Pragmatist Cultural Naturalism: Dewey and Rorty

The European Legacy 19 (2):229-239 (2014)
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In this essay I discuss the relationship between naturalism and culture by drawing on the aesthetic notions of two leading pragmatists, John Dewey and Richard Rorty. Rorty’s view of the cultural significance of metaphor, which is based on Donald Davidson’s theory of metaphor, centers on the distinction between a naturalistic and an idealistic view of the cognitive value of metaphor. I then discuss the development from idealism to naturalism in Dewey’s view of the imagination and the parallels that may be drawn between Dewey’s and Rorty’s views, particularly regarding the latter’s critique of idealism and its failure to provide a credible philosophical understanding of culture. In the final section I outline a naturalistic view of the emergence of culture based on Dewey’s notions of rhythm and rite as presented in his classic work Art as Experience.



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Kalle Puolakka
University of Helsinki

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What Metaphors Mean.Donald Davidson - 1978 - Critical Inquiry 5 (1):31-47.
What metaphors mean.Donald Davidson - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Arguing about language. New York: Routledge. pp. 31.
What Metaphors Mean.Donald Davidson - 2013 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 453-465.
The Cognitive Claims of Metaphor.Mary Hesse - 1988 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 2 (1):1 - 16.

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