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Post #1113 • January 22, 2008, 12:23 PM • 28 Comments

Wendell Berry, from "Style and Grace," in What Are People For?:

Works of art participate in our lives; we are not just observers of their lives. They are in coversation among themselves and with us. This is a part of the description of human life; we do the way we do partly because of things that have been said to us by works of art, and because of things that we have said in reply.

Comment

1.

Carlos

January 22, 2008, 2:15 PM

I agree with you check out this artist who is all about that! [Sorry, but the Check Out My Site thing is expressly forbidden by the guidelines. - F.]

2.

Carlos

January 22, 2008, 2:49 PM

sorry! just wanted to share something rare and special that has personally influenced me. My fault didn't read the guidelines I thought it was like any other blog..

3.

Artblog Master

January 23, 2008, 3:59 AM

Sorry Carlos.
This is a blog of rigid rules and guidlines.
In fact, it is more like a closed club of likeminded people, who if unsatisfied with your comments will harrass and attack you like a mound of really aggressive red stinging ants.
We seriously are very closminded, but feel free to join us, IF YOU DARE!

4.

Eric

January 23, 2008, 5:09 AM

We aren't closminded here we are opeminded.

5.

Franklin

January 23, 2008, 6:19 AM

Actually, we're minded, in the sense that the armed are in the possession of arms. You know what they say: minds are like parachutes - they only function when their seams are strongly stitched.

6.

opie

January 23, 2008, 6:35 AM

The guidelines are necessary and reasonable. No one is excluded from comment, but if the guidelines are violated Franklin makes it clear.

Reasonable disagreement os not only tolerated but welcomed - the evidence can easily be seen throughout the history of this blog.

If a comment is aggressively stupid (I am not referring to the comment by Carlos in this instance) it is likely to get jumped on and criticised. Certain types of mentality call this "closeminded". It appears to be their only defense.

As has been often said here, if you are too openminded your brains fall out.

7.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 7:21 AM

What do you think about Timothy Comeau's to Rorty ?

"The sort of intellectual Rorty prefers, then, is one who makes herself familiar with as many vocabularies and language games as possible by acquainting herself with as many novels and ethnographies as she can get her hands on. In doing so, this intellectual becomes an “ironist” about her own vocabulary, recognizing it as a contingent product of the time and place in which she was born."

8.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 7:28 AM

Shoot - that should say, what do you think about TC's LINK to Rorty. Also Wendell Berry is featured in February's Gourmet Magazine,

9.

opie

January 23, 2008, 7:36 AM

As I said on the previous page, Rorty is illogical. Everything after "When the question ‘useful for what?’ is pressed..." is a self-serving set-up where pragmatism of accused of being deficient in the very quality it disallows: useless speculation.

I can do without Rorty pretty easily. Read Susan Haack on Rorty.

10.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 7:48 AM

Everything after "When the question ‘useful for what?’ is pressed..." is a self-serving set-up where pragmatism of accused of being deficient in the very quality it disallows: useless speculation.

I don't get it. Can you come again? As for what Haack says about Rorty well, lots of people thought Plato eas a sophist too.

11.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 7:50 AM

Anyway, my question referred to the specific bit I quoted.

12.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 7:57 AM

And also, it looks like Richard Rorty's work was pretty useful to Susan Haack as far as refining her own position goes.

13.

opie

January 23, 2008, 7:57 AM

He is accusing pragmatism of not coming up with "ultimate truths" when that is precisely what they disavow. I said that already.

14.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 8:10 AM

I though his remarks had more to do with the pragmatic inability to qualify the outcome of their discourse in the future

15.

opie

January 23, 2008, 8:10 AM

As for the quote, try as I might, I really cannot understand it. Or perhaps I just can't understand the point.

16.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 8:17 AM

one who makes herself familiar with as many vocabularies and language games as possible by acquainting herself with as many novels and ethnographies as she can get her hands on. In doing so, this intellectual becomes an “ironist” about her own vocabulary, recognizing it as a contingent product of the time and place in which she was born."

I'd say he's saying something akin to Wendell Berry - about conversing with things around you at the same time remaining circumspect and realizing that the language you use is a direct outcropping of those conversations.

17.

Eric

January 23, 2008, 8:18 AM

This fact should make people around here like Rorty at least a little bit. Arthur Danto dismissed his 'philosophy' in the obituary he wrote for him.

DantoonRorty

18.

Eric

January 23, 2008, 8:19 AM

Sorry the hyperlink didn't work. It was a stupid comment anyway.

19.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 8:22 AM

People should like Rorty for this:

“Truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with saying.”

20.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 8:30 AM

and this

"The professionalization of philosophy, its transformation into an academic discipline, was a necessary evil. But it has encouraged attempts to make philosophy into an autonomous quasiscience. These attempts should be resisted. The more philosophy interacts with other human activities—not just natural science, but art, literature, religion and politics as well—the more relevant to cultural politics it becomes, and thus the more useful. The more it strives for autonomy, the less attention it deserves."

21.

Marc Country

January 23, 2008, 8:36 AM

Honestly... who cares "what kind of intellectual Rorty prefers?" What a useless concept. And what on earth is special about recognizing that your vocabulary (or your religion, or any cultural aspect you call 'yours') is contingent on the time and place in which you live. To quote Jack, "No shit, sherlock". I don't see that such a recognition would require one to be an "ironist", but, I do have some shirts that need pressing...

22.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 8:43 AM

what on earth is special about recognizing that your vocabulary (or your religion, or any cultural aspect you call 'yours') is contingent on the time and place in which you live?

Yeah, I wonder too why contemporary art suffers so in a global market

23.

opie

January 23, 2008, 8:47 AM

It always surprises me to see the respect these intellectuals get for portentious, elaborately phrased and repeated expressions of the obvious. It seems like a path to academic success. Danto is one of the slickest practitioners of this. I don't know Rorty well but he seems similar.

24.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 8:52 AM

So, a minute ago, you said you couldn't understand the Rorty quote. Is it obvious now?

25.

opie

January 23, 2008, 8:55 AM

I guess I was bewildered by its obviousness, if that's possible. But I still don't get "ironist".

Warhol said "art is what you can get away with". Was that before Rorty's almost identical quote? I have to go to class & no time to check it.

26.

Marc Country

January 23, 2008, 9:09 AM

I think its less a matter of not understanding the Rorty quote, and more a question of not understanding what is gained by quoting him... He says nothing that isn't either truism or nonsense, and says both poorly.

27.

Fred

January 23, 2008, 9:12 AM

Dismissed!

28.

Jack

January 23, 2008, 9:20 AM

Marc (#21), for what it's worth (if anything), the remark you quote from me was only secondarily due to the obviousness of the statement that prompted it. The primary stimulus was that, at the time, in a state of probably excessive and arguably unseemly passion, said statement struck me as inappropriately ex cathedra--meaning "from the Chair of Peter" (St. Peter the first pope, not the other Peter). I'm afraid I did not take it at all well.

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