases to prove some truth or simply gain cognitive knowledge but instead to form a way to live with a certain non-dogmatic approach to things. It is to see value in the great works simply in the way they inspire people; I would argue this is what keeps me reading my Bible because figures like St. Paul, King David and the prophet Jeremiah inspire me to live better toward God and others-even in learning from their mistakes.

For example, in his Achieving Our Country, he makes the point that dogmatism in politics gets nowhere; that real reform works from the top-down and from the bottom-up. In short, this goes against a theory like Marxism that focuses only on the poor (mythical proletariat) for the agency of hope or in elitism that says reforms only comes from the powerful/wealthy. In a democracy, in theory, it is the arduous, everyday work of all to iron out what is best for the greater society. I would then argue that Charles Dickens gets this point well; if you read his novels you see both corruption and virtue from both the rich and poor classes.

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