The Rorty Reader / Edition 1

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The Rorty Reader represents the first comprehensive collection of the writings of Richard Rorty, one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers, best known for the controversial Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature(1979). Gathering together key essays from over four decades of writings, the volume offers an in-depth introduction to the philosopher's life and prolific body of work. Topics addressed include the continuities and transformations that span Rorty's early training in the history of philosophy, his engagement with the analytic tradition, and the 1979 Publication that brought him international renown. Particular attention is devoted to his later political writings, including his turn to literature as the vehicle of moral reflection most suitable to democratic life, and his embrace of philosophy as cultural politics.

With selections from The Linguistic Turn(1967), Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature(1979), Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity(1989), Achieving Our Country (1998), and his four volumes of philosophical papers, including Philosophy as Cultural Politics(2007)as well as in-depth interviews and revealing autobiographical pieces, The Rorty Reader offers a compelling and representative view of Rorty's relationship with American pragmatism and the overall intellectual trajectory of his philosophical and political thought.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"This landmark collection presents the essential Rorty in a single volume. A must for Americanists, philosophers, and humanists of every stripe, this intelligently conceived and organized book is a fitting tribute to one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century."
Nancy Fraser, The New School for Social Research

"In the last sentence of a posthumously published article, Richard Rorty wrote: "...individual men and women are more fully human when their memories are amply stocked with verses". Equally, we might say that they are more humane and wide-ranging thinkers when their minds are amply stocked with Rorty's subtle thoughts. We should be grateful for the editors of this anthology for giving us so many."
Philip Kitcher, Columbia University

"The Rorty Reader is a remarkable editorial accomplishment. By bringing together a wide variety of Richard Rorty's controversial and yet inspiring writings, Bernstein and Voparil provide an excellent introduction to this important thinker. The addition, their own insightful introductory chapter, makes the collection essential reading for everyone who wants to gain a better understanding of not just the significance of Rorty's philosophical contribution, but that of modern thought in general."
Alan Malachowski, University of Stellenbosch

"This collection of Rorty's papers brings together some of the best known and most influential works of this American original with lesser known but crucially important papers, and even one previously unpublished paper, to stand as the most authoritative selection of Rorty's writings to date. Richard Bernstein, Rorty's lifelong friend, and Chris Voparil, perhaps the best Rorty scholar alive today, have created a work that will be of lasting interest to scholars and to the general public for years to come. A priceless gem."
Charles Guignon, University of South Florida

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405198318
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/17/2010
  • Series: Wiley Blackwell Readers Series, #5
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher J. Voparil is on the Graduate Faculty of Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH, where he teaches philosophy and political theory. He is the author of Richard Rorty: Politics and Vision (2006), and has published articles in Contemporary Pragmatism, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Philosophy and Social Criticism, and Education and Culture. He is also the current Secretary of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.

Richard J. Bernstein is Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York.  His most recent book is The Pragmatic Turn (Polity, 2010).

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Table of Contents

preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Source Acknowledgments xiii

Abbreviations xvi

General Introduction 1

Part I Toward Philosophy without Mirrors 53

1 Introduction to The Linguistic Turn 60

2 Dewey's Metaphysics 71

3 Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature: Introduction and Chapter VIII 84

4 Pragmatism, Relativism, and Irrationalism 111

5 Nineteenth-Century Idealism and Twentieth-Century Textualism 122

Part II Conversations with Analytic Philosophy 139

6 From Logic to Language to Play 145

7 Pragmatism, Davidson, and Truth 152

8 Twenty-Five Years After 175

9 Putnam and the Relativist Menace 180

10 Analytic and Conversational Philosophy 195

Part III From Antirepresentationalism to Political Liberalism 205

11 Philosophy as Science, as Metaphor, and as Politics 211

12 Solidarity or Objectivity" 227

13 The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy 239

14 Freud and Moral Reflection 259

15 Private Irony and Liberal Hope 279

Part IV Pragmatism, Literature, and Democracy 297

16 The Humanistic Intellectual: Eleven Theses 304

17 Heidegger, Kundera, and Dickens 307

18 De Man and the American Cultural Left 321

19 Feminism and Pragmatism 330

20 Human Rights, Rationality, and Sentimentality 351

21 Looking Backwards From the Year 2096 366

22 American National Pride: Whitman and Dewey 372

23 Redemption from Egotism: James and Proust as Spiritual Exercises 389

Part V Philosophy as Cultural Politics 407

24 Truth without Correspondence to Reality 415

25 Ethics Without Principles 425

26 Justice as a Larger Loyalty 433

27 Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism 444

28 Religion in the Public Square: A Reconsideration 456

29 Is"Cultural Recognition" a Useful Concept for Leftist Politics" 463

30 Philosophy as a Transitional Genre 473

Part VI Autobiological 489

31 From Philosophy to Post-Philosophy: An Interview with Richard Rorty 493

32 Trotsky and the Wild Orchids 500

33 Biography and Philosophy 511

34 The Fire of Life 520

Guide to Further Reading 522

Index 525

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