Reconsidering Richard Rorty’s Private-Public Distinction

Humanities (2013)
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Abstract

This article provides a new interpretation of Richard Rorty’s notion of the private-public distinction. The first section of the article provides a short theoretical overview of the origins of the public-private distinction in Rorty’s political thought and clarifies the Rortian terminology. The main portion of the article is dedicated to the critique of Rorty’s private-public distinction, divided into two thematic sections: (i) the private-public distinction as undesirable and (ii) the private-public distinction as unattainable. I argue that Rorty’s formulation provides plausible answers to the first kind of criticism, but not to the second. Finally, a reformulation of the private-public distinction will be suggested, which both mitigates the second line of criticism and better coheres with Rorty’s general theory.

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Author's Profile

Lior Erez
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Rethinking nihilism.Tracy Llanera - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (9):937-950.

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References found in this work

The public and its problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Athens: Swallow Press. Edited by Melvin L. Rogers.
The man of reason: "male" and "female" in Western philosophy.Genevieve Lloyd - 1993 - Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
The Public and its problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 13 (3):367-368.
The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy.Richard Rorty - 2011 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 381-402.

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