Simon Blackburn on Hume, Davidson, Rorty…

John Banville reviews Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed by Simon Blackburn, in The Guardian:

Simon Blackburn is professor of philosophy at Cambridge, and the author of fine popularising books such as The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy and Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics. He is learned, astute, admirably sensible, and possesses an elegant and clear prose style. Truth is based on the texts of the Gifford lectures delivered last year at the University of Glasgow, and on other, occasional lectures and articles written over the past four or five years. One would never use the word ragbag to describe a work by such a graceful synthesiser, but some parts of the book have the air of having been shoehorned in, for instance a short, closing chapter defending David Hume’s philosophical cosmopolitanism against attacks by the likes of Donald Davidson, and part of another chapter spiritedly repudiating what might be termed Richard Rorty’s radical pragmatism; both these excursuses have the air of being frolics of their own.

Blackburn opens his introduction with a rousing call to arms, which might be a preparation for an assault on the likes of Rorty and other “fuzzy” – the adjective is Rorty’s own – postmodernist philosophers and pundits…

More here.

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