requiem for certainty

New Publication on Rorty

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I have a piece on Richard Rorty and liberalism in the latest issue of Contemporary Pragmatism (v4n2, Dec. 07, pp. 45-64).  This issue also contains a quite inspiring piece on Rorty (both a tribute and a criticism) by Fordham philosopher Judith Green whose new book on pragmatism and social hope is due out with Columbia UP rather soon.  Though I am very critical of Rorty’s public/private distinction in my article  I emphasize there (and I will do so again here) that I also take Rorty’s articulation of this distinction to be quite worthy of criticism insofar as it intelligently and provocatively captures the moral sensibility of much of contemporary liberal democratic culture.  Following is an abstract of my piece:

Richard Rorty’s moral writings offer a cogent summary of the moral content of contemporary liberal democratic culture. Rorty insists on a divide between our public and private lives, yet he claims that moral
progress (a seemingly public affair) is primarily driven by the imagination of great poetry and philosophy (which Rorty claims are private projects). A pressing tension thus emerges between private imagination and public moral justification, which is also very real in contemporary liberal democratic culture itself. I sketch a way out of this problem, which fits well with the pragmatism he shares with William James and John Dewey.

You can get it online through your library, through your interlibrary loan service, or you can email me about locating a copy.

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Written by Colin Koopman

June 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm

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