Philosophy and Social Criticism 23 (1):49-69 (1997)

Truth, the pragmatist claims, is something we make, not something which corresponds to reality. If this view of truth is accepted, Rorty notes, two problems arise: the pragmatist will have little to say to those who abuse others, because he or she will not be able to point to some universal standards that the abusers are vio lating ; and the torturers may be able to quote pragmatic principles in their own defence. Rorty argues that the pragmatist can reduce cruelty by splitting himself or herself into public and private parts. I examine this problem and Rorty's solution. I argue that his solution fails for two reasons: first, keeping our public and private selves apart is unlikely to reduce cruelty; and, second, he cannot maintain the public/private split. Consequently, Rorty is unable to deal with the anti-pragmatic criticism that his theory of truth could lead to an increase in cruelty. Key Words: democracy • liberalism • political theory • pragmatism • Richard Rorty.
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DOI 10.1177/019145379702300104
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References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
Consequences of Pragmatism: Essays 1972-1980.Richard Rorty - 1982 - University of Minnesota Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Alvin I. Goldman - 1979 - Philosophical Review 90 (3):424-429.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rorty's Painful Liberalism.Giorgio Baruchello - 2002 - Bijdragen 63 (1):22-45.
Notes From the Playground.Maura Striano - 2020 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 12 (1).

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