Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty, 1931–2007, American philosopher. b. New York City. After studying at the Univ. of Chicago (B.A. 1949, M.A. 1952) and Yale (Ph.D. 1956), Rorty taught philosophy at Wellesley College (1958–61) and Princeton (1961–82), humanities at the Univ. of Virginia (1982–98), and literature at Stanford Univ. (1998–2005). Although he edited The Linguistic Turn (1967), which is considered an indispensable introduction to analytic philosophy, Rorty soon experienced doubts about philosophy as a privileged investigation of truth and published his well-known and extremely influential work, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), in which he attacked the traditional idea of philosophy as a form of higher knowledge. He subsequently advocated a form of pragmatism that drew on the insights of Darwin, Hegel, and others as well as those of Dewey and was marked by a rejection of what he saw as the scientism- and metaphysics-tainted concerns of modern epistemology. His later works include Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (1988), Objectivity, Relativism and Truth (1991), Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th-Century America (1998), and Philosophy and Social Hope (1999).

See interviews with Rorty ed. by D. Nystrom and K. Puckett (1998) and E. Mendieta (2006); studies by H. J. Saatkamp, Jr., ed. (1995), R. A. Kuipers (1997), M. Melkonian (1999), R. B. Brandom, ed. (2000), A. Malachowski, ed. (1990 and 4 vol., 2002), and C. Guignon and D. R. Hiley, ed. (2003).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Richard Rorty
Charles Guignon; David R. Hiley.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
Solidarity in the Conversation of Humankind: The Ungroundable Liberalism of Richard Rorty
Norman Geras.
Verso, 1995
Deconstruction and Pragmatism
Chantal Mouffe; Simon Critchley; Jacques Derrida; Ernesto Laclau; Richard Rorty.
Routledge, 1996
Philosophy and Freedom: Derrida, Rorty, Habermas, Foucault
John McCumber.
Indiana University Press, 2000
On "What Is History?": From Carr and Elton to Rorty and White
Keith Jenkins.
Routledge, 1995
Faith after Foundationalism: Plantinga-Rorty-Lindbeck-Berger : Critiques and Alternatives
D. Z. Phillips.
Westview Press, 1995
The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn
Rosanna Crocitto; Giovanna Borradori.
University of Chicago Press, 1994
The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy
Robert Hollinger.
Praeger, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Rorty's Pragmatic Liberalism: Between Mill and Weber"
Pragmatism: From Progressivism to Postmodernism
Robert Hollinger; David Depew.
Praeger, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "William James and Richard Rorty: Context and Conversation", Chap. 11 "Rorty's Pragmatism and the Linguistic Turn" and Chap. 14 "Richard Rorty's Romantic Pragmatism"
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