“Speaking a Rortian dialect” Nice appreciation of Richard Rorty

I don’t know much about the source here (Jewish Daily Forward–they describe themselves as going since 1897 and part of the “din” of the immigrant press that promoted progressive values) but this is a nice appreciation of Richard Rorty.

(See also this obituary by Jürgen Habermas).

Richard Rorty’s death on June 8, at the age of 75, cut short a unique philosophical career. His influence on the intellectual scene of the final quarter of the 20th century can hardly be exaggerated. Rorty’s name is, indeed, known far and wide. But his influence extended far beyond the circles of those who knew anything about his work. When Americans speak of a “postmodern era,” even when they swear in the name of Michel Foucault or Jacques Derrida, they mostly speak a Rortian dialect: the belief that by giving up the idea of Objective Truth, we would become more liberal and more democratic.

Readers of this blog however might note the following observation, which may be a matter of opinion, if a common one:

When we speak of “postmodernism” we don’t mean Foucault’s dark anti-liberal views, we mean something like Rortian “anti-ideological liberalism.” Doing away with Truth will pave the way for a more liberal polity. But philosophically speaking, as exhilarating as the ride was, it ultimately fell short of successes, both analytically and as a way to think about ethics.


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