Hegel Contra Rorty

Hegel Colour

Hegel and the Limitations of Liberal Irony   Hegel’s name appears again and again in Richard Rorty’s texts. As Tom Rockmore has pointed out, Hegel is a constant point of reference for him.[1] Hegel is cited as an important influence on Rorty’s earliest conception of how philosophy might be conducted, and how it might relate to his desire to change the world, and not merely interpret it. The fullest expression of this debt comes in the following well-known passage from an autobiographical piece from 1992: I have spent 40 years looking for a coherent and convincing way of formulating my … Continue reading

Introducing pragmatism

Pragmatism is an important contribution to philosophy, with its roots in the work of three American thinkers of the late 19th/early 20th century: C.S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey. Set against the long history of western philosophy, this makes it a relatively recent phenomenon, although like most things that seem new in philosophy, it has many continuities with what went before. Recent it may be, but it already constitutes a kind of tradition, with competing camps, radicals, apostates and reformers. Two leading contemporary figures in that tradition are Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam, philosophers who, as we shall see, … Continue reading