Feyerabend, Rorty, Putnam: relativism and the construction of subjectivity
AbstractWe were interested in the possibility of arriving at a kind of subjectivity characterized as much by the relativity of its own certainties, as by the rejection of subjectivism. We did not wish to get involved in elaborate descriptions of such subjectivity; we did not intend, that is, to provide alternative models for the individuals or communities that populate our world. Our aim was simply to find a “ford”, an opening that would allow us to consider the relations between the individual and the community to which he/she belongs, and between different individuals and cultures, without wishing to reduce their wealth and variety to some stifling formula – a “concept”. This is supplied by Feyerabend's relativism with its notion of responsible subjectivity. We believe it necessary, however, to tackle some important objections, in particular deriving from two other equally interesting and original writers, Putnam and Rorty, whose respective positions are in many respects close to Feyerabend's while retaining substantial differences. Since our only purpose here is to establish the plausability of Feyerabend's point of view, we do not to intend to carry out an exhaustive comparison of the three writers, or indeed to resolve any polemic between them.
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