Defending Rorty : pragmatism and liberal virtue by Curtis, William McAllister; Rorty, Richard; Rorty, Richard

By Curtis, William McAllister; Rorty, Richard; Rorty, Richard

Liberal democracy wishes a clear-eyed, powerful protection to house the more and more advanced demanding situations it faces within the twenty-first century. regrettably a lot of up to date liberal thought has rejected this endeavour for worry of showing culturally hegemonic. as an alternative, liberal theorists have sought to intestine liberalism of its moral substance which will render it extra tolerant of non-liberal methods of existence. This theoretical attempt is erroneous, in spite of the fact that, simply because profitable liberal democracy is an ethically-demanding political regime that calls for its citizenry to reveal yes virtues and behavior of brain. opposed to the grain of latest thought, thinker Richard Rorty blends American pragmatism and romanticism to provide a complete imaginative and prescient of liberal modernity that includes a virtue-based belief of liberal democracy. In doing so, Rorty defends his pragmatic liberalism opposed to a bunch of remarkable interlocutors, together with Charles Taylor, Nancy Fraser, Hilary Putnam, Richard J. Bernstein, and Jean Bethke Elshtain

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3 – William James 1 2 3 Allan Bloom, Giants and Dwarfs: Essays 1960–1990 (New York: Touchstone, 1990), 18. Hilary Putnam, Words and Life, ed. James Conant (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), 152. William James, Pragmatism, ed. , 1981), 28. 31 32 Defending Rorty The goal of Rorty’s intellectual project is to articulate and recommend a particular ideal of liberal culture and politics. At the heart of this ideal is the attempt to balance the alleviation of societal cruelty with the cultivation of a romantic ethic of free and creative individuality.

80 Likewise, he reconceptualizes the philosophical gold standard of Enlightenment thought – “rationality” – from a method of thought or a fixed set of criteria into “a set of moral virtues: tolerance, respect for the opinions of those around one, willingness to listen, reliance on persuasion rather than force. ”81 Rorty is best understood as a virtue liberal because he is a pragmatist: his primary concern is with what practical habits and character traits are needed to produce his liberal utopia.

Indeed, Rorty never refers to himself as a virtue theorist, and hanging this label on him invites two obvious objections. ). I discuss Rorty’s relationship to Rawls in Chapter 2 and explain why, notwithstanding his professed allegiance to political liberalism, he staunchly remains a virtue liberal. Here it suffices to say that Rorty does not share with Rawls the (misguided) aim of minimizing the ethical impact of the commitment to liberal politics. Indeed, Rorty’s adoption of the minimalist label is also unproblematic for my claim that he is a virtue liberal, because he applies the term to the 69 70 71 72 73 ORT, 29; PSH, 273.

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