Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008 by Mitchell Aboulafia

By Mitchell Aboulafia

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27. See Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations; and Arthur C. Danto, “The Artworld,” Journal of Philosophy 61 (1964), pp. 571–584; and The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981). 28. See for a more sustained account of Danto’s theories, my Aesthetics: An Unforgiving Introduction (Belmont: Wadsworth, forthcoming in 2009). There’s reason to believe Danto has in recent years changed his theory in a drastic way. 29. See Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

One cognitive and practical way humans explore the new is by flavoring it with the old, the familiar. Humans often do this as we try new foods (Rozin 1976, 1998), and we do it by naming new places with old, street names, etc. (for example, New England, New Amsterdam). This is one form of cognitive adaptation. The tension between the familiar and the unfamiliar underlies a basic psychobiological fact: one tends to stay with the familiar until one is forced into a new territory. One might sample what is new, but only from the purview of the familiar, the accustomed.

M. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1953), §621. 9. See John McDowell, Mind and World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994). For a sense of the analytic position both Taylor and McDowell oppose, see the influential paper by Richard Rorty, “Davidson, Truth and Pragmatism,” in Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, ed. Ernest Lepore (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986). Rorty’s piece, it should be said, is not entirely representative of the views he’s defended in his “postmodernist” mode; but the paper does advance a strong version of late Anglo-American analytic philosophy.

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