Monday, June 11, 2007

Richard Rorty has died

Richard Rorty, philosopher, dies at 75.

I've read enough of the analytic philosophers castigating Rorty -- and taken bits of classes from a few of them -- that I feel I just have to love the man.

I remember managing to see him speak twice. Once was on philosophy of mind at the good ol' Sym Sys Forum. (Video!) ("He is wrong, but wrong in such an interesting way!" I remember one comment.)

Most fascinating was when he gamely participated in a discussion at this very odd Christian thought conference some groups on campus put together. (The Veritas Forum, here's a link.) He was standing there, arguing with the Christian conservatives about the nature and legitimacy of authority, but humorously ceding ground where appropriate... "Look, it's not that all children will be active critical thinkers and discover everything for themselves. Getting a kid a secular liberal education isn't that much different than any other education -- you have to beat it in to them." (That is a paraphrase, not a quote. But I'm pretty sure he referred to "secular liberal education" having to be "beaten into them".) I think this is a really important point, but I just like the tongue-in-cheekness.

I confess I have never read any of his books. Perhaps I should.

Here's an interesting review he wrote of Marc Hauser's Moral Minds.

Here is the SEP entry on him.

4 Comments:

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

There is already a surprising amount of noise out there about how much of an influence Rorty had or should have had. See, especially, the thread on him at Crooked Timber. Having read some of his stuff, I think that Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature might appeal to you, until the crazy chapter on hermeneutics. I think he later recanted that one, although I'm not 100% on that. He's made some interesting arguments on topics that I'm interested in, mostly scattered across the above book and several essays. For an interesting perspective, check out this post by Tyler Cowen on Rorty's impact on economics. It was news to me since I didn't realize economists read him.

 
At 10:39 PM, Blogger Brendan said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I wouldn't be too sure that economists read him -- tyler cowen just seems really in to philosophy.

 
At 11:02 PM, Anonymous MikeLove said...

I got into his books in an obsessive way after taking apparently his last class at Stanford.

He goes off the deep end but has an interesting perspective which is generally romantic.

 
At 12:42 AM, Blogger Brendan said...

sounds like you have lots of rad books. i should borrow one sometime

 

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