Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

3

Trotsky and the Wild Orchids

4
terms
7
notes

so good

M. Rorty, R. (2000). Trotsky and the Wild Orchids. In M. Rorty, R. Philosophy and Social Hope. Penguin, pp. 3-11

4

[...] Participants in this event compete to find better, bitterer ways of describing the United States. They see our country as embodying everything that is wrong with the rich post-Enlightenment West. They see ours as what Foucault called a 'disciplinary society', dominated by an odious ethos of 'liberal individualism', an ethos which produces racism, sexism, consumerism and Republican presidents. [...]

lol

(on why the left is hostile to him. the right: because he thinks of America as relatively but not absolutely good)

—p.4 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] Participants in this event compete to find better, bitterer ways of describing the United States. They see our country as embodying everything that is wrong with the rich post-Enlightenment West. They see ours as what Foucault called a 'disciplinary society', dominated by an odious ethos of 'liberal individualism', an ethos which produces racism, sexism, consumerism and Republican presidents. [...]

lol

(on why the left is hostile to him. the right: because he thinks of America as relatively but not absolutely good)

—p.4 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago
7

[...] I was afraid that Trotsky (whose Literature and Revolution I had nibbled at) would not have approved of my interest in orchids.

At fifteen I escaped from the bullies who regularly beat me up on the playground of my high school (bullies who, I assumed, would somehow wither away once capitalism had been overcome) by going off to the so-called Hutchins College of the University of Chicago. [...]

—p.7 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] I was afraid that Trotsky (whose Literature and Revolution I had nibbled at) would not have approved of my interest in orchids.

At fifteen I escaped from the bullies who regularly beat me up on the playground of my high school (bullies who, I assumed, would somehow wither away once capitalism had been overcome) by going off to the so-called Hutchins College of the University of Chicago. [...]

—p.7 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago
7

[...] Insofar as I had any project in mind, it was to reconcile Trotsky and the orchids. I wanted to find some intellectual or aesthetic framework which would let me - in a thrilling phrase which I came across in Yeats - 'hold reality and justice in a single vision'. [...]

—p.7 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] Insofar as I had any project in mind, it was to reconcile Trotsky and the orchids. I wanted to find some intellectual or aesthetic framework which would let me - in a thrilling phrase which I came across in Yeats - 'hold reality and justice in a single vision'. [...]

—p.7 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

(adjective) supernatural mysterious / (adjective) filled with a sense of the presence of divinity; holy / (adjective) appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense; spiritual

8

For moral and philosophical absolutes sounded a bit like my beloved orchids - numinous, hard to find, known only to a chosen few.

—p.8 by Richard M. Rorty
uncertain
1 year, 10 months ago

For moral and philosophical absolutes sounded a bit like my beloved orchids - numinous, hard to find, known only to a chosen few.

—p.8 by Richard M. Rorty
uncertain
1 year, 10 months ago
10

[...] The more philosophers I read, the clearer it seemed that each of them could carry their views back to first principles which were incompatible with the first principles of their opponents, and that none of them ever got to that fabled place 'beyond hypotheses'. There seemed to be nothing like a neutral standpoint from which these alternative first principles could be evaluated. But if there were no such standpoint, then the whole idea of 'rational certainty', and the whole Socratic-Platonic idea of replacing passion by reason, seemed not to make much sense.

—p.10 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] The more philosophers I read, the clearer it seemed that each of them could carry their views back to first principles which were incompatible with the first principles of their opponents, and that none of them ever got to that fabled place 'beyond hypotheses'. There seemed to be nothing like a neutral standpoint from which these alternative first principles could be evaluated. But if there were no such standpoint, then the whole idea of 'rational certainty', and the whole Socratic-Platonic idea of replacing passion by reason, seemed not to make much sense.

—p.10 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

(adjective) lacking nutritive value / devoid of significance or interest; dull / naive, simplistic, and superficial

10

redescribing the nearby intellectual terrain in such a way that the terms used by one's opponent would seem irrelevant, or question-begging, or jejune

—p.10 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

redescribing the nearby intellectual terrain in such a way that the terms used by one's opponent would seem irrelevant, or question-begging, or jejune

—p.10 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 10 months ago
13

[...] Jean-Paul Sartre seemed to me right when he denounced Kant's self-deceptive quest for certainty, but wrong when he denounced Proust as a useless bourgeois wimp, a man whose life and writings were equally irrelevant to the only thing that really mattered, the struggle to overthrow capitalism.

Proust's life and work were, in fact, irrelevant to that struggle. But that is a silly reason to despise Proust. It is as wrong-headed as SavonaroJa's contempt for the works of art he called 'vanities'. Singlemindedness of this Sartrean or Savonarolan sort is the quest for purity of heart - the attempt to will one thing - gone rancid. It is the attempt to see yourself as an incarnation of something larger than yourself (the Movement, Reason, the Good, the Holy) rather than accepting your finitude. The latter means, among other things, accepting that what matters most to you may well be something that may never matter much to most people. Your equivalent of my orchids may always seem merely weird, merely idiosyncratic, to practically everybody else. [...] There is nothing sacred about universality which makes the shared automatically better than the unshared. There is no automatic privilege of what you can get everybody to agree to (the universal) over what you cannot (the idiosyncratic).

—p.13 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] Jean-Paul Sartre seemed to me right when he denounced Kant's self-deceptive quest for certainty, but wrong when he denounced Proust as a useless bourgeois wimp, a man whose life and writings were equally irrelevant to the only thing that really mattered, the struggle to overthrow capitalism.

Proust's life and work were, in fact, irrelevant to that struggle. But that is a silly reason to despise Proust. It is as wrong-headed as SavonaroJa's contempt for the works of art he called 'vanities'. Singlemindedness of this Sartrean or Savonarolan sort is the quest for purity of heart - the attempt to will one thing - gone rancid. It is the attempt to see yourself as an incarnation of something larger than yourself (the Movement, Reason, the Good, the Holy) rather than accepting your finitude. The latter means, among other things, accepting that what matters most to you may well be something that may never matter much to most people. Your equivalent of my orchids may always seem merely weird, merely idiosyncratic, to practically everybody else. [...] There is nothing sacred about universality which makes the shared automatically better than the unshared. There is no automatic privilege of what you can get everybody to agree to (the universal) over what you cannot (the idiosyncratic).

—p.13 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

(verb) to renounce upon oath / (verb) to reject solemnly / (verb) to abstain from; avoid

13

abjure the temptation to tie in one's moral responsibilities to other people with one's relation to whatever idiosyncratic things or persons one loves with all one's heart and soul and mind

—p.13 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

abjure the temptation to tie in one's moral responsibilities to other people with one's relation to whatever idiosyncratic things or persons one loves with all one's heart and soul and mind

—p.13 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 10 months ago
15

[...] our conscience and our aesthetic taste are, equally, products of the cultural environment in which we grew up. We decent, liberal humanitarian types (representatives of the moral community to which both my reviewers and I belong) are just luckier, not more insightful, than the bullies with whom we struggle.

This view is often referred to dismissively as 'cultural relativism'. But it is not relativistic, if that means saying that every moral view is as good as every other. Our moral view is, I firmly believe, much better than any competing view, even though there are a lot of people whom you will never be able to convert to it. It is one thing to say, falsely, that there is nothing to choose between us and the Nazis. It is another thing to say, correctly, that there is no neutral, common ground to which an experienced Nazi philosopher and I can repair in order to argue out our differences. That Nazi and I will always strike one another as begging all the crucial questions, arguing in circles.

—p.15 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] our conscience and our aesthetic taste are, equally, products of the cultural environment in which we grew up. We decent, liberal humanitarian types (representatives of the moral community to which both my reviewers and I belong) are just luckier, not more insightful, than the bullies with whom we struggle.

This view is often referred to dismissively as 'cultural relativism'. But it is not relativistic, if that means saying that every moral view is as good as every other. Our moral view is, I firmly believe, much better than any competing view, even though there are a lot of people whom you will never be able to convert to it. It is one thing to say, falsely, that there is nothing to choose between us and the Nazis. It is another thing to say, correctly, that there is no neutral, common ground to which an experienced Nazi philosopher and I can repair in order to argue out our differences. That Nazi and I will always strike one another as begging all the crucial questions, arguing in circles.

—p.15 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago
18

[...] Unlike both the orthodox and the postmoderns, I do not think that you can tell much about the worth of a philosopher's views on topics such as truth, objectivity and the possibility of a single vision by discovering his politics, or his irrelevance to politics. So I do not think it counts in favour of Dewey's pragmatic view of truth that he was a fervent social democrat, nor against Heidegger's criticism of Platonic notions of objectivity that he was a Nazi, nor against Derrida's view oflinguistic meaning that his most influential American ally, Paul de Man, wrote a couple of anti-Semitic articles when he was young. The idea that you can evaluate a writer's philosophical views by reference to their political utility seems to me a version of the bad Platonic-Straussian idea that we cannot have justice until philosophers become kings or kings philosophers.

—p.18 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] Unlike both the orthodox and the postmoderns, I do not think that you can tell much about the worth of a philosopher's views on topics such as truth, objectivity and the possibility of a single vision by discovering his politics, or his irrelevance to politics. So I do not think it counts in favour of Dewey's pragmatic view of truth that he was a fervent social democrat, nor against Heidegger's criticism of Platonic notions of objectivity that he was a Nazi, nor against Derrida's view oflinguistic meaning that his most influential American ally, Paul de Man, wrote a couple of anti-Semitic articles when he was young. The idea that you can evaluate a writer's philosophical views by reference to their political utility seems to me a version of the bad Platonic-Straussian idea that we cannot have justice until philosophers become kings or kings philosophers.

—p.18 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 10 months ago

(adjective) affording a general view of a whole / (adjective) manifesting or characterized by comprehensiveness or breadth of view / (adjective) presenting or taking the same or common view

19

We are not here to provide principles or foundations or deep theoretical diagnoses, or a synoptic vision.

—p.19 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

We are not here to provide principles or foundations or deep theoretical diagnoses, or a synoptic vision.

—p.19 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 10 months ago