The first comprehensive collection of the work of Richard Rorty, The Rorty Reader brings together the influential American philosopher’s essential essays from over four decades of writings. Offers a comprehensive introduction to Richard Rorty's life and body of work Brings key essays published across many volumes and journals into one collection, including selections from his final volume of philosophical papers, Philosophy as Cultural Politics ) Contains the previously unpublished essay, “Redemption from Egotism” Includes in-depth interviews, and several revealing autobiographical pieces (...) Represents the fullest portrait available today on Rorty’s relationship with American pragmatism and the trajectory of his thought. (shrink)
The first full-length work devoted to Richard Rorty from the perspective of political theory, this book offers a fresh assessment of the promise of the renowned pragmatist's project. Framing Rorty's discourse as one of meaning and persuasion rather than truth and accuracy of representation, Voparil sheds new light on many of Rorty's most misunderstood and maligned stances, including his practice of "redescription" and disavowal of "getting it right," as well as his embrace of the novel and "sentimental education." As political (...) theory, Rorty's perspective, not unlike Sheldon Wolin's, values the imagination, the ability to come up with new metaphors and angles of vision, and is driven by a deep desire to reinvigorate a moribund and detached contemporary left. (shrink)
This essay seeks to illuminate the ethical concerns that animate Richard Rorty's philosophy. I argue that Rorty's ethics foregrounds as its central priority the issue of responsibility and frame Rorty's work as offering us a picture of ethical comportment in a postfoundational, pluralistic milieu, where citizens not only recognize the contingency of their own deepest beliefs but give up any sense of responsibilities owed to nonhuman authorities. To paraphrase Rorty, from any number of occasions, all we have to be responsible (...) to is each other. Yet Rorty goes even further than antiauthoritarianism in ethics. He not only shifts to thinking about ethics in terms of our relations to others; he specifically attunes this ethics to those who are suffering or excluded or merely previously unnoticed. What emerges is an alternative Rorty to the smirking gadfly blithely shrugging off criticism and incapable of inhabiting a position of moral seriousness. (shrink)
This book offers a fresh perspective on Richard Rorty by situating his work in the arena of political theory. Reinterpreting Rorty's much-maligned antirepresentationalism as a Romantic affirmation of the power of imaginative writing, Voparil firmly grounds Rorty in an American tradition that includes not only James and Dewey, but Emerson, Whitman, and James Baldwin, and initiates an overdue reassessment of this important thinker's value to the political discourse of the 21st century.
Pragmatism and Justice is an interdisciplinary volume of new and seminal essays by political philosophers, social theorists, and scholars of pragmatism which provides a comprehensive introduction and lasting resource for scholars of pragmatist thought and questions of justice.
The figure of Richard Rorty stands in complex relation to the tradition of American pragmatism. On the one hand, his intellectual creativity, lively prose, and bridge-building fueled the contemporary resurgence of pragmatism. On the other, his polemical claims and selective interpretations function as a negative, fixed pole against which thinkers of all stripes define themselves. Virtually all pragmatists on the contemporary scene, whether classical or "new," Deweyan, Jamesian, or Peircean, use Rorty as a foil to justify their positions. The resulting (...) internecine quarrels and divisions threaten to thwart and fragment the tradition's creative potential. More caricatured than understood, the specter of Rorty is blocking the road of inquiry and future development of pragmatism. Reconstructing Pragmatism moves beyond the Rortyan impasse by providing what has been missing for decades: a constructive, non-polemical account of Rorty's relation to classical pragmatism. The first book-length treatment of Rorty's intellectual debt to the early pragmatists, it establishes his selective appropriations not as misunderstandings or distortions but as a sustained, intentional effort to reconstruct their thinking. Featuring chapters devoted to five key pragmatist thinkers - Peirce, James, Dewey, Royce, and Addams - the book draws on archival sources and the full scope of Rorty's writings to challenge prevailing misconceptions and caricatures. By illuminating the critical resources, still largely untapped, that Rorty offers for articulating classical pragmatism's ongoing relevance, the book reveals limitations in the received images of the classical pragmatists that predominate in current debates and opens up new modes of understanding pragmatism and why it matters today. (shrink)
The diversity of learning differences in today's college classrooms raises an array of difficult questions that pedagogical theory and practice have yet to address. The trend toward more individualized instruction presents a puzzle when considered alongside this new diversity, particularly in the context of classical ideals of liberal education. Drawing on the surprisingly timely educational writings of John Dewey, this essay attempts to sketch a pedagogical vision for the 21st century that shifts the focus back toward the process of learning (...) itself, and that grounds learning in the personal experience of the learner without compromising the larger goals of liberal education. Meeting the challenges presented by diverse learners may hold the key to reinvigorating higher education as a whole. (shrink)
Given how much the tradition owes to Dewey’s pragmatic reconstruction of philosophy, that more is not written of a political bent by those working under the sign of pragmatism is to me always surprising. John McGowan’s Pragmatist Politics is a shining exception. The book’s aim is “to articulate and practice a liberal democratic ethos inspired primarily by the American pragmatist tradition.”1 Two compelling opening chapters lay out McGowan’s melioristic conception of pragmatism as a philosophy of possibility animated by a belief (...) in progress, drawing most heavily from James and Dewey but ranging well beyond them, both within the pragmatist tradition and outside it. Three subsequent chapters articulate “a vision of a .. (shrink)