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9781573927246

Richard Rorty's Politics : Liberalism at the End of the American Century

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781573927246

  • ISBN10:

    1573927244

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1999-12-01
  • Publisher: Humanity Books
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List Price: $72.99

Summary

Much of what Richard Rorty has to say about the triumph of American liberalism is largely accepted and unquestioned by a wide variety of scholars. Yet there are inconsistencies in Rorty's work and his defense of liberalism does not depend on familiar Enlightenment assumptions about reason, human nature, historical progress, and the like. So argues Markar Melkonian, who critically examines Rorty's brand of liberalism stripped of its Enlightenment rationales.

Melkonian initially compares Rorty's social and political views with his alleged progenitor, John Dewey, showing there are significant differences between the two, notably their respective conceptions of freedom and democracy and their accounts of how to harmonize personal freedom with public responsibility. Then Melkonian makes the case that the existing liberal democracies Rorty wants to defend bear little resemblance to Rorty's own liberal utopia, in which "the quest for autonomy is impeded as little as possible by social institutions."

Melkonian asserts that at the end of the American century, Rorty'

Author Biography

Markar Melkonian is a writer, teacher, and veteran solidarity worker. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is currently director of a nonprofit organization that provides aid to inhabitants of Armenia, a war-ravaged corner of the former Soviet Union.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7(4)
Introduction 11(10)
Framing the Conversation
21(24)
Three Anti-Isms
22(8)
Rorty's ``We's''
30(5)
Strategic Considerations
35(10)
Departures from Dewey
45(40)
Dewey and the Public/Private Split
48(7)
Dewey on Liberty and Democracy
55(8)
Rorty on Liberty and Democracy
63(22)
Freedom and Liberalism in Practice
85(50)
Depicting the Apolitical Private Sphere
88(6)
State Power and the Private Sphere
94(11)
Privatization and Socialism
105(11)
Private Selfhood and Ideology
116(19)
Decency and Liberalism in Practice
135(32)
Liberalism and Suffering
137(6)
The Solemn Complement of Rorty's Ideals
143(12)
Decency beyond Liberalism
155(12)
Of Light Minds and Heavy Hands
167(36)
A Circle without Circumference
167(14)
Rorty's Incompatible Roles
181(22)
Bibliography 203(8)
Index 211

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