The deliberative turn in political philosophy sees theorists attempting to ground democratic legitimacy in free, rational, and public deliberation among citizens. However, feminist theorists have criticized prominent accounts of deliberative democracy, and of the public sphere that is its site, for being too exclusionary. Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, and Seyla Benhabib show that deliberative democrats generally fail to attend to substantive inclusion in their conceptions of deliberative space, even though they endorse formal inclusion. If we take these criticisms seriously, (...) we are tasked with articulating a substantively inclusive account of deliberation. I argue in this article that enriching existing theories of deliberative democracy with Fricker's conception of epistemic in/justice yields two specific benefits. First, it enables us to detect instances of epistemic injustice, and therefore failures of inclusion, within deliberative spaces. Second, it can act as a model for constructing deliberative spaces that are more inclusive and therefore better able to ground democratic legitimacy. (shrink)
Miranda Fricker?s research carefully negotiates the fields of ethics and epistemology, and the places and points where they overlap and intersect. Her 2007 text Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing is particularly noteworthy in this regard. It seamlessly integrates these research areas and, in so doing, turns a critical eye on the common assumption that feminist epistemology, characterized by its focus on the role of gender oppression within knowledge practices, is a marginal field of social epistemology. Fricker challenges (...) her readers to consider the thesis that social and feminist epistemologies are more thoroughly interconnected than is traditionally assumed. (shrink)
In this paper, I contribute to the ongoing investigation of the similarities and dissimilarities between feminism and pragmatism—a project explored more than fifteen years ago in the Hypatia special issue on Feminism and Pragmatism (1993)—by looking at the value of Richard Rorty's work for feminist theorists and activists. In this paper, I defend Rorty against three central feminist criticisms: 1) that Rorty's defense of liberal irony relies upon a problematic delineation between public and private, 2) that Rorty's endorsement of reform (...) over revolution is too conservative to be of use for feminism, and 3) that the role of the ironist in social progress is not useful for, nor does it accurately reflect the history of, the feminist movement. I argue that these criticisms can be mitigated by being located within the broader context of Rorty's philosophical and political commitments, which we are now in a better position to understand and thus revisit. More specifically, I contend that bringing together Rorty's private discourse of redescription with his public discourse of justification provides for feminists new methods for animating social progress. I conclude by offering examples of how adopting a Rortyan perspective would be well-suited to achieving further feminist aims. (shrink)
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.
This is the second paper in the invited collection. Dieleman provides an overview of the “state-of-the-field” debate between Analytic Social Epistemology, represented by Alvin Goldman, and what Dieleman calls the Sociological Social Epistemology, represented by Steve Fuller. In response to this ongoing debate, this paper has two related and complementary objectives. The first is to show that the debate between analytic and sociological versions of social epistemology is overly simplistic and doesn’t take into account additional positions that are available and, (...) indeed, have been available since social epistemology was introduced in the mid to late 1980s. The second is to uncover and tell a story of how Lorraine Code’s Epistemic Responsibility is one such additional position. Looking to Code's Epistemic Responsibility reveals the artificiality of the debate between analytic and sociological social epistemologists. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to determine whether there exists good reason to apply to Rorty the label “deliberative democrat.” There are elements of Rorty’s work that count both for and against applying this label, which I investigate here. I conclude that, if we can conceive of a deliberative democracy that is not informed by a social epistemology that relies on Reason; if we can conceive of a deliberative democracy that has a wider view of reason and of reasons (...) than is traditionally understood, then we can think of Rorty as a deliberativist; perhaps as a virtue deliberativist with an expansive idea of what counts a reason and what counts as a virtue. (shrink)
Richard Rorty has been taken to task for his apparent inability to defend democracy to the anti-democrat. Cheryl Misak, for example, in developing her own epistemic defense of democracy, argues that because he abjures truth, Rorty cannot provide any argument to show that democracy is superior to other political arrangements. In this paper, I agree with Misak that Rorty is unable to provide an argument, epistemic or otherwise, in defense of democracy, but show that this doesn’t mean he, or someone (...) who takes his insights seriously, needs to be silent about its shape or its promises. Instead, I follow Rorty’s lead and develop out of Fabienne Peter’s work an epistemology that, though it cannot be used to defend democracy, does comport well with it. (shrink)
After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, many commentators latched on to the accusations Rorty levels at the American Left in Achieving Our Country. Rorty foresaw, they claimed, that the Left's preoccupation with cultural politics and neglect of class politics would lead to the election of a "strongman" who would take advantage of and exploit a rise in populist sentiment. -/- In this paper, I generally agree with these readings of Rorty; he does think that the American Left has made (...) the mistake of putting class on the political backburner. However, I suggest that this position follows from his view that economic security is vital for solidarity. Because economic security is under increasing threat in contemporary America, so too is solidarity. If greater solidarity is a goal of liberal democracy, then class politics, aimed at ending selfishness, ought to be as much a priority for the American Left as is cultural politics, aimed at ending sadism. (shrink)
The Future of Social Epistemology: A Collective Vision sets an agenda for exploring the future of what we – human beings reimagining our selves and our society – want, need and ought to know. The book examines, concretely, practically and speculatively, key ideas such as the public conduct of philosophy, models for extending and distributing knowledge, the interplay among individuals and groups, risk taking and the welfare state, and envisioning people and societies remade through the breakneck pace of scientific and (...) technological change. An international team of contributors offers a ‘collective vision’, one that speaks to what they see unfolding and how to plan and conduct the dialogue and work leading to a knowable and desirable world. The book describes and advances an intellectual agenda for the future of social epistemology. (shrink)
Chris Voparil’s Reconstructed Pragmatism provides an opportunity to reconsider existing debates from a new pragmatist vantage point, one that takes seriously Rorty’s contribution to the tradition. In this commentary, I take advantage of this vantage point to briefly reconsider debates about deliberative democracy, including pragmatist contributions to them. Typically, such debates revolve around either the ethical/political constraints or the epistemic benefits of deliberation. Yet Voparil’s redrawn pragmatist map reconfigures the relationship between the ethical/political and epistemic dimensions of communities engaged in (...) democratic deliberation. I use the vantage point made accessible by Voparil’s map to think about how the ethical/political and epistemic are simultaneously instantiated in the creation and expansion of communities, which suggests many existing attempts to justify or explain democratic deliberation are misguided. (shrink)
In “Farming Made Her Stupid,” Lisa Heldke suggests that those who inhabit the metrocentric position participate in the marginalization of rural people and farmers through a process of “stupidification.” Rural people and farmers become “stupid,” a status that, on Heldke’s account, is worse than ignorant because “stupid people” are thought to be constitutionally incapable of knowing the right sorts of things because they know the wrong sorts of things . It seems reasonable, I suggest in this paper, to think that (...) contemporary urban agriculture movements can serve to mitigate the harms which Heldke argues arise from practices of stupidification. However, I argue that, insofar as such movements rely on and perpetuate the image of the Idyllic Farmer—an image constituted by early, romantic versions of agrarianism—they cannot serve this function. This is because the Idyllic Farmer, which is to agricultural ethics as the Ecological Indian is to environmental ethics, is both descriptively and prescriptively problematic. As such, any urban agricultural movement that takes this image as its guide—which, I argue, some important elements of the movement do—will not help to undermine stupidification and the harms it causes. (shrink)
The key organizing theme of Rorty and Beyond, edited by Randall Auxier, Eli Kramer, and Krzysztof Piotr Skowroński, is—as the title suggests—to consider what pragmatism and philosophy are and could be in a post-Rorty world. As Auxier puts it in his preface to the volume of 19 papers, "no one can deny that the world we now write in is one in which Rorty defined what pragmatism would be, and what it has become. To write beyond Rorty is to address (...) a world whose idea of pragmatism was formed by his work". And, in his introduction to the volume, Eli Kramer suggests that Rorty is best seen as a "transitional philosophical figure," one who "heralded and inspired a shift in philosophy from... (shrink)
Richard Rorty’s neopragmatism is more similar to the self-described pragmatisms of his contemporaries Jürgen Habermas and Hilary Putnam than it is dissimilar from them. Indeed, the only significant difference between Rorty’s views and those of his interlocutors, and what forms the basis of their many public exchanges, is their respective stances toward the status of epistemic norms. Rorty’s arguments against Habermas’s endorsement of transcendental conditions that ground successful communication, and against Putnam’s contention that there exists a limit conception of truth (...) upon which the possibility for critique depends speak to the very heart of his philosophical differences from the Kantian pragmatisms of Habermas and Putnam. -/- This paper engages in a detailed exploration of the debates between Rorty and Habermas and between Rorty and Putnam over these matters. These debates provide us with a direct route to understanding Rorty’s own views on epistemic norms. That is, the comparison between his own position and those of his fellow neopragmatists throws into sharp relief Rorty’s belief in the radical contingency of epistemic norms. -/- This exploration profits from engaging a feminist lens because feminist critiques, specifically of Habermas’s work, draw attention to the inadequacies of his views that Rorty seeks to correct, inadequacies that can be easily translated to Putnam’s case as well. By approaching this issue from a feminist angle, the paper highlights the dissimilarities in the theoretical positions between Rorty and his contemporaries, and shows why this difference is more significant than it might seem at first blush. The paper concludes with the suggestion that Rorty’s emphasis on the radical contingency of epistemic norms can provide a basis for the kind of revolutionary social, political, and cultural change that is central to much recent feminist theory. (shrink)
In this response to Chin’s The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought, I complete two tasks. First, I clarify that Chin’s project is a metatheoretical one, aiming to reconstruct Rorty’s account of political theory as practice. Second, I claim that this reconstruction makes it possible to respond, on Rorty’s behalf, to charges that his position is complacent and acquiescent, especially as it relates to the contemporary issue of post-truth politics.
many contemporary pragmatists reject Richard Rorty’s views because they think he neglects an important, if not pivotal, aspect of the classical pragmatists’ thought: experience. His claim that Dewey’s metaphysics of experience unwittingly perpetuates foundationalism has been met with both incredulity and frustration among contemporary scholars who are interested in revitalizing Dewey’s work. Similarly, one of the main reasons feminists have offered for their hesitance to ally themselves with the neo-pragmatists, focusing their efforts instead on the allegiances to be forged between (...) and the resources to be borrowed from the classical pragmatists, is the former’s neglect of experience. For example, in Pragmatism and .. (shrink)
In this chapter, I provide an overview of the major elements of Richard Rorty’s thought from Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature onward as they relate to the larger project he claims animates his entire body of work: abandoning the idea that “getting things right” involves knowledge as accurate representation in favor of the idea that “getting things right” involves achieving liberal democratic consensus.
This book contains diverse and critical reflections on Richard Rorty’s contributions to ethics, an aspect of his thought that has been relatively neglected. Together, they demonstrate that Rorty offers a compelling and coherent ethical vision. The book's chapters, grouped thematically, explore Rorty’s emphasis on the importance of moral imagination, social relations, language, and literature as instrumental for ethical self-transformation, as well as for strengthening what Rorty called "social hope," which entails constant work toward a more democratic, inclusive, and cosmopolitan society (...) and world. -/- Several contributors address the ethical implications of Rorty’s commitment to a vision of political liberalism without philosophical foundations. Others offer critical examinations of Rorty’s claim that our private or individual projects of self-creation can or should be held apart from our public goals of ameliorating social conditions and reducing cruelty and suffering. Some contributors explore hurdles that impede the practical applications of certain of Rorty's ideas. -/- The Ethics of Richard Rorty will appeal to scholars and advanced students interested in American philosophy and ethics. (shrink)
This chapter begins by accepting Kristie Dotson’s recent claim that professional philosophy does not present diverse practitioners with livable options. This is because the profession prizes the practice of vetting contributions by measuring them against supposedly neutral and commonly-held standards for determining what counts as philosophy and what counts as not-quite philosophy. This practice tends to exclude diverse practitioners because the standards are not, it turns out, commonly-held, nor are they neutrally applied. Rather, these norms and their application are informed (...) by unacknowledged social and political values that exclude diverse practitioners by rendering the profession hostile to them. This chapter argues that we can find, in the work of Richard Rorty, a conception of philosophy that comports well with Dotson’s demand that we reconsider our professional practices so as to make philosophy more livable for diverse practitioners. Though Rorty’s earlier work relies too heavily on the idea of a philosophical canon, his later work, in which he comes to see philosophy as cultural politics, bears striking and useful similarities to Dotson’s suggestion that we see philosophy as a culture of praxis. In short, if professional philosopher were to adopt Rorty’s suggestion that we “let a hundred flowers bloom” by seeing philosophy as cultural politics, then we could reorient those standards, norms, and practices that currently deny livable options to diverse practitioners. (shrink)
In “Farming Made Her Stupid,” Lisa Heldke suggests that those who inhabit the metrocentric position participate in the marginalization of rural people and farmers through a process of “stupidification.” Rural people and farmers become “stupid,” a status that, on Heldke’s account, is worse than ignorant because “stupid people” are thought to be constitutionally incapable of knowing the right sorts of things because they know the wrong sorts of things. It seems reasonable, I suggest in this paper, to think that contemporary (...) urban agriculture movements can serve to mitigate the harms which Heldke argues arise from practices of stupidification. However, I argue that, insofar as such movements rely on and perpetuate the image of the Idyllic Farmer—an image constituted by early, romantic versions of agrarianism—they cannot serve this function. This is because the Idyllic Farmer, which is to agricultural ethics as the Ecological Indian is to environmental ethics, is both descriptively and prescriptively problematic. As such, any urban agricultural movement that takes this image as its guide—which, I argue, some important elements of the movement do—will not help to undermine stupidification and the harms it causes. (shrink)
In this paper, I take up the conciliatory-steadfast debate occurring within social epistemology in regards to the phenomenon of peer disagreement. I will argue, because the conciliatory perspective al-lows us to understand argumentation pragmatically—as a method of problem-solving within a community rather than as a method for obtaining the truth—that in most cases, we should not simply agree to disagree.
According to editor Omar Swartz, the aim of Communication and Creative Democracy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives is to provide “a conceptual framework for understanding what it means to be an engaged citizen.”1 To accomplish this aim, Swartz brings together ten essays from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds that are intended to tease out and further develop the notion of “creative democracy,” an admittedly vague term coming out of the work of John Dewey. Swartz argues that now is an important time to consider (...) the potential of creative democracy because the emphasis on political institutions and processes as the hallmark of democracy—rather than on “the responsibility and participation of informed citizens”2—has .. (shrink)
In this response to David Rondel’s Pragmatist Egalitarianism, I suggest that the disagreement between vertical egalitarians and horizontal egalitarians has deeper roots than Rondel acknowledges. Using feminist egalitarianism as my example, I suggest that this is because Rondel fails to note that horizontal egalitarians do not merely offer an alternative account of the sites of and remedies for inequality than do vertical egalitarians; they also see vertical egalitarianism itself as contributing to inequality. Yet I also contend that, even though the (...) two sides of the vertical-horizontal debate are more divided than Rondel lets on, a pragmatist egalitarianism, because of its emphasis on problem-solving, is still able to circumvent this debate. (shrink)