Monday, September 22, 2008

Wellmer, Albrecht. "Rereading Rorty." KRISIS 28.2 (2008).

When as a young philosopher, equally fascinated by Critical Theory and analytical philosophy, I first encountered Richard Rorty and began to read some of his writings, I was mostly struck by what I perceived as a certain frivolity of his manner of speaking and writing, that is, by what appeared to me then as a certain lack of seriousness concerning deep phi-losophical problems. When I think about Rorty today what comes first to my mind is that through his interventions in almost all important philosophical debates of the recent past – from the various spectres of ana-lytical philosophy to the most recent developments of continental philosophy – he has changed the parameters of contemporary philosophical discourse in a highly significant way. He has done this by reshuffling most of the important philosophical posi-tions of the past and the present in an ingenious way and thereby redrawing whatever has been one of the established current ‘maps’ of philosophical positions – in a way which most likely has irritated the occupants of each one of them. To put it differently: Rorty has exploited philosophical schools and traditions which before seemed incompatible and inimical to each other by playing them off against each other and using them to recontextualize them in a new way: Hegel, Dewey, Habermas, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Quine, Davidson, Derrida, Foucault, to name only some of the most important ones, not to speak of Plato or of early European rationalist and empiricist philosophers. The result is an entirely new way to conceive of the philosophical tradition as well as of the liberal culture of the North Atlantic tradition, concerning not least the possible role which philosophy could play within this culture. . . . Read the rest here:

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