REVIEW ARTICLE 103
according to classical empiricism and which could be regarded as the only genuinely 'named* objects.
Wittgenstein's highly influential rejection of his earlier views in the Philosophical Investigations showed the demand for such 'naming* to be not just impossible, but self-defeating as the utility of such linguistic acts of naming would amount to nothing more than pure ritual. Within contemporary Anglo-Saxon schools of thought it is neither original nor controversial to aver with the Wittgensteinian perspective that vocabularies function as wholes, that linguistic ability involves a whole range of capabilities that must be and are mastered in the process of using language, and that acts of 'naming* are but one part of a language game and do not constitute a distinct, privileged access to 'truth* by virtue of a special relation to 'reality* or the 'world*.
But if such privileged access and special relationships are ruled out of court, must we assume that the demand that knowledge/language bear some significant relation to the world, and that this significance be not only conventional or arbitrary in some sense, is now reduced to the status of metaphysical sophistry? Surely Bernard William ('Getting It Right', London Review of Books, November 1989) is justified in upbraiding Rorty for assuming that no more is required for arriving at such a conclusion? Of course Rorty could, and he does, take the position that 'this sort of question' is one that only a 'philosophy professor . . . has trouble getting away with... If you advertise yourself as a novelist or a poet you are let off a lot of bad questions, because of the numinous haze that surrounds the "creative artist". But philosophy professors are supposed to be made of sterner stuff and to stay out in the open.' (p.133) This feint is disturbing but unconvincing.
Rorty claims, in the closing pages of his book, that he has 'been urging that the democracies (i.e. the rich and developed ones) are now in a position to throw away some of the ladders used in their own construction.' (p.194) Scientific method and rationality, notions of morality that transcend society's current modes of justification, the concept of a shared humanity, are all detrimental to a liberalism appropriate to the age of self-creation, which rejects the enlightenment attempt to empower individuality by aligning with 'superior', 'objective forces'.
However, Rorty is concerned with retaining liberalism's traditional concern with social well-being, and is not willing to have it regarded only as an elitist, private project. Continuing the theoretical compromise between the public and the private spheres of life, he opts for the retention of the idea of human solidarity, as the least violative of the individual's sense of autonomy. His definition of solidarity, however, involves a further compromise on the notion of morality— 'there is such a thing as moral progress'—for 'solidarity is ... the ability to see more and more traditional differences (of tribe, religion,