Download Defending Rorty : pragmatism and liberal virtue by Curtis, William McAllister; Rorty, Richard; Rorty, Richard PDF

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By Curtis, William McAllister; Rorty, Richard; Rorty, Richard

Liberal democracy wishes a clear-eyed, powerful safety to house the more and more complicated demanding situations it faces within the twenty-first century. regrettably a lot of up to date liberal thought has rejected this endeavour for worry of showing culturally hegemonic. in its place, liberal theorists have sought to intestine liberalism of its moral substance with the intention to render it extra tolerant of non-liberal methods of existence. This theoretical attempt is faulty, even if, simply because winning liberal democracy is an ethically-demanding political regime that calls for its citizenry to reveal yes virtues and conduct of brain. opposed to the grain of up to date conception, thinker Richard Rorty blends American pragmatism and romanticism to provide a entire imaginative and prescient of liberal modernity that includes a virtue-based perception of liberal democracy. In doing so, Rorty defends his pragmatic liberalism opposed to a bunch of awesome interlocutors, together with Charles Taylor, Nancy Fraser, Hilary Putnam, Richard J. Bernstein, and Jean Bethke Elshtain

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Liberal theorists could afford to manufacture decadent theories that assume the liberal “reasonableness” of just about all worldviews. Although bashing the liberal tradition is a hallowed habit of the liberal tradition, many liberal theorists now take it to an extreme, even to the point of eschewing the liberal label. Rorty, thankfully, resists this trend. His strategy in the teeth of the pluralist dilemma is to advise us to give up the traditional philosophical quest for neutral foundations for liberalism and to boldly admit that liberalism is indeed “ethnocentric”: an idiosyncratic, parochial cultural development of Enlightenment Europe, and no less defensible for being that.

Rorty traces this conception of Philosophy back to its roots in Platonism and Aristotelian metaphysical essentialism, although the contemporary version of this tradition that Rorty especially targets is “representationalism”: the epistemological theory that we achieve knowledge when our minds or language accurately represent the world. Although the distinctly modern representationalist effort begins with Descartes, its sin is similar to Platonism’s: it is a species of “foundationalism” because it seeks to identify unassailable foundations, or “privileged representations,” from which all other genuine knowledge can be inferred.

69 This is, of course, an explicitly antitheoretical reply, because there is no final theoretical, non-questioning-begging justification for liberalism. Unlike Enlightenment liberals, Rorty thus has no use for appeals to universal human reason or rationality; what counts as “rational” for any particular community is just the historically contingent, but currently most widely justified, set of criteria to which members of the community refer in the face of disputes. ”72 As good humanities teachers stress to their students, the best, most nuanced critique of tradition emerges from a deep comprehension and appreciation of it.

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