Wednesday, May 07, 2008
McLemee, Scott. "Becoming Richard Rorty." INSIDE HIGHER ED May 7, 2008.
Gross, Neil. Richard Rorty: the Making of an American Philosopher, 1931-1982. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2008. Neil Gross’s book . . . is not exactly a biography of its subject, who died last year. Rather, it is a study of how institutional forces shape an intellectual’s sense of personal identity, and vice versa. . . . Influenced by recent work in sociological theory – but with one eye constantly on the archive of personal correspondence, unpublished writings, and departmental memoranda – Gross reconstructs how Rorty’s interests and intellectual commitments developed within the disciplinary matrix of academic philosophy. He takes the story up through the transformative and sui generis work of Rorty’s middle years, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979) and Consequences of Pragmatism (1982). This includes a look at Rorty’s complicated and unhappy relationship with his colleagues at Princeton University in the 1970s. “I find it a bit terrifying,” he wrote in a letter at the time, “that we keep turning out Ph.D.’s who quite seriously conceive of philosophy as a discipline in which one does not read anything written before 1970, except for the purposes of passing odd examinations.” . . . Read the rest here: http://insidehighered.com/views/2008/05/07/mclemee.