The Uses of the Past from Heidegger to Rorty: Doing Philosophy Historically

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In this book Robert Piercey asks how it is possible to do philosophy by studying the thinkers of the past. He develops his answer through readings of Martin Heidegger, Richard Rorty, Paul Ricoeur, Alasdair MacIntyre and other historically-minded philosophers. Piercey shows that what is distinctive about these figures is a concern with philosophical pictures - extremely general conceptions of what the world is like - rather than specific theories. He offers a comprehensive and illuminating exploration of the way in which these thinkers use narrative to evaluate and criticise these pictures. The result is a powerful and original account of how philosophers use the past.