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There was the following passage in New York Times (April 13) article titled, “Philosophy returns to the real world”:

“It was in one of Fish’s seminars that I first read arch-postmodernist, Richard Rorty, He convincingly defended himself against the charge of relativism – I know, having spent hours in his office, trying to make it stick — and yet he maintained that it was useless to talk about the world, or truth. It was impossible, he asserted, to try to describe reality outside of our linguistic practices, to describe it as it would be if it were not being described.”

What does “make it stick” mean here? Does it mean “correct,” “change one’s mind” or “fix the other’s mind rightly”? Is it a popular idiom?

I was unable to get an answer by Googling it.

  • Link, please. Always. – Marius Hancu Apr 14 '15 at 0:27
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Searching Yahoo for

"make something stick" meaning

is one of the basic and good ways to find the meaning of a word. You don't seem to have used it, otherwise you'd have found

make something stick to cause something to be accepted or agreed to

Investigators didn't have the evidence to make the charges stick.

Workers got a good agreement and made it stick by threatening another costly strike.

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/make+stick

The narrator seems to have tried to make Rorty recognize that he (Rorty) was indeed a relativist, to make him accept the accusation/charge of relativism, to accept he was "guilty" of it.

Now, relativism is:

Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.1 As moral relativism, the term is often used in the context of moral principles, where principles and ethics are regarded as applicable in only limited context. There are many forms of relativism which vary in their degree of controversy.[2] The term often refers to truth relativism, which is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cultural relativism).

Wikipedia

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Make stick:

  • to cause something to be accepted or agreed to. Investigators didn't have the evidence to make the charges stick. Workers got a good agreement and made it stick by threatening another costly strike. (Cambridge Dict.)

The Free Dictionary

  • You should paraphrase the substance of what is said at your link should be provided, in case the site linked disappears or changes its address. – StoneyB Apr 14 '15 at 1:03

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