Richard Rorty, 1931-2007:
The noted philosopher Richard Rorty has died.
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
A lot of people were quite taken with him, in offering a way out of philosophy ; I couldn't make much out of it, taking instead Stanley Cavell (_The Claim of Reason_) and his explication of Wittgenstein and Austin, which did not lose sight of why philsophy must remain a temptation, but you should also see how the temptation comes up.

I don't know anybody who liked both Rorty and Cavell, so perhaps there is a divide there too. Rorty seemed less accepting of the temptation as an interesting part of life
6.10.2007 7:30pm
Richard Rorty is not dead. "Richard Rorty" is "dead".

In other news, Jean Baudrillard "is" the Horsehead Nebula.
6.10.2007 7:43pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
FC, whether Richard Rorty is dead turns on whether "Richard Rorty is dead" is a theory we accept.
6.10.2007 8:13pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
Vicki Hearne, a Cavell fan, mentioned Rorty in something I copied out, long ago, here

Perhaps it hints at the difference between Cavell and Rorty.
6.10.2007 8:19pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I spent a good bit of time studying Contingency, Irony &Solidarity, and was mainly struck by the spectacle of a philosopher straying outside his area of expertise.

Rorty's reputation seems unlikely to grow with time; he may be remembered as an example of how glib the well-fed American po-mo "pragmatist" could afford to be.
6.11.2007 12:29am
vl (mail):
Whatever you think of Rorty's ideas, this is sad news. He was a decent person, respectful of students, and always willing to field questions (even when he'd heard them countless times before). He had the great talent of translating impossible philosophical language into clear English -- a virtue at least some VC'ers should appreciate. More than that, Rorty cared deeply about the future of liberal political thought. Of course you don't have to agree with his version of liberalism. But you can at least nod your hat to the energy, integrity and graciousness with which he lived and defended his understanding of it.
6.11.2007 11:05am
jrc (mail):
I am in complete agreement with vl's post. I had the pleasure to take courses with rorty at UVA some years back, attempting to feign competence on occasion in his office hours. Failed miserably, I suspect, but no matter--never much liked his writing so much, but he certainly could filter through the gobbledigook of most any philosophical text for your given introverted undergrad. And he certainly was willing to entertain us with his patience... my favorite rorty moment was rather silly, in retrospect. Not so much a grand intellectual leap in any particular direction, admittedly--he simply fell asleep in the front row after introducing Charles Taylor for a colloquium... and snored.

Perhaps, ultimately, our treasured flickers of genius--and its guardians--are overrated at best, especially in relation to the very human dimension of our chosen poobahs. Personally, I'm rather blue he has passed away... I still study political philosophy, for godsake. I'm loosing people to blame for winding up in a phd program and my present ABD status.

6.11.2007 4:35pm