In this book Gary Gutting offers a powerful account of the nature of human reason in modern times. The fundamental question addressed by the book is what authority human reason can still claim once it is acknowledged that our fundamental metaphysical and religious pictures of the world no longer command allegiance. Gutting analyzes the work of three dominant philosophical voices in our time: Richard Rorty, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. His own position is defined as "pragmatic liberalism". The book will appeal to readers in such fields as philosophy, literature, and political theory. The interpretations of Rorty, MacIntyre, and Taylor will make the book suitable as a coursebook teaching the history of modern philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the question of modernity; Part I. Richard Rorty: The Rudiments of Pragmatic Liberalism: 1. The philosophy of representations; 2. Knowledge without representations; 3. Justification as a social practice; 4. The problem of truth; 5. Davidsonian therapy; 6. Truth and science; 7. Ethics without foundations; 8. Liberal ironism; Part II. Alasdaire MacIntyre: A Modern Malgre Lui: 1. MacIntyre's critique of the enlightenment; 2. Which enlightenment?; 3. In defense of enlightenment humanism; 4. The lure of tradition; 5. The tradition of the virtues; 6. MacIntyre and modernity; 7. MacIntyre versus pragmatic liberalism; Part III. Charles Taylor: An Augustinian Modern: 1. Taylor's historical project; 2. Locke and the radical enlightenment; 3. The primacy of everyday life; 4. Beyond the enlightenment: evil, romanticism, and poetic truth; 5. Taylor's critique of naturalism; 6. Williams and objectivity; 7. Naturalism and hypergoods: pragmatic liberalism; Conclusion.