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The paradigm of how we 'know' is merely chance

Richard Rorty offers us an analysis of the philosophical context of the second half of the Twentieth Century. 

According to him, ever since Descartes, Locke, and Kant in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, philosophy has been centered on questions about knowledge (as the relation between humanity and reality), and in the study of the mind (as the entity able to establish that relation).

 From this perspective, knowledge is a matter of establishing a representational relation between ideas and reality

As Rorty writes, “to know is to represent accurately what is outside the mind” 

. Rorty says that this is the core of the representationalist paradigm, and that analytic philosophy is the heir of this paradigm. 

owever, Rorty uses Twentieth Century developments in the analytic tradition (by the later Ludwig Wittgenstein, Wilfrid Sellars, W.V.O. Quine, and Donald Davidson, among others) to argue that the representationalist paradigm is merely contingent, chanceaccidentalfortuitous and so philosophically optional.

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