Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis

Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis

Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis

Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis

Synopsis

Drawing freely and expertly from Continental and analytic traditions, Richard Bernstein examines a number of debates and controversies exemplified in the works of Gadamer, Habermas, Rorty, and Arendt. He argues that a "new conversation" is emerging about human rationality--a new understanding that emphasizes its practical character and has important ramifications both for thought and action.

Excerpt

Writing, for me, has always been an adventure of discovery. This book itself is a stage in a personal and intellectual odyssey -- one which has opened new horizons of questioning. In Praxis and Action (1971), where I explored the meaning and centrality of the concepts of praxis and action in Marxism, Existentialism, Pragmatism, and Analytic Philosophy, I wrote in the introduction:

At first, it was the common negative stance of contemporary philosophers that most forcefully struck me. Most contemporary philosophers have been in revolt against the Cartesian framework. Descartes is frequently called the father of modern philosophy. If we are to judge by philosophy during the past hundred years, this title can best be understood in a Freudian sense. It is a common characteristic of many contemporary philosophers that they have sought to overthrow and dethrone the father.

When writing Praxis and Action, I was aware that there is significant common ground in the diverse attacks on the Cartesian foundations of modern philosophy, the "spectator theory of knowledge," and in the new emphasis on the centrality of human agency and activity, but I did not at the time realize how much convergence and substantive agreement was to be discovered in the proposed alternatives to the Cartesian legacy. It was easier to isolate a common enemy than to discern a shared objective.

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