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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable and Readable Guide, 7 Nov 2007
By 
G. G. Durante (Gibraltar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Rorty and the Mirror of Nature (Routledge Philosophy Guidebooks) (Paperback)
James Tartaglia has done us the great benefit of bringing together the sometimes rambling and foot-note-heavy arguments of Rorty's seminal Mirror of Nature into a very readable, philosophically astute commentary. Readers coming to Rorty for the first time, and even the philosophically educated who are curious about this iconoclastic figure, could not, to my mind, choose a better or more well-informed and reliable companion to the dismantling of the philosophical edifice that Rorty attempts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential background to Rorty's classic, 9 Oct 2007
By 
Dr. Timothy J. Parke (Reading UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Rorty and the Mirror of Nature (Routledge Philosophy Guidebooks) (Paperback)
I've always enjoyed Rorty's balloon popping style, but, unlike his other books, I've struggled with PMN, probably due to my lack of philosophical training. This book provided the perfect introduction to the key figures (Quine, Sellars, Davidson, Kuhn), and explains their arguments clearly, and how Rorty 'purified' them for his own ends. There is also a wealth of fascinating background information in the text and notes. Mr Tartglia is an impressive writer, lucid, fair, and at times amusing.

There are some quibbles. Unlike Rorty, Mr Tartaglia seems to think philosophical problems are perennial, and not historical contingencies, so there are several attempts to convince you of this. (I wasn't) Kuhn's 'different worlds' and Davidson's lack of conceptual scheme, are beautifully explained but the tensions between them (as illustrated by the Galileo/Bellarmine discussion) are overplayed. There is also a bizarre scientistic argument purported to show how (pace Rorty) science is different from other human activities, based on the fact you could impress someone from the 12th century by taking them flying! But perhaps I missed the point.

Don't let this put you off. There are plenty of remarks acknowledging the power and originality of Rorty's arguments, and his skill as a writer. Mr Tartaglia has done an excellent job in making PMN accessible to a wider audience, and I for one am very grateful. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eloquent primer, 4 Mar 2009
By 
S. Forge (Plymouth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Rorty and the Mirror of Nature (Routledge Philosophy Guidebooks) (Paperback)
This is not just an excellent introduction to an important thinker. It's well pitched for either a student or an informed layman, with a clear exposition not just of Rorty's ideas but of how they fit into their context and the broader sweep of western thought. The writing is engaging and imaginative, conveying the subtleties of the subject without becoming overly technical or losing its pace. As the reviews above mention, the author clearly brings many of his own views to the piece, though never to the detriment of the subject, but I think it is this that elevates the work from dry textbook into a genuinely deverting book that is well worth reading in its own right.
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