On October 25th, I made a post about potential independent study ideas.
I had a few ideas: Rorty, Dennett, and Pragmatism.
Since then, I have written a rough draft of a paper with three sections. Incidentally, those three line up with 1) Kripke/Wittgenstein on the Rule Following Paradox, 2) Dennett on our Intentionality (or lack there of), and 3) Rorty and Pragmatism offering a solution to the Rule Following Paradox.
In other words, Kripke has tied together my three previously distinct philosophical interests into a coherent model.
Additionally, this project will open the door for me to look at Davidson, Quine, and Rorty’s philosophy of language. I am very excited to give Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature a thorough read. Also, I want to explore Rorty and his Critics, as well as Dennett and his Critics, to see how well their ideas stand up to criticism.
I also want to analyze the implications of a pragmatic view on other fields of study. I am working on brainstorming a later post on this topic… Right now, I have 3 arguments for the application of Kripkean Rule Following to other fields:
First, I want to look at the idea that science has access to undistorted truth. In this vain, I will explore Kuhnian Paradigm Shifts. I also want to explore the ideas posed by Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about how science must be pragmatic because it can only explore finite empirical examples, when possible hypothesis are infinite.
Second, I want to explore literature and poetry. Nabokov, as cited in Moerner’s rule following post, argues that in a world without intentionality, we must stop trying to identify author intentionality and instead develop ourselves. This fits in perfectly with Rorty and Heidegger’s arguments about the purpose of literature and poetry as a means of facilitating an authentic self.
Finally, I want to look at the social sciences, and explore the implications of pragmatism. For the social sciences, I want to explore their usefulness in both positive and normative description. One great model for this method is Randal Collin’s book, Sociological Insight.
Ultimately, I want this to become a book (with Brian and anyone else’s support who wants to provide it). I want this book to function similarly to Godel, Escher, Bach. As Brian explains, “Douglas Hofstadter, a friend of Daniel Dennett, wrote it (I think in 1979) and just basically wrote a treatise about all the random cool stuff he was interested in – math, music, Buddhism, the self – and now his book is famous. At MIT, they teach an undergrad course just on his book.”