From the editor

Jeffrey M. Perl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this introduction to the silver anniversary issue of Common Knowledge, the journal’s founding editor explains the unusual format of CK 25:1–3. Arranged in eleven “conversations” of pieces published since 1992, the format fulfills a promise made in that year to Richard Rorty that a full issue would be devoted, some day, to conversations among people who have inspired in each other “interesting and important” intellectual disagreements. The editor further explains how, over the intervening years, the disagreements among contributors have evolved. While Common Knowledge began as an enterprise of “Left Kuhnian” or “Left Wittgensteinian” contextualists, hoping to get beyond the problem known as “incommensurability,” it has become over the past quarter-century a venue in which the commensuration of paradigms and worldviews, even religions and cultures, is continuously essayed. As he writes: “The question, in other words, is [no longer] whether worldviews are commensurable. The question is whether we should do what it takes—all that it takes—to communicate and reconcile with those we fear. . . . But whoever—let us admit it—takes on the task is going to end up with dirty hands. This job is not one for contextualists in white gloves. . . . There is no clean methodology for reconciling worldviews at odds. . . . By this time . . . our hands are filthy, and our shoes unwearable indoors.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCommon Knowledge
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2019


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