Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
Richard Rorty died in June 2007. According to some he was the most interesting, perhaps even the most important, philosopher of his generation. His influence on legal theory, especially legal theory of the more critical and literary kind, was considerable. And yet, in comparison with his reputation in the philosophical and literary academy, for many legal academics Rorty remains a relatively hazy figure. The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to Rorty; to his broader philosophy of pragmatism, a philosophy as he termed it of ‘bricolage’ and ‘law cunning’, as well as to his writings which focused rather more closely on jurisprudential questions, most importantly those that addressed the nature of rights. It closes with some thoughts on Rorty's final, provocative, and timely, observations on the decline of American civil society. If lawyers and legal theorists have, in large part, neglected Rorty, it is unfortunate; for, in our present age of vaulting political pretence, rarely has the need for a strong measure of intellectual scepticism seemed to be more urgent.
Thanks are due to two anonymous referees who made a number of useful suggestions for improvement of an initial draft of this paper. Thanks also to Richard Mullender who made similarly valuable comments on earlier drafts, and to colleagues at Newcastle Law School to whom I presented some of the material as part of a seminar series on ‘Human Rights and Utopia’ in spring 2008.
3. See Malachowski, above n 2, at p 9.
4. For the collection, see S Metcalf ‘Richard Rorty’ in Slate, 18 June 2007, available at http://www.slate.com/id/2168488.
5. See F Inglis ‘Richard Rorty’ Obituary in The Independent, 12 June 2007, available at http://www.news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article2646294.ece for a nicely turned comment on Rorty's personal modesty and charm; ‘entirely without condescension, funny, relaxed and domestic in the best American way’.
6. In Mendieta, E Take Care of Freedom and Truth will Take Care of Itself: Interviews with Richard Rorty (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006) p 135.Google Scholar
7. See J O'Grady ‘Richard Rorty’ Obituary in The Guardian, 12 June 2007, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2100636,00.html. At another time, in his autobiographical essay ‘Trotsky and the Wild Orchids’, Rorty confirmed that he had, at least, recognised from his early days that he had something of a ‘flair for redescription’. In Philosophy and Social Hope (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999) (hereafter PSH) pp 10–12 andGoogle ScholarPubMed19–20. His confession that he took the descriptor ‘strong poet’, which as we shall see assumes huge importance in his writings, from Harold Bloom, might suggest that there is some deprecatory truth in the bricoleur metaphor. See Mendieta, above n 6, at p 122. But, having borrowed the term, he did an awful lot more with it, as we shall also see.
8. See Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 12–16.
9. The two books, in the words of Fred Inglis, resulted in a ‘mighty upheaval’ that cut right across the collective disciplinary academy. See his comments in his obituary to Rorty, available at http://www.news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article2646294.ece. For a similar affirmation of Rorty's importance, see Simon Blackburn's 2003 essay ‘Richard Rorty’ in Prospect, available at http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=5545.
10. For a useful biographical commentary, stressing his disciplinary as well as professional shift, from philosophy to literary criticism, see J Ryerson ‘The Quest for Uncertainty: Richard Rorty's Pilgrimage’ in Mendieta, above, n 6, at pp 1–17.
11. See his comments in a 1998 interview in Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 68.
12. Blackburn, above, n 9, and also Mendieta, ‘Introduction’, above, n 6, at p xi.
13. Rorty, R, Truth and Progress (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) (hereafter TP) p 130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
14. As Jonathan Ree confirms, the publication of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature‘lost him the sympathy of nearly every pukka philosopher in the English-reading world’. See his ‘Strenuous Unbelief’, London Review of Books, 15 October 1998. Rorty's engagement with Derrida is considerable. Expressions can be found in chapter 6 of Consequences of Pragmatism (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1982) (hereafter CP) as well as chapter 6 of Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) (hereafter CIS), as well as across much of his second volume of philosophical papers, Essays on Heidegger and Others (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) (hereafter EHO). As the latter title implies, Rorty saw Derrida as the torchbearer for the later Heidegger's poetic ‘turn’, and as such someone who might be aligned with the pragmatist tradition of John Dewey; the tradition which Rorty most dearly wished to resuscitate. Rorty's famous flirtation with post-modernism was articulated in his 1983 essay ‘Postmodern Bourgeois Liberalism’. It was presented as a kind of post-modern Deweyan philosophy, as an alternative to the dominant Kantian and analytical paradigms. A year later, in an essay on Habermas and Lyotard, Rorty was careful to recast his postmodernism, recommending a ‘post-modernist form of social life’, rather than post-modernist philosophy. See Rorty, R, Objectivity, Relativism and Truth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) (hereafter ORT) pp 197–202,Google Scholar for the notorious 1983 essay, and EHO, above n 14, at p 170 for the alternative recommendation. Interestingly, in the Introduction to Essays on Heidegger and Others, published in 1991, Rorty preferred to use the phrase ‘post-Nietzschean’. See EHO, above n 14, at p 1. In his essay ‘Feminism and Pragmatism’, also from 1991, Rorty noted in passing ‘I am not fond of the term postmodernism’. By the time of a much later interview on the subject of an emergent post-metaphysical culture, Rorty opined that his earlier invocation of post-modern liberalism was ‘supposed to be a joke’. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 52. For a commentary on his abjuration, see
15. For a broad commentary on the confusion which Rorty's work seemed to cause, particularly amongst philosophers, see Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 1–3.
16. J Ree ‘Remembering Rorty’, Prospect, July 2007, available at http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9692. The essay was republished as chapter 1 of CP, above, n 14.
17. CP, above, n 14, at p xiv. For the myth of ‘Something Larger’, see TP, above, n 13, at p 321.
18. CP, above, n 14, at p 16.
19. A view pointedly reaffirmed in ORT, above, n 14, at pp 36–40.
20. CP, above, n 14, at p 11. A more triumphalist affirmation can be found in his essay ‘Grandeur, Profundity and Finitude’, composed two decades later, when Rorty suggests that no one, save for the truly detached philosophy professor, really believes in ‘foundations’ any more. See Rorty, R, Philosophy as Cultural Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007) (hereafter PCP) pp 87–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
21. In PCP, above, n 20, at p 111.
22. CP, above, n 14, at pp 165–6.
23. For the seminal impact of the Mirror of Nature, see Malachowski, above, n 2, at p 38 and also Mendieta, above, n 6, at p xviii. Writing 9 years after its original publication, Cornel West confirmed that the book ‘constitutes the first major effort of analytical philosophers to engage critically in historical reflection and interpretation of themselves and their disciplined’. See his America's Evasion of Philosophy (Madison, WI: Wisconsin University Press, 1989) p 199.Google Scholar
24. For a similar observation, see TP, above, n 13, at p 8, ‘philosophy makes progress not by becoming more rigorous’ in its presumed correspondence to ‘reality’, but by ‘becoming more imaginative’.
25. Rorty, R, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980) (hereafter PMN) p 157.Google Scholar For a commentary on this broad position, see Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 3–6.
26. For a re-affirmation of this, see TP, above, n 13, at pp 1–3.
27. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 4–5, and also p 8 reiterating the same point.
28. PSH, above, n 7, at pp xiii–xiv and xxix.
29. PMN, above, n 25, at pp 5–6, and also pp 367–70.
30. See PMN, above, n 25, at p 372, observing ‘To think of Wittgenstein and Heidegger as having views about how things are is not to be wrong about how things are, exactly; it is just poor taste. It puts them in a position which they do not want to be in, and in which they look ridiculous’. Rorty repeats the same in Contingency, more precisely taking aim at Kant's attempt to ascertain an immanent sense of righteousness, at pp 30–3. Wittgenstein and Heidegger, along with Dewey of course, had emerged as the prospective intellectual vanguard of Rorty's revolution in earlier essays predating Mirror. See chs 2, 3 and 5 of CP, above, n 14. For a further review of Wittgenstein, see PCP, above, n 20, at ch 11.
31. PMN, above, n 25, at p 6.
32. PCP, above, n 20, at p 107.
33. CP, above, n 14, at p 153.
34. PMN, above, n 25, at p 192, and also CP, above, n 14, at pp xl–xli, 3 and 48–52, confirming that ‘The whole force of Heidegger's thought lies in his account of the history of philosophy’, and p 62 stressing the ‘history’ as opposed to ‘essence’ of philosophy. Rorty's particular interest in the later Heidegger's Kehre or ‘turn’ to the poetic ‘urge’ is most apparent in the second volume of philosophical papers published as Essays on Heidegger and Others. The importance of Hegelian historicity is reaffirmed in Rorty's rather later essay ‘Philosophy as a Transitional Genre’, in PCP, above, n 20, at pp 91–2. For a discussion on Rorty and Hegelian historicity, see Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 16–17, 27–8, and also 92–4.
35. TP, above, n 13, at p 305.
36. CIS, above, n 14, at p xiii. For a reasonably contemporary addendum on Dewey's reworking of Hegelian historicity, see ORT, above, n 14, at pp 63–6. For Rorty confirming himself as a ‘neo-Hegelian holist’, see PCP, above, n 20, at p 129.
37. PMN, above, n 25, at p 318. See also pp 315 and 325. The nature of the Hegel-Dewey ‘tradition’, and Dewey's particular kind of ‘Hegelianism’, is examined in greatest detail in ch 5 of CP, above, n 14. For a playful satire of British and American philosophers ‘giggling nervously at the mention of the word hermeneutics’, see ORT, above, n 14, at p 91. For a discussion of Rorty's hermeneutics, especially in Mirror, see Holowka, H Philosophy and the Mirage of Hermeneutics’, in Malachowski, A (ed) Reading Rorty (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990) pp 188–9,Google Scholarand also R Bhaskar ‘Rorty, Realism and the Idea of Freedom’, in the same volume, at pp 220–3, noting its expressly Heideggerian nature.
38. PMN, above, n 25, at pp 373, 377 and 389.
39. Bernstein, R The New Constellation (Cambridge: Polity, 1991) p 20,Google Scholar and also pp 61–2.
40. Malachowski, above, n 2, at p 99.
41. It can be clearly discerned in one of his final published essays ‘Dewey and Posner on Pragmatism and Moral Progress’ (2007) 74 University of Chicago Law Review 915, particularly at 917 and 922, in which he pointedly refused to reify the pretences of positive science over the contingencies of ‘politics and art’, and also 923 specifically reiterating his rejection of correspondence theories of truth.
42. ORT, above, n 14, at p 6.
43. PSH, above, n 7, at p xxix. The argument is restated at PSH, above, n 7, at p 178, and also in CIS, above, n 14, at p 189.
44. Rorty famously responded in kind, suggesting that Dworkin was simply another closet pragmatist, who sought to clothe himself in fancy principles. See PSH, above, n 7, at pp 93–4, and Dworkin, R Pragmatism, Right Answers and True Banality’ in Brint, M and Weaver, W (eds) Pragmatism in Law and Society (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1991) pp 360–1,Google Scholar 366–7 and 369.
45. S Fish ‘Almost Pragmatism: The Jurisprudence of Richard Posner, Richard Rorty and Ronald Dworkin’ in Brint and Weaver, above, n 44, at pp 63–7 and also 73. It was, Fish drily observed, difficult to write a book called Consequences of Pragmatism, if there are none.
46. See TP, above, n 13, at chs 3 and 4. In both cases, as he suggests at pp 73 and 96, Rorty perceived a stubborn determination to root around for something ‘more primordial’. For a crisp articulation of Taylor's doubts, see his ‘Rorty on the Epistemological Tradition’, in Malachowski, above, n 37, at pp 270–3. For Rorty's response to Putnam, see TP, above, n 13 and also Geras, above, n 14, at pp 107–9.
47. Blackburn, above, n 9. For a commentary on Blackburn's critique of Rorty expressed in his Spreading the Word, and later Ruling Passions, the former of which imputed an unwarranted charge of anti-intellectualism, and the latter the more common accusation of relativism, see Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 141–8. A similar imputation to Blackburn's can be found in Norman Geras's Solidarity in the Conversation of Mankind, above, n 14, at pp 48–69.
48. PSH, above, n 7, at p 104, praising Richard Posner for cutting through this kind of foundationalism v anti-foundationalism argumentation.
49. PSH, above, n 7, at p 270.
50. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 4–5.
51. PSH, above, n 7, at p 55. A similar sentiment can also be found in ORT, above, n 14, at pp 78–9 and 91–2, in the assertion that ‘There is, in short, nothing to be said about the relation’ of ‘genres to the world, only things to be said about their relations to each other’. For extended discussions of Derridean deconstruction, placed within a distinctive Heideggerian tradition, see EHO, above, n 14, at pp 85–106, addressing Culler's Derrida, and pp 119–28, discussing Gasche's. In the former essay in particular Rorty aligns himself with those Derrideans who share a liking for deconstruction as a means of reading texts, rather than as the torch used to lay waste to all intellectual endeavour; a form of nihilism which, Rorty suggests, ultimately resolves itself as an alternative meta-language.
52. PSH, above, n 7, at p 47.
53. PMN, above, n 25, at pp 370 and 372.
54. PMN, above, n 25, at p 360.
55. See Arcilla, R For the Love of Perfection: Richard Rorty and Liberal Education (London: Routledge, 1995) p 100.Google Scholar
56. See Sorrell, ‘The World from its Point of View’ in Malachowski, above, n 37, at p 21.
57. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 96–7 and 107–10. Heidegger's ‘Letter on Humanism’, Rorty confirms at p 101, is the paradigm of ironism in modern thinking. For the same opinion, see EHO, above, n 14, at pp 44–5.
58. CIS, above, n 14, at p xv.
59. Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 122–3, Arcilla, above, n 55, at p 124.
60. PCP, above, n 20, at p 30.
61. See EHO, above, n 14, at pp 9–10 and 17, co-opting Heidegger as one of the strong poets who, in the modern tradition, first realised that poetry, not philosophy, should be the subject of human conversation.
62. PCP, above, n 20, at p 108.
63. CIS, above, n 14, at p 40. The triumph is reasserted in his 2004 Smythies Lecture, ‘Grandeur, Profundity and Finitude’, in PCP, above, n 20, at pp 74–5, where it is personalised as a context between the devotees of Plato and those of Nietzsche. For more ‘Wordsworthian moments’, see PSH, above, n 7, at p 13.
64. As he confirmed in a later interview, literature has emerged as the ‘primary alternative to science’ as an instructive intellectual paradigm. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 48, and also pp 67–9, suggesting that whereas literature nurtures the imagination and the creative faculties, philosophy merely helps us organise stuff.
65. PCP, above, n 20, at p 117.
66. CIS, above, n 14, at p 100, and also chapters seven and eight respectively, for concentrated studies of Nabokov and Orwell on cruelty and humiliation.
67. See CIS, above, n 14, at p 80 and also PCP, above, n 20, at pp 28–9. In his essay ‘Honest Mistakes’, Rorty approved Trilling's observation that ‘of all genres’ the novel is ‘the most indifferent to manifest shapeliness and decorum, and the most devoted to substance, which it presumes to say is actuality itself; the genre that is least disposed to say that it is self-sufficient and unconditioned’. See PCP, above, n 20 at p 60, and also pp 63–6, where Rorty approves the tradition of ‘humanist critical intelligence’ of which Trilling was an important representative, and also TP, above, n 13, at p 200.
68. A view confirmed in his 2004 essay ‘Philosophy as a Transitional Genre’, in PCP, above, n 20, at pp 92–3.
69. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 42–3. See Malachowski, above, n 2, at p 102.
70. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 7 and 73, and also PCP, above, n 20, at p 114 appraising that Shelley knew that imagination was both the ‘root’ and the ‘blossom’ of human inquiry.
71. CIS, above, n 14, at p 80.
72. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 16–20 and 27, and also ORT, above, n 14, at pp 14 and 32, confirming again the power of metaphor in facilitating linguistic innovation.
73. PCP, above, n 20, at p 94, and also pp 96 and 101–3. See also PSH, above, n 7, at pp 262–3.
74. CIS, above, n 14, at p 91. Emphasis in original.
75. ORT, above, n 14, at pp 181–3 and 191–2.
76. PCP, above, n 20, at p ix.
77. CP, above, n 14, at p 53 and also p 60, referring to the unjustly ‘neglected’ Dewey-James tradition as the ‘chief glory’ of American philosophy. See also Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 84 and 90.
78. PCP, above, n 20, at p 79.
79. EHO, above, n 14, at p 26.
80. PSH, above, n 7, at p 20.
81. CIS, above, n 14, at p 192.
82. ORT, above, n 14, at pp 21–3, and 28–9 discussing the way in which solidarity can be projected as a form of socio-political self-imaging.
83. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 53–4.
84. Ibid, at pp 176–7.
85. Dewey, J Art as Experience (Oakville: Capricorn Books, 1958) p 348,Google Scholar quoted in CIS, above, n 14, at p 69, and also his observation, from that the ‘hypotheses’ of philosophy are only of value insofar as they ‘render men's minds more sensitive to the life about them’, quoted in TP, above, n 13, at p 5.
86. CIS, above, n 14, at p 42, citing Nabokov's description, in Pale Fire, of ‘Man's life as commentary to an abstruse unfinished poem’.
87. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 94 and 120.
88. Ibid, at p 54.
89. Ibid, at pp 60–1.
90. Ibid, at pp 84–5.
91. Ibid, at p 195.
92. ORT, above, n 14, at p 45.
93. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 91–2.
94. Ibid, at pp 60–1.
95. PSH, above, n 7, at p 24.
96. Contingency was composed, as Rorty admitted, as an attempt to understand, and thus perhaps address, the ‘self-doubt’ which characterised so much late twentieth century intellectual endeavour. See CIS, above, n 14, at pp 91 and 198, and also ORT, above, n 14, at p 76. See also Ryerson, above, n 10, at p 16, and Malachowski, above, n 2, at p 83, commenting on the ‘frankly pessimistic’ tone of Rorty's pragmatism, and also noting Habermas's aside, that Rorty tended to display the ‘melancholy of a disappointed metaphysician’. Of course, as we shall see shortly, just as many criticised Rorty for an excessive optimism, particularly critical jurists such as Allan Hutchinson.
97. CIS, above, n 14, at p 92.
98. For earlier invocations of Deweyan ‘social hope’, see ch 11 of CP, above, n 14, where he contrasts it specifically with Foucauldian pessimism and then uses it to replace scientific ‘method’, as a practice of finding out what seems to work best in society. The centrality of the idea in his later thought was confessed in the Preface to PCP, above, n 20, at p ix. It is also pervasive, for obvious reasons, in PSH, above, n 7.
99. PSH, above, n 7, at p 277.
100. TP, above, n 13, at pp 214–15.
101. See again Rorty, R Achieving Our Country (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999) (hereafter AOC) p 20.Google Scholar
102. TP, above, n 13, at pp 236–9.
103. PSH, above, n 7, at p 93.
104. See PSH, above, n 7, at ch 1 for his revealing autobiographical essay ‘Trotsky and the Wild Orchids’. Rorty's parents were actively engaged in Trotskyite politics in New Jersey during his youth. For a commentary on this ‘engagingly frank and, at times, uncustomarily intimate essay’, see Malachowski, above, n 2, at pp 24–5.
105. The quote is from ‘The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy’, in ORT, above, n 14, at p 182.
106. PSH, above, n 7, at pp 7–16. See Malachowski, above, n 2, at p 98, Ree, above, n 16, and also Habermas's reflections in Metcalf, above, n 4.
107. CIS, above, n 14, at p 198.
108. PSH, above, n 7, at p 87.
109. See ORT, above, n 14, at p 205, and also Ree, above, n 16.
110. See PSH, above, n 7, at p 212, suggesting the Derrida's conception of justice as an ‘ultimate romantic hope’ confirms his status as a committed liberal ironist.
111. CIS, above, n 14, at pp xiv–xvi, and PSH, above, n 7, at p 99.
112. PSH, above, n 7, at p 249, and also CIS, above, n 14, at p xv.
113. The lecture, which was set most immediately against the backdrop of the first Balkan war, is reproduced as ch 9 of TP, above, n 13.
114. TP, above, n 13, at p 172.
115. CIS, above, n 14, at p 198.
116. See TP, above, n 13, at pp 177–80. For an earlier criticism, on the same lines, see PMN, above, n 25, at p 377.
117. PSH, above, n 7, at p 248.
118. ORT, above, n 14, at pp 31–2.
119. TP, above, n 13, at p 7. Rorty's critique here carries a further, perhaps ironic, resonance given that so much criticism of his work centred on accusations of intellectual imperialism. In Contingency, he famously argued that ‘solidarity’ only really worked in small groups, where people felt they belonged as ‘one of us’. See CIS, above, n 14, at pp 191–2. Rorty was typically unmoved by the likes of Clifford Geertz, who seized on this assertion as being ‘ethnocentric’. Perhaps; perhaps not. A theory of justice, Rorty responded, needs no grander universal justification. It merely needs to tell a story in a particular context, one that appears to be ‘instructive’. See PCP, above, n 20, at p 55, and also ORT, above, n 14, at pp 199 and 203–10, responding to Geertz.
120. TP, above, n 13, at p 321.
121. Ibid, at pp 168–70.
122. Ibid, at pp 169–70 and 183.
123. PSH, above, n 7, at p 94.
124. Dworkin, above, n 44, at p 359.
125. ORT, above, n 14, at p 201 and PSH, above, n 7, at p 81, and also p 82 confirming that ‘Moral progress is a matter of wider and wider sympathy’, and also p 83, that ‘you cannot aim at moral perfection, but you can aim at taking more people's needs into account than you did previously’.
126. EHO, above, n 14, at pp 182, 186–7 and 192.
127. See Baier, A, Moral Prejudices (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994).Google ScholarFor Rorty's praise, see PCP, above, n 20, at pp 44–5, TP, above, n 13, at pp 181–2 and 185 and again PSH, above, n 7, at pp 75–7 in which Baier is elevated to the status of honorary Deweyan.
128. See Walzer, M Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1994),Google Scholarappraised in PCP, above, n 20, at pp 44–7.
129. CP, above, n 14, at p 216.
130. ORT, above, n 14, at pp 180 and 189.
131. ORT, above, n 14, at pp 191, 193 and 209–10.
132. See J Rawls ‘The Law of Peoples’ was based on a lecture which Rawls gave as part of the Oxford Amnesty series in 1993. Rorty's essay ‘Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality’ was also first given as part of this series. They are both to be found in Shute, S and Hurley, S (eds) On Human Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1993 (New York: Basic Books, 1993).Google Scholar
133. PCP, above, n 20, at p 47.
134. Ibid, at pp 54–5.
135. Ibid, at p 192.
136. AOC, above, n 101, at pp 35 and 128. For a commentary, see Ryerson, above, n 10, at pp 11–12.
137. A Hutchinson ‘Reading/Rorty/Radically’ (1989) 103 Harvard Law Review 555 at 557 and 572.
138. J Singer, ‘Should Lawyers Care About Philosophy?’ (1989) Duke Law Journal 1752 at 1760–7. Similar doubts regarding the desirability, and credibility, of this public-private demarcation can be found in Nancy Fraser's ‘Solidarity or Singularity? Richard Rorty between Romanticism and Technology’, in Malachowski, above, n 37, at pp 313–15, pressing her argument within a broader gender context, and also J Williams, ‘Rorty, Radicalism, Romanticism’ in Brint and Weaver, above, n 44, concluding, at p 174, ‘For me the personal is the political every day in very concrete ways’.
139. CIS, above, n 14, at pp 84–5.
140. See PSH, above, n 7, at pp 75–6, approving Annette Baier's similar dismissal of our ‘law-fixated tradition in moral philosophy’, in her Postures of the Mind (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press, 1985) p 236.Google ScholarPubMed
141. PSH, above, n 7, at p 73.
142. Ibid, at p 112.
143. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 112, making plain his particular contempt for Justice Scalia's role in the Supreme Court's ruling in 2000.
144. TP, above, n 13, at p 205.
145. MacKinnon, C Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987) p 77,Google Scholar quoted and discussed specifically in TP, above, n 13, at p 202.
146. TP, above, n 13, at p 206 and also p 208 suggesting that ‘we’ pragmatists ‘commend ourselves to feminists on the ground that we can fit that claim’ regarding the case for instrumental political progress in the cause of female emancipation ‘into our view of moral progress with relative ease’.
147. TP, above, n 13, at pp 202–5.
148. See L Baker ‘Just Do It: Pragmatism and Social Change’ in Brint and Weaver, above, n 44, at pp 100–8, for an overview of critical legal responses.
149. Williams ‘Rorty’, above, n 44, at p 157. Similar doubts were expressed, outside the legal academy, by the likes of Richard Bernstein and Cornel West. For an overview here, see Ryerson, above, n 10, at pp 12–13, and Williams, ‘Rorty’, above, n 44, at p 165. For Bernstein's generally supportive critique of Rorty, see his New Constellation, above, n 39, especially chs 8 and 9.
150. See his comment ‘I cannot find much use for philosophy in formulating means to the ends that we social democrats share, not in describing either our enemies or the present danger’, in ‘Thugs and Theorists: A Reply to Bernstein’ (1987) 15 Political Theory 569.
151. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 24 and AOC, above, n 101, at p 14. See also his comments in ‘Trotsky and the Wild Orchids’, in PSH, above, n 7, at p 17, defining himself as a ‘typical Left-wing Democrat’ professor.
152. An affinity that Rorty was happy to approve. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at pp 152–3.
153. AOC, above, n 101, at p 31.
154. Ibid, at pp 4 and 15, and also pp 91–3.
155. Ibid, n 101, at pp 6–7, and also pp 43–4 dismissing a century of ‘part-time’ leftist political leaders in the Democratic Party, and pp 100–1, focusing in particular on the need to resuscitate an idea of citizenship based on a sense of solidarity, of what Whitman understood as ‘civic religion’.
156. ORT, above, n 14, at p 16.
157. See ORT, above, n 14, at p 211.
158. AOC, above, n 101, at pp 91 and 93, and also pp 128 and 139 taking particular aim at members of the Foucauldian Left whose ‘members are so busy unmasking the present that they have no time to discuss what laws need to be passed in order to create a better future’.
159. ORT, above, n 14, at p 43.
160. See AOC, above, n 101, at p 25 commenting on the importance of embracing the fact that the ‘tapestry’ created by the present generation should, indeed must, be ‘torn to shreds in order that a larger one may be woven, in order that the past may not obstruct the future’.
161. Ibid, at pp 24–5 and 30, and also PSH, above, n 7, at pp 25–7.
162. Ibid, at pp 15–16, and PCP, above, n 20, at p 33, and also pp 38–41 citing Dewey's similar treatment of matters of religion and faith. Similar comments can be found in PSH, above, n 7, at pp 148–9, presented in the context of a more immediate discussion of William James and religious faith, and also at pp 203–4.
163. PSH, above, n 7, at p 205.
164. PCP, above, n 20, at pp 4–13 and 25, and also PSH, above, n 7, at pp 203–4.
165. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 157 and also D Postel ‘High Flyer: Richard Rorty Obituary’ in The New Humanist, available at http://www.newhumanist.org.uk/1440.
166. See CIS, above, n 14, at p 189, commenting that a belief can be worth ‘dying for’ even if it appears to have no deep moral force.
167. D Postel, ‘Last Words from Richard Rorty’, in The Progressive, available at http://www.progressive.org/mag_postel10607.
168. Famously leading Rorty to being invited to dine with the Clintons at the White House. Presumably Rorty's passing observation, in Achieving Our Country, at 86, that Clinton like Carter had abandoned the Left and moved ‘into a sterile vacuum called the centre’ was politely overlooked.
169. A sense of this weariness can be found in his broad approval of Richard Posner's similarly jaundiced view of the state of democracy in modern America, in ‘Dewey and Posner’, above, n 41, at p 918.
170. See Baudrillard, J The Spirit of Terrorism (London: Verso, 2003) pp 4–5 Google Scholarand 33, claiming that 9/11 represented a gigantic ‘abreaction’ in modernity, a moment when the ‘whole play of history and power is disrupted’; a peculiarly ridiculous piece of cod-Hegelian rhetoric.
171. PSH, above, n 7, at pp 230–1, and also Mendieta, above, n 6, at pp 108–9.
172. See Mendieta, above, n 6, at pp 114–18.
173. R Rorty, ‘Post-Democracy’, London Review of Books, 1 April 2004, p 11.
174. Rorty, ibid, at p 10.
175. Postel, above, n 167.
176. Rorty, above, n 173, at p 10. The particular contempt for former US Attorney-General John Ashcroft is repeated in Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 115.
177. For a commentary on the importance of reinvesting a sense of ‘moral confidence’ in liberals who wish to contest inhumanity, but who do not wish to espouse any particular foundational philosophy, see ORT, above, n 14, at p 59.
178. AOC, above, n 101, at pp 37–8.
179. This sentiment comes across strikingly at the close of his essay ‘Dewey and Posner’, above, n 41, at p 927, even if in many of his later interviews, Rorty found it hard to be consistently hopeful. See, for example, Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 160.
180. In Mendieta, above, n 6, at p 29. See also PSH, above, n 7, at pp 116–17.
181. AOC, above, n 101, at p 81.
182. Ibid, at pp 101–2, PSH, above, n 7, at p 277.
183. PSH, above, n 7, at pp 238–9.