Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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
The first comprehensive collection of the work of Richard Rorty (1931-2007), The Rorty Reader brings together the influential American philosopher’s essential essays from over four decades of writings.
- Offers a comprehensive introduction to Richard Rorty's life and body of work
- Brings key essays published across many volumes and journals into one collection, including selections from his final volume of philosophical papers, Philosophy as Cultural Politics (2007))
- Contains the previously unpublished (in English) essay, “Redemption from Egotism”
- Includes in-depth interviews, and several revealing autobiographical pieces
- Represents the fullest portrait available today on Rorty’s relationship with American pragmatism and the trajectory of his thought
About 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
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).
Table of Contents
Part I: Toward Philosophy without Mirrors:
1. Introduction,The Linguistic Turn.
2. Dewey?s Metaphysics.
3. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature: Introduction and Chapter VIII.
4. Pragmatism, Relativism, and Irrationalism.
5. Nineteenth-Century Idealism and Twentieth-Century Textualism.
Part II: Conversations with Analytic Philosophy:
? 6. From Logic to Language to Play.
? 7. Pragmatism, Davidson, and Truth.
? 8. Twenty-Five Years After.
? 9. Putnam and the Relativist Menace.
10. Analytic and Conversational Philosophy.
Part III: From Antirepresentationalism to Political Liberalism:
11. Philosophy as Science, as Metaphor, and as Politics.
12. Solidarity or Objectivity?
13. The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy.
14. Freud and Moral Reflection.
15. Private Irony and Liberal Hope.
Part IV: Pragmatism, Literature, and Democracy:
16. The Humanistic Intellectual: Eleven Theses.
17. Heidegger, Kundera, and Dickens.
18. De Man and the American Cultural Left.
19. Feminism and Pragmatism.
20. Human Rights, Rationality, and Sentimentality.
21. Looking Backwards from the Year 2096.
22. American National Pride: Whitman and Dewey.
23. Redemption from Egotism: James and Proust as Spiritual Exercises.
Part V: Philosophy as Cultural Politics:
24. Truth without Correspondence to Reality.
25. Ethics without Principles.
26. Justice as a Larger Loyalty.
27. Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism.
28. Religion in the Public Square: A Reconsideration.
29. Is ?Cultural Recognition? a Useful Concept for Leftist Politics?
30. Philosophy as a Transitional Genre.
Part VI: Autobiographical:
31. From Philosophy to Post-Philosophy.
32. Trotsky and the Wild Orchids.
33. Biography and Philosophy.
34. The Fire of Life.
Guide to Further Reading.