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Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty

Overview
Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher. He had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

, and Professor of Comparative Literature
Comparative literature
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

. His complex intellectual background gave him a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the analytic
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

 tradition in philosophy, which he would later famously reject in favor of his own brand of pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

.

The philosophical program he developed included a rejection of a representationalist account of knowledge, a concept he referred to as a "mirror of nature," which he saw as a holdover from Platonism
Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

 and pervasive throughout the history of philosophy.
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Quotations

My principal motive is the belief that we can still make admirable sense of our lives even if we cease to have ... "an ambition of transcendence."

Introduction to Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers, Volume I (1991).

Philosophy makes progress not by becoming more rigorous but by becoming more imaginative.

Introduction to Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Volume 3 (1998).

Truthfulness under oath is, by now, a matter of our civic religion, our relation to our fellow citizens rather than our relation to a nonhuman power.

"John Searle on Realism and Relativism." Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Volume 3 (1998).

If I had to lay bets, my bet would be that everything is going to go to hell, but, you know, what else have we got except hope?

"Richard Rorty Interviewed by Gideon Lewis-Kraus." The Believer (magazine)|The Believer, June 2003.

Philosophers get attention only when they appear to be doing something sinister--corrupting the youth, undermining the foundations of civilization, sneering at all we hold dear. The rest of the time everybody assumes that they are hard at work somewhere down in the sub-basement, keeping those foundations in good repair. Nobody much cares what brand of intellectual duct tape is being used.

"Philosophical Convictions." The Nation| The Nation, June 14, 2004.
Encyclopedia
Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher. He had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

, and Professor of Comparative Literature
Comparative literature
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

. His complex intellectual background gave him a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the analytic
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

 tradition in philosophy, which he would later famously reject in favor of his own brand of pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

.

The philosophical program he developed included a rejection of a representationalist account of knowledge, a concept he referred to as a "mirror of nature," which he saw as a holdover from Platonism
Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

 and pervasive throughout the history of philosophy. In response to this tradition, which he saw embodied by analytic philosophy, Rorty developed a novel form of pragmatism, sometimes called neopragmatism
Neopragmatism
Neopragmatism, sometimes called linguistic pragmatism is a recent philosophical term for philosophy that reintroduces many concepts from pragmatism...

, in which scientific and philosophical methods are merely contingent
Contingency (philosophy)
In philosophy and logic, contingency is the status of propositions that are neither true under every possible valuation nor false under every possible valuation . A contingent proposition is neither necessarily true nor necessarily false...

 "vocabularies
Final vocabulary
"Final vocabulary" is a term coined by Richard Rorty and explicated in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. A "final vocabulary" is a set of communicative beliefs whose contingency is more or less ignored by the bearer. These beliefs can concern anything; it does not matter whether they are shared...

" which are abandoned or adopted over time according to social conventions and usefulness.

Abandoning representationalist accounts of knowledge and language, Rorty believed, would lead to a state of mind he referred to as "ironism
Ironist
Ironist is a term coined by Richard Rorty to describe someone who fulfills three conditions:In Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Rorty argues that Proust, Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger, Derrida, and Nabokov, among others, all exemplify Ironism to different extents.-References:*Rorty, Richard....

", in which people are completely aware of the contingency of their placement in history and of their vocabulary. For Rorty, this brand of philosophy is always tied to the notion of "social hope," that without the ideas of representation and other concepts standing in the way between the mind and the world, human society would be more free. Much of his work explicates what a "postphilosophical" culture that has abandoned representationalist epistemology would look like, incorporating a pragmatist naturalism
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

 that treats science as a tool towards liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

. His best known book is Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature is a famous book by American philosopher Richard Rorty. In it, Rorty attempts to dissolve so-called philosophical problems instead of solving them by exposing them as pseudo-problems that only exist in the language-game of Analytic philosophy...

(1979).

Biography


Richard Rorty was born October 4, 1931, in New York City. His parents, James and Winifred Rorty, were activists, writers and social democrats. His maternal grandfather, Walter Rauschenbusch
Walter Rauschenbusch
Walter Rauschenbusch was a Christian theologian and Baptist minister. He was a key figure in the Social Gospel movement in the United States of America.-Evolution of Thought:...

, was a central figure in the Social Gospel
Social Gospel
The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that was most prominent in the early 20th century United States and Canada...

 movement of the early 20th century.
His father experienced two nervous breakdowns in his later life. The second breakdown which he had in the early 1960s was more serious and "included claims to divine prescience". Consequently Richard Rorty fell into depression as a teenager and began a six-year psychiatric analysis for obsessional neurosis in 1962. Rorty wrote about the beauty of rural New Jersey orchids in his short autobiography, "Trotsky and the Wild Orchids." His colleague Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

's obituary for Rorty points out that Rorty's contrasting childhood experiences, such as beautiful orchids versus reading a book in his parents' house that defended Leon Trotsky against Stalin, created an early interest in philosophy. He describes Rorty as an ironist:
"Nothing is sacred to Rorty the ironist. Asked at the end of his life about the 'holy', the strict atheist answered with words reminiscent of the young Hegel: 'My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law."


Rorty enrolled at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 shortly before turning 15, where he received a bachelor's and a master's degree in philosophy (studying under Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss was a political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany to Jewish parents and later emigrated to the United States...

)
, continuing at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 for a PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in philosophy (1952–1956). He married another academic, Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 professor), in 1954, with whom he had a son, Jay. After two years in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, he taught at Wellesley College for three years until 1961. Rorty divorced his wife and then married Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 bioethicist Mary Varney Rorty in 1972. They had two children, Kevin and Patricia. While Richard Rorty was a "strict atheist" (Habermas), Mary Varney Rorty was a "practicing Mormon".

Rorty was a professor of philosophy at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 for 21 years. In 1981, he was a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship
MacArthur Fellows Program
The MacArthur Fellows Program or MacArthur Fellowship is an award given by the John D. and Catherine T...

, commonly known as the Genius Award, in its first year of awarding, and in 1982 he became Kenan Professor of the Humanities at the University Of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

. In 1997 Rorty became professor emeritus of comparative literature
Comparative literature
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

 (and philosophy, by courtesy), at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

. During this period he was especially popular, and once quipped that he had been assigned to the position of "transitory professor of trendy studies".

Rorty's doctoral dissertation, "The Concept of Potentiality", and his first book (as editor), The Linguistic Turn (1967), were firmly in the prevailing analytic
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

 mode. However, he gradually became acquainted with the American philosophical movement known as pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

, particularly the writings of John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

. The noteworthy work being done by analytic philosophers such as W.V.O. Quine and Wilfrid Sellars
Wilfrid Sellars
Wilfrid Stalker Sellars was an American philosopher. His father was the Canadian-American philosopher Roy Wood Sellars, a leading American philosophical naturalist in the first half of the twentieth-century...

 caused significant shifts in his thinking, which were reflected in his next book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature is a famous book by American philosopher Richard Rorty. In it, Rorty attempts to dissolve so-called philosophical problems instead of solving them by exposing them as pseudo-problems that only exist in the language-game of Analytic philosophy...

(1979).

Pragmatists generally hold that the meaning of a proposition is determined by its use in linguistic practice. Rorty combined pragmatism about truth and other matters with a later
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

 Wittgensteinian philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

 which declares that meaning is a social-linguistic product, and sentences do not 'link up' with the world in a correspondence relation. Rorty wrote in his Contingency, irony, and solidarity
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity , is a book by American philosopher Richard Rorty, based on two sets of lectures he gave at University College, London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge....

(1989):

"Truth cannot be out there—cannot exist independently of the human mind—because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world on its own—unaided by the describing activities of humans—cannot.”(5)


Views like this led Rorty to question many of philosophy's most basic assumptions — and have also led to him being apprehended as a postmodern/deconstructionist philosopher. Indeed, from the late 1980s through the 1990s, Rorty focused on the continental philosophical tradition
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

, examining the works of Friederich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

, Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault , born Paul-Michel Foucault , was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas...

, Jean-François Lyotard
Jean-François Lyotard
Jean-François Lyotard was a French philosopher and literary theorist. He is well known for his articulation of postmodernism after the late 1970s and the analysis of the impact of postmodernity on the human condition...

 and Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

. His work from this period included Contingency, irony, and solidarity
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity , is a book by American philosopher Richard Rorty, based on two sets of lectures he gave at University College, London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge....

, Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers (1991) and Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers (1998). The latter two works attempt to bridge the dichotomy between analytic and continental philosophy by claiming that the two traditions complement rather than oppose each other.

According to Rorty, analytic philosophy may not have lived up to its pretensions and may not have solved the puzzles it thought it had. Yet such philosophy, in the process of finding reasons for putting those pretensions and puzzles aside, helped earn itself an important place in the history of ideas. By giving up on the quest for apodictic
Apodictic
"Apodictic" or "apodeictic" is an adjectival expression from Aristotelean logic that refers to propositions that are demonstrable, that are necessarily or self-evidently the case or that, conversely, are impossible...

ity and finality that Husserl
Edmund Husserl
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher and mathematician and the founder of the 20th century philosophical school of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day, yet he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic...

 shared with Carnap and Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, and by finding new reasons for thinking that such quest will never succeed, analytic philosophy cleared a path that leads past scientism
Scientism
Scientism refers to a belief in the universal applicability of the systematic methods and approach of science, especially the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints...

, just as the German idealists
Idealism
In philosophy, idealism is the family of views which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing...

 cleared a path that led around empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

.


In the last fifteen years of his life, Rorty continued to publish voluminously, including four volumes of philosophical papers, Achieving Our Country
Achieving Our Country
Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America is a book by American philosopher Richard Rorty. In this book, Rorty differentiates between what he sees as the two sides of the Left, a critical Left and a progressive Left...

(1998), a political manifesto partly based on readings of Dewey and Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse...

 in which he defended the idea of a progressive
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

, pragmatic left against what he feels are defeatist, anti-liberal, anti-humanist positions espoused by the critical left and continental school, personified by figures like Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Foucault. Such theorists were also guilty of an "inverted Platonism" in which they attempted to craft over-arching, metaphysical, "sublime" philosophies—which in fact contradicted their core claims to be ironist and contingent. Rorty's last works focused on the place of religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 in contemporary life, liberal communities, and philosophy as "cultural politics".

Shortly before his death, he wrote a piece called "The Fire of Life", (published in the November 2007 issue of Poetry magazine), in which he meditates on his diagnosis and the comfort of poetry. He concludes, "I now wish that I had spent somewhat more of my life with verse. This is not because I fear having missed out on truths that are incapable of statement in prose. There are no such truths; there is nothing about death that Swinburne
Swinburne
Swinburne may refer to:* A place:**Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia**Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus in Kuching, Malaysia**Swinburne Senior Secondary College in Melbourne, Australia...

 and Landor
Walter Savage Landor
Walter Savage Landor was an English writer and poet. His best known works were the prose Imaginary Conversations, and the poem Rose Aylmer, but the critical acclaim he received from contemporary poets and reviewers was not matched by public popularity...

 knew but Epicurus
Epicurus
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

 and Heidegger failed to grasp. Rather, it is because I would have lived more fully if I had been able to rattle off more old chestnuts — just as I would have if I had made more close friends."

On June 8, 2007, Rorty died in his home from pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer refers to a malignant neoplasm of the pancreas. The most common type of pancreatic cancer, accounting for 95% of these tumors is adenocarcinoma, which arises within the exocrine component of the pancreas. A minority arises from the islet cells and is classified as a...

.

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature



In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Rorty argues that the central problems of modern epistemology depend upon a picture of the mind as trying to faithfully represent (or "mirror") a mind-independent, external reality. If we give up this metaphor, then the entire enterprise of foundationalist epistemology is misguided
Anti-foundationalism
Anti-foundationalism as the name implies, is a term applied to any philosophy which rejects a foundationalist approach, i.e. an anti-foundationalist is one who does not believe that there is some fundamental belief or principle which is the basic ground or foundation of inquiry and knowledge...

. A foundationalist believes that in order to avoid the regress inherent in claiming that all beliefs are justified by other beliefs, some beliefs must be self-justifying and form the foundations to all knowledge.

There were two senses of "foundationalism" criticized in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. In the epistemological sense, Rorty criticized the attempt to justify knowledge claims by tracing them to a set of foundations (e.g., self-evident premises or noninferential sensations); more broadly, he criticized the claim of philosophy to function foundationally within a culture. The former argument draws on Sellars's critique of the idea that there is a "given" in sensory perception, in combination with Quine's critique
Two Dogmas of Empiricism
W. V. Quine's paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism, published in 1951, is one of the most celebrated papers of twentieth century philosophy in the analytic tradition. According to Harvard professor of philosophy Peter Godfrey-Smith, this "paper [is] sometimes regarded as the most important in all of...

 of the distinction between analytic sentences (sentences which are true solely in virtue of what they mean) and synthetic sentences (sentences made true by the world). Each critique, taken alone, provides a problem for a conception of how philosophy ought to proceed, yet leaves enough of the tradition intact to proceed with its former aspirations. Combined, Rorty claimed, the two critiques are devastating. With no privileged insight into the structure of belief and no privileged realm of truths of meaning, we have, instead, knowledge as those beliefs that pay their way. The only worthwhile description of the actual process of inquiry, Rorty claimed, was a Kuhnian account of the standard phases of the progress of disciplines, oscillating through normal
Normal science
Normal Science is a concept originated by Thomas Samuel Kuhn and elaborated in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The term refers to the routine work of scientists experimenting within a paradigm, slowly accumulating detail in accord with established broad theory, not actually challenging or...

 and abnormal periods, between routine problem-solving and intellectual crises.

After eliminating foundationalism, Rorty argues that one of the few roles left for a philosopher is to act as an intellectual gadfly, attempting to induce a revolutionary break with previous practice, a role that Rorty was happy to take on himself. Rorty suggests that each generation tries to subject all disciplines to the model that the most successful discipline of the day employs. In Rorty's view, the success of modern science has led academics in philosophy and the humanities to mistakenly imitate scientific methods. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature popularized and extended ideas of Wilfrid Sellars
Wilfrid Sellars
Wilfrid Stalker Sellars was an American philosopher. His father was the Canadian-American philosopher Roy Wood Sellars, a leading American philosophical naturalist in the first half of the twentieth-century...

 (the critique of the Myth of the given) and W. V. O. Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition...

 (the critique of the analytic-synthetic distinction) and others who advocate the Wittgensteinian doctrine of "dissolving" rather than solving philosophical problems.

Contingency, irony, and solidarity



In Contingency, irony, and solidarity (1989), Rorty abandons specifically analytic modes of explication in favor of narrative pastiche in order to develop an alternative conceptual vocabulary to that of the "Platonists" he rejects. This schema is based on the belief that there is no worthwhile theory of truth, aside from a boring, non-epistemic semantic one (as Donald Davidson
Donald Davidson (philosopher)
Donald Herbert Davidson was an American philosopher born in Springfield, Massachusetts, who served as Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981 to 2003 after having also held teaching appointments at Stanford University, Rockefeller University, Princeton...

 developed out of the work of Tarski
Alfred Tarski
Alfred Tarski was a Polish logician and mathematician. Educated at the University of Warsaw and a member of the Lwow-Warsaw School of Logic and the Warsaw School of Mathematics and philosophy, he emigrated to the USA in 1939, and taught and carried out research in mathematics at the University of...

). Rorty suggests that the task of philosophy should be distinguished along public and private lines. Private philosophers, who provide one with greater abilities to (re)create oneself, a view adapted from Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

 and which Rorty also identifies with the novels of Proust
Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu...

 and Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist...

, should not be expected to help with public problems. For a public philosophy, one might turn to Rawls
John Rawls
John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

 or Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

.

This book also marks his first attempt to specifically articulate a political vision consistent with his philosophy, the vision of a diverse community bound together by opposition to cruelty, and not by abstract ideas such as 'justice' or 'common humanity,' policed by the separation of the public and private realms of life.

In this book, Rorty introduces the terminology of Ironism, which he uses to describe his mindset and his philosophy.

Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth


Amongst the essays in Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 (1990), is "The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy," in which Rorty defends Rawls
John Rawls
John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

 against communitarian critics and argues that personal ideals of perfection and standards of truth were no more needed in politics than a state religion. He sees Rawls' concept of reflective equilibrium
Reflective equilibrium
Reflective equilibrium is a state of balance or coherence among a set of beliefs arrived at by a process of deliberative mutual adjustment among general principles and particular judgments. Although he did not use the term, philosopher Nelson Goodman introduced the method of reflective equilibrium...

 as a more appropriate way of conceptualizing political decision-making in modern liberal democracies.

Essays on Heidegger and Others


In this text, Rorty focuses primarily on the continental philosophers Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

 and Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

. He argues that these European "post-Nietzscheans" share much with American pragmatists, in that they critique metaphysics and reject the correspondence theory of truth. When discussing Derrida, Rorty claims that Derrida is most useful when viewed as a funny writer who attempted to circumvent the Western philosophical tradition, rather than the inventor of a philosophical (or literary) "method." In this vein, Rorty criticizes Derrida's followers like Paul de Man
Paul de Man
Paul de Man was a Belgian-born deconstructionist literary critic and theorist.He began teaching at Bard College. Later, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in the late 1950s...

 for taking deconstructive literary theory too seriously.

Achieving Our Country



In Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America (1997), Rorty differentiates between what he sees as the two sides of the Left, a cultural Left and a progressive Left. He criticizes the cultural Left, which is exemplified by post-structuralists such as Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault , born Paul-Michel Foucault , was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas...

 and postmodernists such as Jean-François Lyotard
Jean-François Lyotard
Jean-François Lyotard was a French philosopher and literary theorist. He is well known for his articulation of postmodernism after the late 1970s and the analysis of the impact of postmodernity on the human condition...

, for offering critiques of society, but no alternatives (or alternatives that are so vague and general as to be abdications). Although these intellectuals make insightful claims about the ills of society, Rorty suggests that they provide no alternatives and even occasionally deny the possibility of progress. On the other hand, the progressive Left, exemplified for Rorty by the pragmatist
Pragmatist
Pragmatist may refer to:*A person who subscribes to pragmatism, a field of philosophy*A person who subscribes to pragmaticism, Charles Sanders Peirce's post-1905 branch of philosophy...

 John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

, Whitman and James Baldwin, makes hope for a better future its priority. Without hope, Rorty argues, change is spiritually inconceivable and the cultural Left has begun to breed cynicism. Rorty sees the progressive Left as acting in the philosophical spirit of pragmatism.

On human rights


Rorty's notion of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 is grounded on the notion of sentimentality
Sentimentality
Sentimentality originally indicated the reliance on feelings as a guide to truth, but current usage defines it as an appeal to shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason....

. He contended that throughout history humans have devised various means of construing certain groups of individuals as inhuman or subhuman. Thinking in rationalist (foundationalist) terms will not solve this problem, he claimed. Rorty advocated the creation of a culture of global human rights in order to stop violations from happening through a sentimental education. He argued that we should create a sense of empathy
Empathy
Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion. The English word was coined in 1909 by E.B...

 or teach empathy to others so as to understand others' suffering.

Reception and criticism


Rorty is one of the most widely discussed and most controversial of philosophers of recent years, and his works have provoked thoughtful responses from many well-respected philosophers. In Robert Brandom's anthology, entitled Rorty and His Critics, for example, Rorty's philosophy is discussed by Donald Davidson
Donald Davidson (philosopher)
Donald Herbert Davidson was an American philosopher born in Springfield, Massachusetts, who served as Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981 to 2003 after having also held teaching appointments at Stanford University, Rockefeller University, Princeton...

, Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

, Hilary Putnam
Hilary Putnam
Hilary Whitehall Putnam is an American philosopher, mathematician and computer scientist, who has been a central figure in analytic philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science...

, John McDowell
John McDowell
John Henry McDowell is a South African philosopher, formerly a fellow of University College, Oxford and now University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he has written extensively on metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, McDowell's most influential work...

, Jacques Bouveresse
Jacques Bouveresse
Jacques Bouveresse is a philosopher who has written on subjects including Ludwig Wittgenstein, Robert Musil, Karl Kraus, philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mathematics and analytical philosophy...

, and Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Clement Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of...

, among others.

John McDowell
John McDowell
John Henry McDowell is a South African philosopher, formerly a fellow of University College, Oxford and now University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he has written extensively on metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, McDowell's most influential work...

 is strongly influenced by Rorty, particularly by Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979). In continental philosophy, authors such as Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

, Gianni Vattimo
Gianni Vattimo
Gianteresio Vattimo, also known as Gianni Vattimo is an internationally recognized Italian author, philosopher, and politician. Many of his works have been translated into English.-Biography:...

, Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

, Albrecht Wellmer
Albrecht Wellmer
Albrecht Wellmer is a prominent German philosopher at the Freie Universität Berlin.-Biography:He studied maths and physics at Berlin and Kiel, then philosophy and sociology at Heidelberg and Frankfurt. He was an assistant to Jürgen Habermas at the University of Frankfurt from 1966 to 1970...

, Hans Joas
Hans Joas
Hans Joas is a German sociologist and social theorist.Joas is the Director of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt and Professor of Sociology and a Member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He currently serves as...

, Chantal Mouffe
Chantal Mouffe
Chantal Mouffe is a Belgian political theorist.-Work:Chantal Mouffe studied at Louvain, Paris and Essex and has worked in many universities throughout the world . She has also held visiting positions at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and the CNRS...

, Simon Critchley
Simon Critchley
Simon Critchley is an English philosopher currently teaching at The New School. He works in continental philosophy. Critchley argues that philosophy commences in disappointment, either religious or political...

, Esa Saarinen
Esa Saarinen
Esa Saarinen is a Finnish philosopher who is currently professor of applied philosophy at Aalto University and co-director of the Systems Intelligence Research Group....

 and Mike Sandbothe
Mike Sandbothe
Mike Sandbothe is a German intellectual and philosopher living in Hamburg with his wife and daughter. He is co-founder of the new branch of media philosophy and one of the main proponents of philosophical pragmatism in Europe. He held professorships for Media Culture Studies at as well as for...

 are influenced in different ways by Rorty's thinking.

Although Rorty was a hardened liberal, his political and moral philosophies have been attacked from the Left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

, some of whom believe them to be insufficient frameworks for social justice. Rorty was also criticized by others for his rejection of the idea that science can depict the world. One criticism, especially of Contingency, irony, and solidarity is that Rorty's philosophical 'hero', the ironist
Ironist
Ironist is a term coined by Richard Rorty to describe someone who fulfills three conditions:In Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Rorty argues that Proust, Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger, Derrida, and Nabokov, among others, all exemplify Ironism to different extents.-References:*Rorty, Richard....

, is an elitist figure. Rorty claims that the majority of people would be "commonsensically nominalist and historicist" but not ironist. These people would combine an ongoing attention to the particular as opposed to the transcendent (nominalism
Nominalism
Nominalism is a metaphysical view in philosophy according to which general or abstract terms and predicates exist, while universals or abstract objects, which are sometimes thought to correspond to these terms, do not exist. Thus, there are at least two main versions of nominalism...

), with an awareness of their place in a continuum of contingent lived experience alongside other individuals (historicist), without necessarily having continual doubts about the resulting worldview as the ironist does. An ironist is someone who: 1) "has radical and continuing doubts about their final vocabulary"; 2) "realizes that argument phrased in their vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts"; and 3) "does not think their vocabulary is closer to reality than others" (all 73, Contingency, irony, and solidarity).

Rorty often draws on a broad range of other philosophers to support his views, and his interpretation of their works has been contested. Since Rorty is working from a tradition of re-interpretation, he remains uninterested in 'accurately' portraying other thinkers, but rather in utilizing their work in the same way a literary critic might use a novel. His essay "The Historiography of Philosophy: Four Genres" is a thorough description of how he treats the greats in the history of philosophy.

In Contingency, irony, and solidarity, Rorty attempts to disarm those who criticize his writings by arguing that their philosophical criticisms are made using axioms that are explicitly rejected within Rorty's own philosophy. For instance, Rorty defines allegations of irrationality as affirmations of vernacular "otherness", and so -- Rorty claims -- accusations of irrationality can be expected during any argument and must simply be brushed aside.

Select bibliography

  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
    Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
    Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature is a famous book by American philosopher Richard Rorty. In it, Rorty attempts to dissolve so-called philosophical problems instead of solving them by exposing them as pseudo-problems that only exist in the language-game of Analytic philosophy...

    . Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979. ISBN
  • Consequences of Pragmatism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. ISBN
  • (ed. with J. B. Schneewind
    J. B. Schneewind
    Jerome B. Schneewind is a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University.-Life:He received his B.A. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University...

     and Quentin Skinner
    Quentin Skinner
    Quentin Robert Duthie Skinner is the Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London.-Biography:...

    ) Philosophy in History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • Contingency, irony, and solidarity
    Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity
    Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity , is a book by American philosopher Richard Rorty, based on two sets of lectures he gave at University College, London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge....

    . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-521-35381-6
  • Objectivity, Relativism and Truth: Philosophical Papers I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN
  • Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN
  • Achieving Our Country
    Achieving Our Country
    Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America is a book by American philosopher Richard Rorty. In this book, Rorty differentiates between what he sees as the two sides of the Left, a critical Left and a progressive Left...

    : Leftist Thought in Twentieth Century America
    . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. ISBN
  • Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN
  • Philosophy and Social Hope
    Philosophy and Social Hope
    Philosophy and Social Hope is a 1999 book written by philosopher Richard Rorty and published by Penguin. The book is a collection of cultural and political essays intended to reach a wider audience and, like his previous books, it presents Rorty's own version of pragmatism...

    . New York: Penguin, 2000. ISBN
  • Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2002. ISBN
  • The Future of Religion with Gianni Vattimo
    Gianni Vattimo
    Gianteresio Vattimo, also known as Gianni Vattimo is an internationally recognized Italian author, philosopher, and politician. Many of his works have been translated into English.-Biography:...

     Ed. Santiago Zabala. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2005. ISBN
  • Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers IV
    Philosophy as Cultural Politics
    Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers: v.4 is a book is by Richard Rorty, the late Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Stanford University....

    . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

See also

  • Anti-foundationalism
    Anti-foundationalism
    Anti-foundationalism as the name implies, is a term applied to any philosophy which rejects a foundationalist approach, i.e. an anti-foundationalist is one who does not believe that there is some fundamental belief or principle which is the basic ground or foundation of inquiry and knowledge...

  • Contributions to liberal theory
    Contributions to liberal theory
    Individual contributors to classical liberalism and political liberalism are associated with philosophers of the Enlightenment. Liberalism as a specifically named ideology begins in the late 18th century as a movement towards self-government and away from aristocracy...

  • Deconstruction-and-religion
    Deconstruction-and-religion
    Those that take a deconstructive approach to religion identify closely with the work of Jacques Derrida, especially his work later in life. According to Slavoj Žižek, in the mid-to-late 1980s Derrida's work shifted from constituting a radical negative theology to being a form of Kantian idealism....

  • List of American philosophers
  • List of thinkers influenced by deconstruction

Books

  • Richard Rorty: Critical Assessments (4 vols) / James Tartaglia, 2009
  • The domestication of Derrida: Rorty, pragmatism and deconstruction / Lorenzo Fabbri., 2008
  • Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher / Neil Gross, 2008
  • Rorty and the Mirror of Nature / James Tartaglia, 2007
  • Richard Rorty: Pragmatism and Political Liberalism / Michael Bacon., 2007
  • Richard Rorty: politics and vision / Christopher Voparil., 2006
  • Heidegger, Rorty, and the Eastern thinkers : a hermeneutics of cross-cultural understanding / Wei Zhang., 2006
  • Richard Rorty: his philosophy under discussion / Andreas Vieth., 2005
  • The concept of Rortyan Christian ironism / Odom, Barton Page., 2005
  • The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy: Contemporary Engagement between Analytic and Continental Thought / Eds. William Egginton and Mike Sandbothe
    Mike Sandbothe
    Mike Sandbothe is a German intellectual and philosopher living in Hamburg with his wife and daughter. He is co-founder of the new branch of media philosophy and one of the main proponents of philosophical pragmatism in Europe. He held professorships for Media Culture Studies at as well as for...

    ., 2005
  • Richard Rorty / Charles B Guignon., 2003
  • Between Rorty and MacIntyre: A Kierkegaardian account of irony and moral commitment / Frazier, Bradley., 2003
  • Richard Rorty's American faith / Taub, Gad Shmuel., 2003
  • The ethical ironist: Kierkegaard, Rorty, and the educational quest / Rohrer, Patricia Jean., 2003
  • Doing philosophy as a way to individuation: Reading Rorty and Cavell / Kwak, Duck-Joo., 2003
  • Richard Rorty / Alan R Malachowski., 2002
  • Richard Rorty: critical dialogues / Matthew Festenstein., 2001
  • Richard Rorty: education, philosophy, and politics / Michael Peters., 2001
  • Religion and the Demise of Liberal Rationalism / Judd Owen., 2001
  • Rorty and his critics / Robert Brandom., 2000
  • On Rorty / Richard Rumana., 2000
  • Philosophy and freedom : Derrida, Rorty, Habermas, Foucault / John McCumber., 2000
  • A pragmatist's progress?: Richard Rorty and American intellectual history / John Pettegrew., 2000
  • Problems of the modern self: Reflections on Rorty, Taylor, Nietzsche, and Foucault / Dudrick, David Francis., 2000
  • The last conceptual revolution: a critique of Richard Rorty's political philosophy / Eric Gander., 1999
  • Richard Rorty's politics: liberalism at the end of the American century/Markar Melkonian., 1999
  • Cultural otherness : correspondence with Richard Rorty / Anindita Niyogi Balslev., 1999
  • The work of friendship : Rorty, his critics, and the project of solidarity / Dianne Rothleder., 1999
  • Pragmatism and political theory : from Dewey to Rorty / Matthew Festenstein., 1997
  • Debating the state of philosophy: Habermas, Rorty, and Kolakowski / Józef Niznik., 1996
  • For the love of perfection : Richard Rorty and liberal education / René Vincente Arcilla., 1995
  • Rorty & pragmatism: the philosopher responds to his critics / Herman J Saatkamp., 1995
  • Richard Rorty : prophet and poet of the new pragmatism / David L Hall., 1994
  • Without God or his doubles : realism, relativism, and Rorty / D Vaden House., 1994
  • Beyond postmodern politics : Lyotard, Rorty, Foucault / Honi Fern Haber., 1994
  • After the demise of the tradition : Rorty, critical theory, and the fate of philosophy/ Kai Nielsen., 1991
  • Reading Rorty: critical responses to Philosophy and the mirror of nature (and beyond) / Alan R Malachowski., 1990
  • Rorty's humanistic pragmatism : philosophy democratized / Konstantin Kolenda., 1990
  • Pragmatist Aesthetics / Richard Shusterman. Rowman Littlefield 2000. (esp. Chapter 9: 236-261)

Articles

  • Rorty R / "The Fire of Life" POETRY / NOV 2007 [available online]

  • Lynch S / On Richard Rorty's use of the distinction between the private and the public

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES 15 (1): 97-120 MAR 2007
  • Dombrowski DA / Rorty versus Hartshorne, or, poetry versus metaphysics (Richard Rorty, Charles Hartshorne)

METAPHILOSOPHY 38 (1): 88-110 JAN 2007
  • Arriaga M / Richard Rorty's anti-foundationalism and traditional philosophy's claim of social relevance

INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 45 (4): 467-482 DEC 2005
  • Barthold LS / How hermeneutical is he? A gadamerian analysis of Richard Rorty

PHILOSOPHY TODAY 49 (3): 236-244 FAL 2005
  • Stieb JA / Rorty on realism and constructivism

METAPHILOSOPHY 36 (3): 272-294 APR 2005
  • Flaherty J / Rorty, religious beliefs, and pragmatism

INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 45 (2): 175-185 JUN 2005
  • Smith NH / Rorty on religion and hope

INQUIRY-AN INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY 48 (1): 76-98 FEB 2005
  • Santos RJ / Richard Rorty's philosophy of social hope

PHILOSOPHY TODAY 47 (4): 431-440 WIN 2003
  • Miller CB / Rorty and moral relativism

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY 10 (3): 354-374 DEC 2002
  • Abrams JJ / Aesthetics of self-fashioning and cosmopolitanism - Foucault and Rorty on the art of living

PHILOSOPHY TODAY 46 (2): 185-192 SUM 2002
  • Margolis J / Dewey's and Rorty's opposed pragmatisms

TRANSACTIONS OF THE CHARLES S PEIRCE SOCIETY 38 (1-2): 117-135 WIN-SPR 2002
  • Talisse RB
    Robert B. Talisse
    Background InformationRobert B. Talisse is Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He is also a Professor in Vanderbilt's Political Science Department...

     / A pragmatist critique of Richard Rorty's hopeless politics

SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY 39 (4): 611-626 WIN 2001
  • Picardi E / Rorty, Sorge and truth

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES 9 (3): 431-439 Sp. Iss. SI AUG 2001
  • McDermid DJ / Does epistemology rest on a mistake? Understanding Rorty on scepticism

CRITICA-REVISTA HISPANOAMERICANA DE FILOSOFIA 32 (96): 3-42 DEC 2000
  • Owens J / The obligations of irony: Rorty on irony, autonomy, and contingency

REVIEW OF METAPHYSICS 54 (1): 27-41 SEP 2000
  • Margolis J / Richard Rorty: Philosophy by other means

METAPHILOSOPHY 31 (5): 529-546 OCT 2000
  • Kompridis N / So we need something else for reason to mean

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES 8 (3): 271-295 OCT 2000
  • Cohen AJ / On Universalism: Commuitarians, Rorty, and ('Objectivist') 'liberal metaphysicians'

SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY 38 (1): 39-75 SPR 2000
  • Rorty R / Response to Randall Peerenboom ('Rorty and the China Challenge')

PHILOSOPHY EAST & WEST 50 (1): 90-91 JAN 2000
  • Peerenboom R / The limits of irony: Rorty and the China challenge

PHILOSOPHY EAST & WEST 50 (1): 56-89 JAN 2000
  • Stow, S. / The Return of Charles Kinbote: Nabokov on Rorty

PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE 23: 65-77 1999

External links




Essays and Articles by Rorty

  • Rorty's thoughts on dying, Poetry magazine, November 2007.
  • Rorty essay, possibly his last published, "A rejoinder to Béla Egyed," March 2007, reprinted in "Kritika & Kontext," May 2007.
  • Rorty review of Bernard Williams's Truth and Truthfulness, LRB, Oct. 31, 2002.
  • Rorty essays published in Dissent
    Dissent
    Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or an entity...

     (magazine)
  • Rorty essay, "Democracy and philosophy", originally delivered April 2004, in Tehran, reprinted in Kritika & Kontext, May 2007.
  • Rorty on President Clinton's legacy, New York Times op-ed, March 6, 2000.
  • Rorty essay, "Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism", 1998.
  • Rorty on Oliver North, New York Times op-ed, October 13, 1994.
  • Rorty essay, "Feminism and Pragmatism", the Tanner Lecture on Human Values, December 7, 1990.

Book Reviews by Rorty


Interviews

  • Rorty audio, informative interview by Prof. Robert P. Harrison
    Robert P. Harrison
    Robert P. Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Chair of Italian Literature at Stanford University.He was born in Izmir, Turkey, and raised in Rome. He is the host of the podcast Entitled Opinions . He plays lead guitar for the cerebral rock band Glass Wave.- External links :* * *...

    , Nov. 22, 2005.
  • Rorty interview, Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies, conducted by Derek Nystrom & Kent Puckett, Prickly Paradigm Press, Sept. 1998.
  • Rorty interview, The Atlantic Monthly, April 23, 1998.
  • Rorty interview, Flash Art Magazine, Nov/Dec. 1993.

Obituaries, Eulogies and Memorials

  • Rorty Memorial Lecture by Jürgen Habermas
    Jürgen Habermas
    Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

    , Stanford University, Nov. 2, 2007.
  • Jürgen Habermas's obituary for Richard Rorty, signandsight.com, June 12, 2007.
  • Dan Adleman's obituary for Richard Rorty, June 2007.
  • Danny Postel's obituary for Richard Rorty in New Humanist
    New Humanist
    New Humanist is a monthly magazine published by the Rationalist Association in the UK. It has been in print for 125 years; starting out life as Watts's Literary Guide, founded by C. A. Watts in November 1885....

    , July/August 2007.
  • Rorty eulogized by Richard Posner, Brian Eno, Mark Edmundson, Jürgen Habermas, Daniel Dennett, Stanley Fish, David Bromwich, Simon Blackburn, Morris Dickstein & others, Slate Magazine, June 18, 2007.
  • "The Inspiring Power of the Shy Thinker: Richard Rorty" by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, TELOS
    TELOS (journal)
    Telos is an academic journal published in the United States. It was founded in May 1968 to provide the New Left with a coherent theoretical perspective. It sought to expand the Husserlian diagnosis of "the crisis of European sciences" to prefigure a particular program of social reconstruction...

    , June 13, 2007.
  • Richard Rorty at Princeton: Personal Recollections by Raymond Geuss
    Raymond Geuss
    Raymond Geuss , a Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, is a political philosopher and scholar of 19th and 20th century European philosophy.-Life:...

     in Arion
    Arion (journal)
    Arion is a journal of humanities and the classics published at Boston University. The editor-in-chief is Herbert Golder, a professor of classics at BU.Originally founded in the 1960s at the University of Texas, Arion was revived by Golder in 1990...

    , Winter 2008
  • Rereading Rorty by Albrecht Wellmer
    Albrecht Wellmer
    Albrecht Wellmer is a prominent German philosopher at the Freie Universität Berlin.-Biography:He studied maths and physics at Berlin and Kiel, then philosophy and sociology at Heidelberg and Frankfurt. He was an assistant to Jürgen Habermas at the University of Frankfurt from 1966 to 1970...

     in Krisis (journal), 2008, 2