Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

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Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
Author Richard Rorty
Country United States
Language English
Subject Philosophy of mind
Published 1979 (Princeton University Press)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 401
ISBN 0-691-02016-7
OCLC 7040341

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature is a 1979 book by American philosopher Richard Rorty, in which Rorty attempts to dissolve modern philosophical problems instead of solving them by presenting them as pseudo-problems that only exist in the language-game of epistemological projects culminating in Analytic philosophy. In a pragmatist gesture, Rorty suggests that philosophy must get past these pseudo-problems if it is to be productive.

The work was seen to be somewhat controversial upon its publication. It had its greatest success outside analytic philosophy, despite its reliance on arguments by Willard Van Orman Quine and Wilfrid Sellars, and was widely influential in the humanities.[1] It was criticized extensively by analytic philosophers.[2]


Rorty's central thesis is that philosophy has unduly relied on a representational theory of perception and a correspondence theory of truth, hoping our experience or language might mirror the way reality actually is. In this he continues a certain controversial Anglophone tradition, which builds upon the work of philosophers such as Willard Van Orman Quine, Wilfrid Sellars, and Donald Davidson. Rorty opts out of the traditional objective/subjective dialogue in favor of a communal version of truth. For him, "true" is simply an honorific knowers bestow on claims, asserting them as what "we" want to say about a particular matter.

Rorty spends much of the book explaining how philosophical paradigm shifts and their associated philosophical "problems" can be considered the result of the new metaphors, vocabularies, and mistaken linguistic associations which are necessarily a part of those new paradigms.

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