Richard Rorty

(Richard McKay Rorty)

Richard Rorty
Richard Rorty
  • Born: October 4, 1931
  • Died: June 8, 2007
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Philosopher

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Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher. Educated at the University of Chicago and Yale University, he had strong interests and training in both the history of philosophy and contemporary analytic philosophy, the latter of which came to comprise the main focus of his work at Princeton University in the 1960s. He subsequently came to reject the tradition of philosophy according to which knowledge involves correct representation (a "mirror of nature") of a world whose existence remains wholly independent of that representation. Rorty had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia, and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Among his most influential books are Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989).

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If the terrorists were to explode even one suitcase-sized nuclear weapon in a Western city, democratic institutions might not survive. The security agencies in the Western democracies would be granted, or would simply seize, powers comparable to those of the Gestapo and the KGB…. I doubt that democratic institutions will be resilient enough to stand the strain. Terrorism
In a theocratic country, a leftist political opposition must be prepared to counter the clergy’s claim that the nation’s identity is defined by its religious tradition. So the left needs a specifically secularist form of moral fervor, one which centers around citizens’ respect for one another, rather than on the nation’s relation to God. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
National pride is to countries what self-respect is to individuals—a necessary condition for self improvement. States. Nations & Nationhood
Philosophers get attention only when they appear to be doing something sinister--corrupting the youth, undermining the foundations of civilization, sneering at all we hold dear. The rest of the time everybody assumes that they are hard at work somewhere down in the sub-basement, keeping those foundations in good repair. Nobody much cares what brand of intellectual duct tape is being used. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.
I think of an intellectual as just being bookish, being interested in history books, utopian ideas, that kind of thing. History
I think that a good Left is a party that always thinks about the future and doesn't care much about our past sins. Future
I think you can have a Left that isn't culturally conservative talking about lunch-bucket issues.
The difference between people and ideas is... only superficial.
The usual picture of Socrates is of an ugly little plebeian who inspired a handsome young nobleman to write long dialogues on large topics.
The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that.
There is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves. Motivation
Truth is simply a compliment paid to sentences seen to be paying their way. Truth
Well, what there ought to be is an international labor organization, a confederation of the trade unions of all the countries speaking for the workers who are competing with one another, and talking about the difference in wage levels between, say, Europe and Indonesia.

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