Philosophy and Social Hope

Philosophy and Social Hope

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140262889
  • 320 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


Since Plato most philosophy has aimed at true knowledge, penetrating beneath appearances to an underlying reality. Against this tradition, Richard Rorty convincingly argues, pragmatism offers a new philosophy of hope. One of the most controversial figures in recent philosophical and wider literary and cultural debate, Rorty brings together an original collection of his most recent philosophical and cultural writings. He explains in a fascinating memoir how he began to move away from Plato towards William James and Dewey, culminating in his own version of pragmatism. What ultimately matters, Rorty suggests, is not whether our ideas correspond to some fundamental reality but whether they help us carry out practical tasks and create a fairer and more democratic society.

Aimed at a general audience, this volume offers a stimulating summary of Rorty’s central philosophical beliefs, as well as some challenging insights into contemporary culture, justice, education, and love.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Relativism: Finding and Making

I. Autobiographical
1. Trotsy and the Wild Orchids

II. Hope in Place of Knowledge: A Version of Pragmatism
2. Truth without Correspondence to Reality
3. A World without Substances or Essences
4. Ethics without Principles

III. Some Applications of Pragmatism
5. The Banality of Pragmatism and the Poetry of Justice
6. Pragmatism and Law: A Response to David Luban
7. Education as Socialization and as Individuation
8. The Humanistic Intellectual: Eleven Theses
9. The Pragmatist’s Progress: Umberto Eco on Interpretation
10. Religious Fatih, Intellectual Responsibility and Romance
11. Religion as Conversation-stopper
12. Thomas Kuhn, Rocks, and the Laws of Physics
13. On Heidegger’s Nazism

IV. Politics
14. Failed Prophecies, Glorious Hopes
15. A Spectre is Haunting the Intellectuals: Derrida on Marx
16. Love and Money
17. Globalization, the Politics of Identity and Social Hope

V. Contemporary America
18. Looking Backwards from the Year 2096
19. The Unpatriotic Academy
20. Back to Class Politics

Afterword: Pragmatism, Pluralism and Postmodernism

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