Who is Richard McKay Rorty?

Who is Richard McKay Rorty?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Richard McKay Rorty (November 1931 – June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher.

He was the son of a family of political activists. From a very young age he began to read about the Russian revolutionary Trotsky. He later said that at the age of 12 he knew “what it means to be human is to dedicate one’s life to fighting social injustice”. At the age of 15, he entered the University of Chicago. At the age of 25, he completed his doctorate at Yale University. Then he joined the army for two years and continued to work as a lecturer after this duty.

Although he was trained in the tradition of analytical philosophy, he tended to Continental philosophy over time and contributed to this philosophy with a specific acquisition. Rorty, who undertakes the theoretical problems and questions of continental philosophy, puts forward important theoretical expansions by making use of the possibilities of analytical and pragmatic philosophy.

Generally speaking, it can be said that he adopts a relativist postmodern approach that rejects general formulations and universal principles on the theoretical plane, and a liberal tendency politically. A closer look reveals that he evaluates and defines both poststructuralism and liberalism in a unique way. Rorty’s works are very deep and multi-layered in the context of the subjects he deals with. It reevaluates pragmatism and reasserts this philosophy a very important theoretical status. Rorty and his works give examples of this.

Rorty is one of the most original and competent representatives of postmodern liberalism. He puts forward the concepts of contingency, irony and solidarity as the three pillars of postmodern society. In his book Contingency, Irony and Social Solidarity, he examines these notions in detail, investigates their implications with their connotations and evaluates them to reveal his own understanding. abilities should be supported, both fields should not be reduced to each other, decisive and absolute judgments should be avoided, and the awareness of historical contingency should be widespread. Rorty uses a kind of distinction between private and public spheres in his liberal political philosophy. The private sphere indicates the domain of the individual to be empowered; and the public sphere relates to the idea of ​​social solidarity as a space to live with others.

Please look:

– Contingency, irony and solidarity
– Rorty’s philosophy of knowledge
– Rorty’s moral philosophy

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook