requiem for certainty

Posts Tagged ‘rorty

Challenging Philosophy: Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, Michel Foucault

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The three most important philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century were Bernard Williams, Michel Foucault, and Richard Rorty. The importance of each can in large part be attributed to the profound challenges they posed to entrenched assumptions about philosophy, its role in our lives, and its place midst our liberal democratic cultures. I insist on referring to the challenges posted by these three thinkers as profound—for their challenges, when taken seriously, run very deep indeed. By the time that Williams, Foucault, and Rorty had each finished laying out the intellectual projects characteristic of their mature work, it was clear that they had overturned many of the working assumptions of the philosophical tradition in which they had been reared. In this way, each of these thinkers challenged their respective traditions to move on to more ambitious and cunning conceptions of philosophy. Each exhibited inspiring levels of intellectual rigor and critical courage in provoking their respective traditions of thought to adopt a new self-image.

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Written by Colin Koopman

November 19, 2009 at 6:02 am

Book Cover, New Job, &c.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve updated anything here.  That’s a sign of business not laziness, of course.  (It’s also a function of the increasingly-useful way in which status updates are handled on facebook.)

Two main pieces of news.

First, I am now living up in Eugene, Oregon where I have a one-year appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Oregon.  I am (if it’s not obvious) quite pleased to be up here: great colleagues, great graduate students, great program, and a great place to live.

Hunkering down for a solid year of solid work in Eugene should give me the opportunity to update the blog more often.  So I plan to start on that.

Second, it now appears as if my book Pragmatism as Transition: Historicity and Hope in James, Dewey, and Rorty will be out with Columbia University Press very soon (sometime next month, apparently).  I was quite pleased that Columbia was able to get the rights to an image of the painting that I have long hoped would grace the cover of the book, Ducham’s Nude Descending a Staircase, no.2.  You can read a little more about the book on Columbia UP’s website.

So, more soon I hope.  I’m investing lots of time in lots of projects right now.  Some of them will be bloggable in short order.

Written by Colin Koopman

October 1, 2009 at 11:45 pm

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: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Koopman

June 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Pragmatism Returns to Princeton: Appiah’s New Book

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Below is a working rough draft of a review essay I am writing on Appiah’s new Experiments in Ethics (Harvard UP, 2008). As my title here suggests, I discern more than just a shade of pragmatism in Appiah’s ‘experimental philosophy’. I’ve thought for awhile now that Appiah was headed toward a kind of pragmatism, for instance in his The Ethics of Identity (Princeton UP, 2005). The point though is not to show that James, Dewey, and Rorty ‘got there first’ but rather to show how the pragmatists can help the experimentalists achieve the sort of interdisciplinary philosophical practice they seem to be aiming for. The piece is a little long (3000 words) so you may just want to skim it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Koopman

February 28, 2008 at 1:54 am

Posted in appiah, pragmatism, rorty, x-phi

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New Publication on Pragmatism

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My latest publication is now out.  This paper is a version of the first chapter of my (hopefully) forthcoming book Pragmatism as Transitionalism.  As argued here, the book attempts to deploy themes of historicity and temporality found across the pragmatist tradition in order to, among other things, reconcile the ‘primapragmatism’ of James and Dewey with the ‘neopragmatism’ of Rorty and Brandom.  “Language is a Form of Experience: Reconciling Classical Pragmatism and Neopragmatism” in Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, v43n4, Fall 2007: 694-727.  You can find it online here (subscription through your library is required):

Written by Colin Koopman

December 23, 2007 at 5:29 pm