New Philosophy

Richard Rorty

Who was Richard Rorty?

Richard McKay Rorty (1931–2007) was probably the most widely read contemporary American philosopher who is not considered to be doing philosophy by analytic and empirical philosophers. He taught at Wellesley, Princeton, the University of Virginia, and Stanford. Rorty began as an analytic philosopher, arguing in favor of eliminative materialism, but with Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979) he began in the late 1970s to criticize analytic philosophy from a pragmatic perspective that drew on Continental thought.

As a neo-pragmatist, Rorty believed that most philosophical problems are illusions caused by language, that truth is a somewhat arbitrary and relative ideal, and that philosophy is just a literary genre. His main writings include Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), Philosophy in History (1985), Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989), Objectivity, Relativism and Truth: Philosophical Papers I (1991), Essays on Heidegger and Others: Philosophical Papers II (1991), Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth Century America (1998), Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers III (1998), Philosophy and Social Hope, (2000), Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty (2002), The Future of Religion with Gianni Vattimo (2005), and Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers IV (2007).


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