Richard Rorty 1931-2007
Richard Rorty, the leading American philosopher and heir to the pragmatist tradition, passed away on Friday, June 8. (via Long-Sunday)
“He admired people deeply, loved literature passionately and took deep pleasure in his work. (Philosopher couldn’t be ignored, SF Chronicle)
Requiem for a Heavyweight, obit from McLemee.
The man had chutzpah.
A Queasy Agnosticism – Richard Rorty reviews Saturday by Ian McEwan
The tragedy of the modern West is that it exhausted its strength before being able to achieve its ideals. The spiritual life of secularist Westerners centered on hope for the realization of those ideals. As that hope diminishes, their life becomes smaller and meaner. Hope is restricted to little, private things—and is increasingly being replaced by fear.
But his novel helps bring us up-to-date about ourselves. It makes vivid both our uneasiness about the future and our queasy, debilitating agnosticism about matters of justice and redistributed wealth.
Richard Rorty did not get Freud and Lacan.
Interview of Richard Rorty by Josefina Ayerza
The centerpiece of Rorty’s critique is the provocative account offered in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979, hereafter PMN). In this book, and in the closely related essays collected in Consequences of Pragmatism (1982, hereafter CP), Rorty’s principal target is the philosophical idea of knowledge as representation, as a mental mirroring of a mind-external world. Providing a contrasting image of philosophy, Rorty has sought to integrate and apply the milestone achievements of Dewey, Hegel and Darwin in a pragmatist synthesis of historicism and naturalism.
Rorty on Derrida via Pas audela
I feel greatly indebted to Heidegger and Derrida for enabling me to read the canonical works of Western philosophy with fresh eyes. Unlike the mean-spirited Nazi Heidegger, though, Derrida was not only a good social democrat, but a generous and tolerant man. Like Kierkegaard, he had a bubbling wit and the ability to make fun of himself.
I felt drawn to Rorty’s essays again and again—not least because they ranged far and wide (he ended up as a professor of comparative literature), and were, whatever his subject, elegant and approachable, closely argued and audacious at once; but also because he put his fingers squarely on the central thought dilemmas (or multilemmas) of our time, and because he didn’t use philosophy as a dodge from politics—sensible liberal social-democratic politics at that.